Posts Tagged ‘time management’

5 Ways to Slow Down Time This Summer

July 2, 2014

This post was first published on my website blog.

This past spring, I was invited to speak at a library on the topic of  “Time Management”.  I accepted the invitation with the caveat that what I would really be talking about is “self management” — i.e. managing ourselves within our time. There really is no such thing as ‘managing time’. We can, however, manage ourselves differently so that we experience time differently.

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Like most people, I get how fast time goes these days and I often wish I could get more of it. You know – more time to get more things done;  to do more of the things I enjoy; to have more time for less ‘doing’ and more thinking time…..and so on. Since I can’t get more time, I try to find ways to slow it down. Or rather,  to slow down my experience and perception of time fleeting so quickly.

Ahh yes, the speed of life.  Do you feel this way too?

With summer here when the ‘living is (supposed to be) easy’….I thought it would be fitting to offer a few ideas on how to ‘slow down’ time so you can get the most out of this lovely (albeit short) season. And to be authentic, I won’t proclaim to have mastered these strategies nor will I ever likely fully do so. The idea is to live in these strategies and do your best each day to be aware and to catch yourself in the moment. That’s working towards ‘mastery’. So here you go – try these out.

5 Ways to Slow Down Time This Summer (or any season):

1) Focus Time

Multitasking and distractions are big thieves of  time. And we let these thieves into our lives – daily.  We juggle  activities; answer emails at every ting; invite or allow distractions of all kinds to intrude. Not only do these habits make your valuable time less productive (yes, less), it also zaps your energy because multitasking spends way more brain energy then focused thinking.

Conversely focus brings the gift of fueling ourselves. Focus fuels our brain capacity and creativity; energizes us and keeps us sharp. And with the right kind of focus activity, it can put us in a state of flow — a delicious state that leads to more engagement, well-being and happiness and a feeling of time ‘well-spent’.  And while time in flow can fly by (we get lost in time) this is usually a good, energizing  ‘time-goes-’fast’ experience vs. a depleting fast.  And you can likely get more done. Those flow states usually involve using your top strengths. You can read more about strengths and flow in a past blog post here.

These days, there’s so much to juggle with the loads of work and life but there’s plenty of opportunity to rein in the gratuitous multitasking and distractions and ramp up a bit more of focus time in your day. Maybe it’s taking 20 minutes of uninterrupted time to write that report or think about a plan or start to flesh out a creative idea. Try it out this summer and see if you experience a shift in how you feel about time.  And you can read more about this in an excerpt from my book, Ease, here.

2) Get Present

While this idea is related to focus, it deserves its own mention. How often do we allow our minds to be someplace other than where we actually are and are meant to be. Perhaps you are at a meeting but thinking about something else (the work that beckons? or concern about another matter). Or away from work (family time, friends, etc) but your supposedly ‘off’ time gets robbed as you worry or think about something else. Did you miss your son’s winning pitch at the baseball game because you were on your smart phone dealing with work?

Reality can certainly pull us away at times but if you can catch yourself in a reactive (and unnecessary) moment of ‘inattention’ and shift to a state of attention you will overcome an insidious robber of our time. From tuned out to tuned in — you will likely be rewarded with more moments that you truly wouldn’t want to miss this summer.

3) Reality Test Your To Do List

I’m often guilty of putting too many things on my to-do list and when I do that I know this can trigger the perception of  ‘not enough time’  which is an energy drain to say the least.

Keep that ‘not enough time‘ gremlin at bay and take a harder look at your own expectations of what can get done in any given period of time. Learn to right-size your daily (and weekly, monthly) goals and to-do’s. This will also invite you to learn to say ‘no’ more often. More about this and more in my book, Ease.

4) Leave Margins

Using time wisely doesn’t imply you should pack in activities to the fullest of your day’s capacity. In fact, the opposite is what many of us need. Leave margins to ‘get there’, ‘do that’, or deal with contingencies (traffic, etc) — or just to think and recharge your batteries. This will give you more spaciousness and a feeling of enough time vs. not enough.  And paradoxically, you will probably get more done and do it better as a result.

To do this well, learn to master  your schedule better: deliberately leave some  ‘white space’ around the edges (and in other places) ; make space for breaks  to recharge (even tiny ones help) — even when it is ‘crazy busy’.

5) Choose Joy Over Angst

Well, nothing robs us of quality time more than negativity (worry, frustration, angst). A day in a funk is a day wasted. Sure, stuff concerns us, challenges us, gets us down – but focusing only on the negativity will guarantee to feed into the ‘scarcity of time’ experience.

Instead, learn to master the art of positivity – and make room for it especially during times of duress. This will not only broaden your capacity to deal with the tough issues and even boost your ability to generate more positive outcomes  — it will also give you back ownership of your time.  By having the choice of how you want to be at any given moment, you ‘own the moment’.

Own the Moment! Embrace it or waste it.

Hmmmm…..

SO HOW DO YOU DO ALL THIS?  “Sos” for you….

Well, for starters, check out my book, Ease – Manage Overwhelm in Times of ‘Crazy Busy’. It is filled with concrete tips, ideas and tools to support you in these and other strategies to help you take charge of your time, your effectiveness, your mood and mojo.

AND COMING REAL SOON: EASE TALKS!

I’ve been talking about these and other related themes in workshops, presentations and even the media and now I’m offering an opportunity for a deeper dive with you that will be really accessible; ‘ease-y’ to participate and filled with loads of practical tips, strategies and inspiration!

