Your life is a lot like the Grand Canyon.

Posted in Balance, Leadership, Management, Organize, Planning, Self-management, Stress, Teamwork, Time management, Time management/Self-management on April 14, 2014 by Chuc Barnes

CWBGrandCanyonI speak for a variety of audiences and last week I told a speaker friend, Marian Madonia, that I like to talk about The Grand Canyon in my keynote presentations because 1) even if people haven’t been to The Grand Canyon, they quickly relate to its enormous size, and 2) I love to hike and float through The Grand Canyon myself (as you know from the things we’ve discussed in this blog).

I told Marian that I enjoy saying to audiences that there’s no need to run at The Grand Canyon because wherever you are at The Grand Canyon, you’re already there.

Marian has a very fast mind and she immediately said, “Chuc, The Grand Canyon is a lot like your life. It’s right there for you to see and experience, but you can’t see it all.”

I loved what Marian said because in my way of thinking Marian is right.

Marian went on to say that lots of people spend lots of time focusing only on the steps they need to take and that, if you only focus on your steps at The Grand Canyon, you miss out on the big picture and the richness of the entire experience.

I loved that comment too because it also is true.

When hiking at The Grand Canyon, it of course is important to watch the steps you take because trails are steep, rocks are apt to be in the way, and you could even step in a hole or fall off the trail. What’s just as important, however, is not just to watch your steps, but to look around to enjoy and appreciate the beauty and vastness of the canyon.

Isn’t this also true of life? I think so.

The Grand Canyon is so beautiful, so awe-inspiring, so vast that you simply can’t see all of it in a moment. Even if you fly over The Grand Canyon, you can’t see the flowers, smell the fragrances, feel the temperature changes, examine the caves and ancient dwellings (See the photo at the top), and you certainly can’t experience the true depth of the canyon. It is simply too big to see it all at one time.

I propose that your life is mighty big too. I suggest that your life (just like mine) is right there in front of you and me to see, experience, and enjoy. And, if you agree with me, wouldn’t you say that it’s a good idea to make a plan for your life so you can follow the trail that takes you where you want to go? Likewise, wouldn’t you say that it seems silly and wasteful to do all the hurrying that everyone is doing? After all, why hurry when hurry makes you miss so much?

Everyone has their own perspective about the way they see The Grand Canyon and the way they see their life. For example, my sons and I were standing on the edge of the South Rim of the canyon and admiring the beautiful colors and formations when a bus full of tourists pulled up. The tourists got out of the bus to look at the canyon and my sons and I laughed when one man looked at the canyon and said, “Boy, that sure is a big hole. Ok, let’s go on to Vegas.”

Pretty funny.

I think planning is important, whether you’re exploring the canyon, traveling to Vegas, or trying to make the most of the minutes in your life. I think teamwork, scheduling steps at the right time, prioritizing and taking breaks are important too.

How about you? Do you have an opinion? If so, please share your thoughts here.

You won’t find time. You need to make time.

Posted in Balance, Management, Organize, Planning, Self-management, Time management, Time management/Self-management on March 16, 2014 by Chuc Barnes

CalendarWhen speaking at the University of Maryland (UMBC) for a truly great audience, by the way, several listeners said they were having trouble finding time for key priorities and they asked for suggestions.

I explained that in today’s fast-paced, highly interruptible world, there’s only a glimmer of a chance that anyone can “find time” for anything. I suggested that, instead of trying to “find time, “ it’s important to “make time” for key priorities.

When suggesting this, I wasn’t trying to be cute or flippant (and I’m certainly not trying to do so right now). I’m absolutely serious.

Please permit me to illustrate what I mean by pointing out that I will never find time for my wife, even though I love her dearly. Too many
things will interfere.

My wife is a priority for me so I’ve got to make time for her.

I won’t find time for my kids, even though they are very, very special to me. They are priorities to me. Thus, I’ve got to make time for my kids.

