April 2007


Time is a commodity that is precious. Time seems to be free and there seems to be plenty of it at first sight. But time that has passed is gone forever! This very minute you read this sentence will be over in 60 – no, now it’s allready only 50 seconds…. – and then – poooofffff….. GONE FORVER. WILL NEVER BE BACK.

GONE.

It’s just a minute, yes, and there are 60 minutes to the hour, 24 hours to the day. so in total there are 1’440 minutes every day, why worry about one single minute?

OK, you’re right: It’s no good to worry about a single minute, but you need to decide what you want to get out of this very day. If you let one minute after the other just dissolve into nothing, the end of the day will come and you’ll ask yourself ‘What have I done, enjoyed or achieved in these last 24 hours?’

I’m not advocating that you’ll now start to be your own drillmaster and race thought the day trying to catch every single second and fill all the time you have with something meaningful. You also need rest and sometimes to do nothing can be just as enjoyable as working or playing hard. Just be aware of time:

Take time to think and plan. Take time to study and learn.

Think about what you are reading, find ways to apply it to your life.

Use your time so that at the end of the day you can lean back and say: ‘I’ve use my time in a good way!

The audiobook A Guide To Time Management by Andy Guides offers great advice how to make good use of your minutes and hours every day. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne is an other book that will show you how time can work for you.

So much to do! Not enough time! How will you manage to get this all done??? … You are overwhelmed. All good intentions to finish all these tasks will never be enough to really manage……

This ugly problem of too many things that are waiting to be done pesters way too many people. And it is so easy to overcome!

  • Learn to say, “No!”

Say “no” to activities and people that do not contribute to reaching your goals. And with goals I don’t just mean work goals, I mean whole life goals. That includes pleasure and quality time with friends and family!

People will take advantage of your kindness and generosity, once you seem to say “yes” all the time. You end up being a stop gap for all the others, who manage to free their time by letting you do things with or even for them.

If you want to learn more about saying “No” and time mangement, then this audio will help you learn the right techniques: Andy Guides has written ‘A Guide To Time Management’ . He says:

Managing stress and time is a rewarding accomplishment that all must maintain in order to reach success. Each day we wake up, we stress to meet deadlines, demands, and finding time to spend with our family, selves and friends.

While these are challenges we all must face, there are tools and techniques that can help you to meet them in a better, balanced way without feeling as though you are at the end of your cord. I know this to be true because I discovered them and implemented them in my own life with amazing results and now I want to share them with you!

This is the most complete report on time management you will ever read! Not only does it include timely tips and hints on tools to manage your time but how to create a backup time management plan as well!

You can download this audiobook ‘A Guide To Time Management’.

Using an organizer or daytime planner can be a great tool to coordinate your activities. It’s actually the secret of many successful people. It also helpy ou to focus and get a clear mental attitude about the things that need to be done.

Here’s how you use a planner effectively:

  • First you need to add the relevant tasks into your planner for the date they need to be done. Take the items from your master “To Do” List.
  • Once an item is completet, mark it as completed by checking it off.
  • If you are left with tasks not finished by the end of the day, report them over to the next day.
  • If after the next day an intem is still not completed, something is wrong. Either you are procrastinating or it’s not really something that needs to be done? Ask yourself, “What if I never do this?”
  • If you can honestly say, that nothing bad will happen if you don’t complete this item, then you should delete it immediately and forget about it.

You see, writing these tasks down and keeping a planner is quite effective. Nobody can keep all things pending in their head only, and by being able to go back a few days to see if you are completing things and what has been deleted, you will better be able to structure your “To Do” List in such a way that after a while you’ll only have the urgent and important, or the important tasks written down.

Some people do not have a plan for the day or week, nor do they assign priorities. The result is shambles, things not done or not done in time, unhappy partners, family members  or clients etc. To have good intentions to do everything will end in disaster. Intentions are good, setting priorities is a lot better!