This first offering of Ease Talks is a series of tele-based seminars that will will help you deal with ‘times of crazy busy’ with more resilience, success and even personal mojo! We’ll dive into the themes from my book, Ease, as well as learn a bunch of new stuff (beyond the book).  Whether you’ve read Ease or plan to – this will take you on a ‘deeper dive’ and you’ll find your time very well spent coming away with more ‘tools’ and inspiration for your personal and professional well-being.

Notably, I will definitely be including content on how to hone the Positivity Habit…one of my favorite areas! It’s worth noting that positivity is not just a ‘nice-to-have’ – it has been scientifically proven to bolster our chances for success and well-being on so many levels (mental, emotional and physical).

Scheduled to start late August (with the first call on me – complimentary) and more of the details coming soon. In the meantime,  you can read more about the program here.

Hope to ‘see’ you there!

For now, I’m wishing you a happy start to the summer. May your time be plentiful, well-spent and filled with joy, well-being and lots of ease along the way.

In the News: Get a Grip on Your Schedule

July 27, 2012

I was just finishing up some last bits of one of the chapters in my book-in-progress (due out in early 2013) on how to tame overwhelm (too busy) angst and I got a call that was very timely.

“Eileen, do you have any tips for advisors on how to get in better control of their days…time…schedule?”. The reporter, Fiona Colle, was writing a tip piece for her Friday column called Practice Management.

Well – do I ever! Actually I’ve got loads of tips. But the editor told me her article would be brief so only room for a few. So here’s a taste of a few ideas to get a grip on a busy schedule. The ideas are seemingly so basic yet so critical and hopefully good reminders of how to bring more order to a really busy day (are there any other kinds of days?!). Although written for advisors, the ideas are relevant to anyone with too much to do and not enough time!

Read the article here from Investment Executive’s Casual Friday column here 

To a TGIM Work + Life!

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It’s About Time

April 9, 2011

Do you feel you are always pressed for time? Running out of it? Wondering where the heck it’s all gone/is going? Well, yeah…me too. 

It’s About Time — that’s the topic of my April Newsletter.  I share 10 Timely Questions to help you get a grip on that pesky  ‘oh-so-little-time-so-much-to-do” issue we all grapple with. As well, a link to an article that offers one more powerful,  ‘must-ask’ question to keep yourself from stagnating in your life.

Interest piqued? Well, you can read the latest issue (April).  

Better yet, subscribe to my newsletter and be the first to receive it in your Inbox regularly. Okay: confession. Maybe not always so regularly. I call this my “Not-So-Monthly” newsletter. But I do aim to send stuff that’s of interest often enough:)  There is a ‘subscribe to newsletter’ button right on this blog; as well as on the newsletter itself – or simply send me an email.  Either way – love to have you aboard.

Finally – you can check out some past issues in the newsletter page of this blog.

Here’s to your TGIM work + Life!

Eileen

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That Balance Thing…oh yeah….when I have more time.

February 22, 2007

The funny thing about that phrase “Time Management” is that it technically makes no sense at all.  You can’t manage time — i.e. you can’t change it; manipulate it; add or delete it. It’s pretty much a done deal. We each get the same amount doled out: 7 days a week; 24 hrs; 60 minute per hour….you get the point?

You can, however, manage yourself in time….i.e. what you do with your time; how you feel about your ‘time’; how you ‘be’ in it (mindset; energy level; focus of attention, etc.). We really should be calling it ‘Self Management’ but that wouldn’t be as appealing a ‘brand’. So ‘Time Management’ it is……

 In any case, the topic is of interest to most people today who are working hard and trying to squeeze in as much as they can in their time. One of the top complaints people have is ‘not enough time!” In fact, I was just quoted in an article  in Investment Executive (trade publication for financial industry and advisors) on this issue. They did a whole section called: Time Out with articles about balance; life outside of ‘work’; wellness; etc. It was a great report and relevant for anyone – not just advisors.  Check out the full report here.

So how are you managing yourself in time? A few thought-starters to consider:

  • To do or not to do lists? Addicted to your list? Is your life one big list of ‘to do’s’? What about doing a ‘to not do’ list? What would that look like? What can you stop doing that will free up some more time to do stuff that really matters to you?
  • Speaking of what really matters – when was the last time you took some time to clarify that for yourself? Our priorities shift as our life evolves…..
  • Which of your priorities make it on your ‘to do’ list? Often we use lists (or scheduling/agenda) for the stuff ‘we have to do’ (responsibilities, errands and appointments we don’t want to forget). Ironically, what is often missing is the stuff that we really want to have in our life. How come those things aren’t on your list or scheduled in the agenda? Why aren’t they a priority? What difference would they make in your success and fulfillment factor (TGIM!) if you did make them a priority?
  • Pay yourself first or last? The ‘pay yourself first’ idea is actually a financial planning tip (put away savings right away otherwise there will be no $ left at the end of the week). Well, same goes for time. If the stuff that makes the ‘good life’ (to you) isn’t on your list upfront – how do you ensure it happens? Do you give away all your time servng everyone else first and hope some is left over for you? Or do you make sure you put some aside right away?
  • Action item: make a ‘priority’ list of everything that is truly important and meaningful in your life (and work) and compare it to your ‘to do’ list. There might be some editing needed to re-work your ‘to do’ list and ensure more of those priorities get actualized. 
  • Balancing your energy or burning out? This point probably deserves its own post (or blog for that matter!). But the point is that how you ‘be’ in your time (mindset, attitudes, focus) and what you do with it will either energize you, deplete you or, if you’ve got it balanced,  it will be “just right” (as Goldilocks would say).  The energy factor is huge and lots goes into this piece (nutrition, exercise, mindset, sleep, flow, etc.). More another time……
  • Sigh…there’s so much more to say about this topic but I’m noticing the time…and I’m all out of it.  For tonight anyways.

Till next time…. Eileen

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