I won’t find time to finalize my third book (which is now almost complete). That is a priority for me so I’ve got to make time to complete the book.

I’m suggesting that “making time” is actually a matter of scheduling time for key priorities, whereas “finding time” becomes an ongoing struggle to squeeze things in (and struggling is time waster and stress producer).

If you agree with me, you can see why it’s essential to – first, and always — know what your key priorities are! When you know what your priorities are (precisely) it becomes easier to schedule time for them.

Does this ring true to you?

Take time to smell the flowers.

Posted in Balance, Organize, Planning, Self-management, Time management, Time management/Self-management on February 25, 2014 by Chuc Barnes

FlowersI met a terrific man this week. While working on the job, he is being treated for cancer.

I wrote my new friend to tell him I enjoyed meeting him and he just sent me the following e-mail that I’m sharing here because of the helpful, sensible observation he makes:

“Some people think it is odd when I tell them that the cancer was a great gift. It forced me to stop and look at life and make a determination on what is important and what isn’t. Some people go through their entire life never doing this. I was forced to do it at 51 and while you would never wish cancer on anyone I do wish more people understood how many things in life are petty and unimportant and how lucky they are to receive the chance to live each day.”

My new friend is absolutely right. Being a cancer survivor myself, I don’t want anyone to get cancer. I do think it’s important for all of us – just as my friend says so articulately — to stop and think about how lucky we are to live each day.

Make sense to you?

Doublecheck your New Year’s Resolution

Posted in Balance, Leadership, Management, Organize, Planning, Self-management, Time management, Time management/Self-management on January 7, 2014 by Chuc Barnes

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It’s now early January when most people notice they broke the resolution they made for 2014 and they say “Well, I broke the resolution, so I’ll wait until 2015 to try this resolution again.”

Suggestion: If you’ve broken the resolution you made for 2014 (or perhaps you’ve been thinking about breaking it), change your timing. In other words, instead of waiting until 2015 to declare the 2014 resolution again, make your resolution for next Week. Thus, one week from now you can see how you’re doing again and, if need be, you can then adjust your resolution for the following Week.

You’ll find you’re better off setting weekly goals than yearly resolutions because you’ll then have 52 new weeks to readjust rather than only one New Years day.

This change in thinking will help you and it makes sense doesn’t it?

Here’s some ideas to help you value your time!

Posted in Balance, Leadership, Management, Organize, Planning, Self-management, Teamwork, Time management, Time management/Self-management on December 11, 2013 by Chuc Barnes

HelpWantedSign

If you believe time is money, as most people do, I’m sure you’d also agree that it’s a good idea to save as much time as possible, right? After all, why waste a lot of money?

Ok, now let’s do some math.

Let’s say that you earn $50 an hour (for talking purposes). This means that if you save one hour a day for every day of the work week, you’ll end up saving $250 in the week ($50 an hour times 5 work days in the week), right?

So if you save $250 in one week, it’s also obvious that you’ll be saving $1,000 in one month ($250 a week times 4 weeks in the month), correct?

Good for you. You’ve just saved $1,000.

Now let’s keep the math going.

If you save $1,000 a month, you’ll obviously save $12,000 a year for yourself ($1,000 a month times 12 months), correct?

Ok, you now are either agreeing with what I’m showing you here or you’re not agreeing.

If you are agreeing with me, notice that by saving one hour a day, you’ve just saved enough money to now hire a part time helper who you can pay $1,000 a month to help you get more done. (And, if you earn $100 an hour, you now just saved enough money to hire two people.)

If you are not agreeing with me, please tell me what’s wrong with the math I’m showing you here.

The problem with what I’m showing you here is not with the math. The problem is that time is not money. People say that it’s money, however.

So now let’s now apply common sense.

Time is not money. Time can’t be given to anyone. Time can’t be put in a bank. Time can’t be compounded and you can’t earn interest from time. And one other item: Time sure can’t be won on a game show.

