Posts Tagged ‘time management’

Those of you who have been here before will know my thoughts on time management (you can’t!). So today I was having the same complaint I have had probably every year at about this time for as long as I can remember – “how did Christmas creep up on me again?”

Every year around the end of October I have the inkling that its not far away and I should be thinking about doing something about it. Around the end of November I have the same thought with a little more urgency attached to it. And then, every year about a week before, its a full blown panic attack and beating myself up for not doing everything earlier when I had more time.

I’ve long had this fantasy of turning into Dubai’s version of Martha Stewart (but nicer and without the criminal record!). I have all the right intentions and quite a lot of the same skills but somehow the time management side of it eludes me and I end up where I am now, a week before Christmas and nothing done except a rather divine Christmas Cake which will be lucky to see out this week!

But here’s the thing, no matter how much I beat myself up for not being perfect, it will happen in seven days whether I’m ready or not! And Christmas at our house is always great fun, the food is fantastic, the decorations are wonderfully over-the-top, the mulled wine is lethal, the Champagne flows as well as the conversation and everyone has a wonderful time.

Once I get over not being Martha I get down to being me, I do the best I can with love and laughter for the people I care about, and that is always enough.

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Here’s a tip on time management – when you get yourself so organised that you’re ready to leave to go somewhere 20 minutes early, never ever ever think that you can just fit one more task in before you go! You won’t do the task well, it will take you longer than 20 minutes to complete and to add to it the traffic will be a nightmare and you will be late!

Time management is not about fitting as many tasks as possible into the day, its ensuring that everything you do fits in with your overall plan and contributes to getting you the results you want in the time you planned. Getting there more quickly is not a good thing if it means you arrive burnt out, frazzled and exhausted and most of your friends and family have forgotten your name!

Feeling busy can be an addiction and it is very often a sign that the Inner Reptile is taking over so pay close attention when you find yourself rushing about like a mad thing trying to do too many things and doing none of them really well. Take a look at your plan, see if you are just being busy for the sake of it or if you do need to adjust your timetable slightly. Far better to adjust your deadline early on than to find yourself a week before with a month’s worth of work to do!

There will be plenty of times you really do need to do the blue-assed fly thing so make sure your plan has some give in it. If your plan requires you to work 20 hour days for weeks at a time, what are you going to do when there’s a real emergency? You won’t have the energy and even if you do, you won’t have the hours in a day.

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Its very interesting how, when you focus on being very strategic with your energy that you realise that you can’t do everything and that trying to is just a waste of time.

Life becomes so much simpler and so much less stressful when you are able to focus on what really matters and just get on with it instead of fretting about what you can’t do or haven’t done.

Really succesful people have the same allocation of 24 hours in a day that everyone else has. What makes the difference is where they focus.

You can’t manage time, but you can manage your energy.

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Its the start of a new week, well it is for us in Dubai! So if you’re anything like me you usually throw yourself headlong into the week and its Wednesday before you know it and all the things you had planned are simply not going to happen in what little of the week that’s left.

So this week I’m going to do things differently. I’m going to start my week with some real careful planning, get very clear on what I need to achieve in the time I have available, be very strategic with my energy and then schedule everything in.

Sometimes its a great idea to slow down in order to speed up!

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One of the most common excuses for not making changes in your life is “I really want to do it but I don’t have time”. I know, I’ve used it myself! And the real power of this excuse is that you can really truly convince yourself that its true. Except that its not.

Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. From the high achievers to the down and outs, its the one thing we all have in common. So the only difference is how we use that time. The really smart people know what gets them the results they are looking for and they focus all of their attention on those things and only allow themselves to be distracted when the job is done.

So there’s two big skills to learn here. One is the skill of knowing what really matters. For the most part you can only learn this by practising and making mistakes. Which is why it is really powerful to have a mentor, or even a few mentors who have gone this way before and can help you avoid making the mistakes they made. You will still make plenty of your own but that’s how you learn so don’t get too stressed about making mistakes. It helps if you are very clear about what your goals are and you check your progress on them regularly so if you are off course you can correct quickly.

The second big skill is focus and that’s the really tough one because focus is not so much a skill as a discipline. Not allowing yourself to become distracted by all the exciting things going on around you or all the new and wonderful opportunities that are sprouting up is one of the most challenging things you can do. But its worth it, because people who stay focused succeed.

Its not a matter of time, its a matter of priorities.

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