I’ve recently posted about goal setting and perfection. Both these disciplines come into play when setting the right priorities:

It’s not clever to plan the entire day or week and have every hour filled. If you do this you’ll start to overload and get into a pressure situation. Therefore when you do your “To Do” List, keep as much time as possible open, at least one third of a day should not be filled. Keep unassigned time for family, friends and yourself!

Take your Goals List and break it down into activities, add the dayly recurring activities and then look at the list again:

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this task need to be done immediately, is it urgent?
  • Is this task important?
  • Is this urgent AND important?
  • Is this task NOT important and NOT urgent?

Now order the tasks accordingly:

  • URGENT AND IMPORTANT: Do these tasks first.
  • IMPORTANT: Do these tasks next.

Eliminate the ‘not important’ tasks. They are time wasters and don’t bring you one step towards your goals. The 80 / 20 rules applies here too: Only 20% of all tasks are urgent and important. The other 80% don’t help you reach your goals!

It will take a bit of getting used to not doing everything you have on your initial list. But you’ll get better at this as you learn to select and judge what is really important to you. I can’t and don’t want to give examples here, because every person has his/her own priorities and goals. You’ll make mistakes at occasion, but that’s fine! We all make mistakes. So don’t let these mistakes stop you from making your “To Do” Lis.

Here’s an audiobook that might help you setting your own priorites better:

All of us are looking for practical ways to take control of our lives, whether in our personal relationships, our families, our work, our health, or our future plans. Daily challenges have a way of overwhelming us, making life harder than it needs to be. The good news is that the answers are out there. And they are Easier Than You Think: In the audiobook ‘Easier Than You Think’ Richard Carlson, Ph.D. tells you how to juggle the tasks without dropping the important ones.

Tolerance to accept new ideas, or ideas and beliefs opposite to your own, is important.

Tolerance does not mean you have to adapt everything all others believe or do, but you should keep an open mind, eye and ear for the ideas and beliefs of others. Doing so might just add some know-how to your own treasure chest of life experience and knowledge!

Tolerance needs to be cultivated, because it’s not at all easy to not simply say “Bullshit” and to move on. It takes a lot more effort on your part to first listen or read something that is opposite to your beliefs and habits, or that is new and seems strange at first, and then to think about it.

By going through this process of allowing new thoughts, digesting them and then making your own mind up before simply rejecting anything new and unusual you will discover facettes of the world and of people around you that otherwise would simply bypass you.

  • When you are reading, read with an open mind. Write the questions that come to mind and that you would like to find answers, in the margins. Then take action and research, ask others, look things up on the internet.
  • When you encounter something new and unusual, try to understand what the motivation and drive behind it is and don’t just dismiss it outright.
  • Accept that others have a different opinion and the right to have it.
  • Accept that you or anybody else does not have the absolute monopole and truth about anything.

The key to tolerance is the ability to listen. This is a great audio on listening: ‘Listening: The Forgotten Skill’. Madelyn Burley-Allen shows in this audio how to improve listening skills and how to eliminate distractions and improve your concentration on what is being said; how to locate key words, phrases, and ideas while listening; how to cut through your own listening biases. In the audio you also learn how to ask constructive, non-threatening questions that will provide you with real information in the answers.

Don’t let your subconcious mind take over when it comes to listening and tolerance. You can program yourself to accept ideas and then make up your mind, rather than simply reject the unknown, unusual and new!

Often perfection and precision are confounded. That can lead to a major problem: People who want to have everything perfect often suffer from perfection paralysis. If you are trying to be perfect, your productivity suffers. You need to be able to tolerate imperfections.

It’s OK to be precise, and in some instances it’s important, like in goal setting. But precision does not mean perfection! You should think this over once and for all and then decide for yourself that:

  • You are not perfect and never will be.
  • Everything you do is and will be somehow imperfect.