Let’s face it. Time is not money. It’s your most valuable asset, however.

Time is your life.

I suggest that when you stop worrying about time and begin focusing on ways to create positive memories and experiences for your son, your daughter, your husband, your wife, your friend, your neighbor, your co-workers, your customers (and even for you) you’re making your minutes count. And isn’t creating meaningful memories and positive experiences what maximizes life?

Does this ring true to you? Please leave your comments here.

Here Are Some Ideas That’ll Help You Handle Your #1 Priority

Posted in Balance, Leadership, Management, Organize, Planning, Self-management, Time management, Time management/Self-management on November 18, 2013 by Chuc Barnes

Ticket

Three separate people asked me this week, “If you had just one Self-Management suggestion to make to me, what would your recommendation be?” My answer to all three people was the same:

“Take care of you!”

I’m now making this same recommendation to you:

Take care of you before you do anything else.

It might seem to you as if I’m suggesting that you — and the three people who asked me — be selfish in some way. Selfishness has nothing to do with my suggestion.

Instead, I’m saying it’s important to take care of you each and every day because you are your #1 Priority.

Please think with me.

If you aren’t sane and/or healthy, please consider how much more difficult it would be to take care of anyone — or anything — else? I say you want to be certain you are sane and healthy.

To do this:

1) Consider the time of day when you have the most energy. Is it early in the morning, maybe at noon, perhaps late in the afternoon?. Now, please make a note of that time.

2) Decide when you are the most creative. Again, is it early in the morning, at noon, or late in the day? Make a note of that time too.

Now, my thought is this.

Guard those times like they are the gold in Ft. Knox.

You might have to trade those times for your customer, or your associate, or perhaps for your family. That’s OK. What you don’t want to do is trade those times for something as ineffective as simply checking e-mail.

I propose that, when you guard your high-energy time and your creative time, you’re taking care of you.

Next, ask yourself each and every day, “When am I going to have some free time for myself?” Certainly you’ll agree that you’ll make better decisions when you are clear headed. Thus, it’s important to have some time set aside to think, reflect, pray, meditate, and/or develop a creative thought. (This doesn’t have to be a lot of time.) When you do this, you’re helping to take care of you too.

One thing’s for sure: If you haven’t reserved any time for you, you won’t get any. Certainly you’ll agree with that. Too many other things will interfere.

You have a lot to do or you wouldn’t even be reading this blog to learn some time management tips and strategies. Thus, knowing you have so many different things to do, think how essential it is for you to take care of YOU first.

Never forget that YOU are your #1 Priority and – for your own sake – I suggest that you take care of you first – each and every day — by following the above suggestions.

Does this make sense to you? Please let me know your comments.

Here are 5 steps to help you have a good week & year.

Posted in Uncategorized on October 29, 2013 by Chuc Barnes

action_steps

November is almost here & the end of 2013 is right in front of you so:

1) Decide 3 things you want done by the end of this week (Write ’em down.)

2) What’s one item you want done before Thanksgiving? (Write it down.)

3) Schedule 4 tasks that will help you complete the above goals.

4) Specify 2 things you want done by year end. (Write them down.)

5) Schedule time to relax & renew this week (or you won’t get it).

These steps will help you make the most of this week & a successful 2013.

Trust Is A Time-saver & Broken Trust is A Time-waster.

Posted in Balance, Customer service, Leadership, Management, Organize, Planning, Self-management, Stress, Teamwork, Time management, Time management/Self-management on October 14, 2013 by Chuc Barnes

Handshake

Think about this for a moment.

The dictionary defines “Trust” as;
1. Reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.
2. Confident expectation of something; hope.
3. A person on whom or thing on which one relies: God is my trust.
4. The condition of one to whom something has been entrusted.

In the above definition note that “reliance, confidence, surety, and hope” are words used to describe trust.