Perfection Paralysis can be stopping you from doing anything, even in cases when doing something would be much much better:

  • If it is worth doing, it’s worth doing whichever way you can.
  • Nobody prevents you to later make a correction, just don’t overdo the correction stuff.
  • It will never be absolutely perfect!
  • Use the 80 / 20 rule!

The 80 / 20 rule says: Everything can be accomplished. It’s just a question of productivity: with about 20% of your effort (input) you get about 80% of the final result (output). Every percentage point higher, say 81% of the final result, will take a disproportionate effort. For the 81% output you might have to add 3% more input, for the next point to 82% it might be an additional 5% etc. The input to achieve a higher output increases disproportionally to the result that you get.

Let’s say you have to prepare exactly 10 kgs of apples, and you should try and get these 10 kgs right. But if it’s 9 kgs 990 grams or 10 kgs 010 grams of apples does not make a big difference. People who suffer from prefectionitis will juggle apples until the scales show exactly 10 kgs 000 grams.

Now let’s look at a merchant who knows that his customer will not wait the few minutes it would take him until he has found the last few apples to make exactly 10 kgs. He will toss apples into the bowl until the scales show 10 kgs plus something, might be 10, 50, even 100 grams over. It’s OK, because it’s precise as far as the customer is concerned, he asked and will pay for 10 kgs. He applies the 80 / 20 rule and does not overdo the perfection part, but he is precise with his measurement and has minimum 10 kgs on the scales!

Apply that to your life and the everyday tasks. Don’t be sloppy, just don’t try to be perfect. You, I, and everybody else, never will be! Giving yourself and your life the freedom of not being perfect and to tolerate mistakes and imperfections will save you from a lot of hardship and you will gain time to do things you like and want.

Goal Setting is a task that most people take too lightly and underestimate: If you are setting a goal the right way, you’ve made already one third of the way to reaching it! If you are full of good intentions, but don’t set goals, chances are that you’ll never fulfill your wishes!

Let’s look why goal setting is so important: If you’re the captain of a ship, and you venture into the deep waters of the sea, without seeing land anywhere, how will you reach your destination:

  • By letting the winds drive you wherever they want and not changing the sails, or
  • By adjusting your sails according to the compas, so that the force of the wind is used to drive you in the direction of your destination?

The answer is really quite clear, isn’t it? The chance that the wind will drive you to your destination without you changing the settings of your sails, is quite small…. – and without knowing in which direction your destination is to be found, you can’t set your compas course!

The same philosophy applies to goal setting: If you let yourself drift and just hope that some day something good will happen, it may take longer than your life for your wish to come true… – So give your life direction and set goals!

Let’s look at what a good precise goal looks like:

  • It defines a final state
  • It is measurable in quantity
  • It is measurable in time

Means: i.e. you could define the final state like this: “I want to have a circle of real friends, minimum 5 people who I can talk to about anything and who trust me and I know that I can trust them.” You have also defind the quantity with the number of five.

Now, that is great, but how long will you take to achieve this final state? Defining a time frame for this is impossible…. So we might need to define a second set of goals that will lead us to this final state:

Simply by getting to know more people and finally finding the ones that meet the category. Simply might actually not be the best term to choose in this case, finding friends like these is not something easy. But let’s see how we can achieve this.

This is what will really bring you to the final state: Start meeting new people. At the bus stop, at the waiting line in the supe market, in a bar, your choice really. If you have special hobbies or passions, go where people with these hobbies are to be found etc. Your time frame is in this case a repetition of an action until success:

  • I will make contact with one new person every day.

Now we have all three points covered that make a good goal: final state, quantity, time.

You see, it’s not really complicated to set a goal.

Once you are clear about your goals, you might want to use additional help to reach these and to program your mind to help you keep drive towards success. Glenn Harrold has produced a Guide to Manifesting Your Goals and Dreams that uses hypnotic techniques. This works quite well, provided you have precisely defined goals and not just a wish…

 

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