Now realize how fortunate you are to be able to trust a partner, associate, teammate, service provider, friend, or family member. Notice how people you can trust actually save your time.

Now think about how you feel when you deal with people who can’t be trusted. For example, when someone says they’ll show up at specified time, and then they show up late. Is that trust? No, it’s a violation of trust and the violation wastes your time.

Perhaps you work with someone who tells you they will have a file ready for you on Monday, but they don’t have it for you on Monday. Doesn’t that lack of commitment on their part break trust and waste your time?

You don’t want that, do you?

I value TRUST very highly and I think most people do.

Here are two suggestions:

1) If you can’t arrive at the time you agreed, call before the agreed on time and tell the person when they can expect you. This will help change the expectation and it will help the other person make full use of their time.

2) If you can’t have a file or project ready when agreed, tell the other person in advance so a new time can be agreed on.

Life of course would be so very nice if everything always worked out perfectly. Life isn’t perfect, though. Changes occur constantly. That’s why it’s essential to respect other people by keeping commitments and letting them know–in advance–if you need to change a commitment. This then helps everyone get full use of his or her time.

As I said, I like dealing with people I know I can trust, and I’ll bet you feel the same way.

Do you trust me with this? Please put your comments here.

It’s essential to arrive on time–or early!

Posted in Balance, Customer service, Leadership, Management, Planning, Self-management, Teamwork, Time management, Time management/Self-management on September 16, 2013 by Chuc Barnes

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Clients keep telling me how much frustration they have with other people who arrive late. They tell me they believe arriving late a sign of disrespect.

You have a right to your own view. And, yes there are a lot of obstacles that get in the way today of arriving on time.

Now think about a job interview. If the candidate you are scheduled to talk with shows up late, would their tardiness be something you’d consider? And suppose you want to purchase new insurance and the agent who says they will talk with you comes late, will that have an effect on your decision?

Now think how you feel when you are at the airport waiting at the gate so you can board your flight. It is time for the plane to board and suddenly, the gate agent tells you that your flight won’t even arrive for another hour. Do you now feel like the airline really cares about you and your schedule?

Entertainers and athletes know how important it is to arrive AHEAD of time. In fact, they say, “If you just show up on time, you are late.”

Suggestion: Whenever you make an appointment, determine not just when you need to arrive, but – more importantly – when you need to LEAVE so you can arrive on time. When you determine the time you need to leave, you’ll anticipate the probable obstacles – in advance. That will help.

Do you have an opinion? If so, please say so here.

It’s essential to “make time” for priorities!

Posted in Balance, Leadership, Management, Organize, Planning, Self-management, Time management, Time management/Self-management on August 27, 2013 by Chuc Barnes

Calendar

When speaking for an excellent audience over the weekend, several people said they were having trouble finding time for key priorities and they asked for suggestions.

I explained that in today’s fast-paced, highly interruptible world, there’s only a glimmer of a chance that anyone can “find time” for anything. I suggested that, instead of trying to “find time, “ it’s important to “make time” for key priorities.

When suggesting this, I wasn’t trying to be cute or flippant (and I’m certainly not trying to do so right now). I’m absolutely serious.

Please permit me to illustrate what I mean by pointing out that I will never find time for my wife, even though I love her dearly. Too many
things will interfere.

My wife is a priority for me so I’ve got to make time for her.

I won’t find time for my kids, even though they are very, very special to me. They are priorities to me. Thus, I’ve got to make time for my kids.

I won’t find time to finish writing my third book (which is almost ready). That is a priority for me so I’ve got to make time to finish that book.

I’m suggesting that “making time” is actually a matter of scheduling time for key priorities, whereas “finding time” becomes an ongoing struggle to squeeze things in (and struggling is time waster and stress producer).

If you agree with me, you can see why it’s essential to – first, and always — know what your key priorities are! When you know what your priorities are (precisely) it becomes easier to schedule time for them.

Does this ring true to you?