You must use your 1,440 minutes today, it’s not possible to carry them forward to tomorrow. Any wasted minutes are lost.
Everyday you make multiple decisions about how to use every one of those minutes. Often you’ll be unaware you’re really making a decision – it’s more a rapid response to the latest request, crisis or thought that pops into your mind.
But all those decisions contribute to how you feel at the end of the day.
Some minutes you used wisely bringing a great return or much pleasure – very satisfying. Some slipped by unnoticed, and some minutes you generously gave away to others by helping with their tasks. Probably not so satisfying, perhaps even frustrating.
So imagine for a moment that instead of minutes, you received money each day. Picture a gift-wrapped box containing a golden coin for every one of those 1,440 minutes, and you’ll decide how to spend them.
So many entrepreneurs start businesses with dreams of taking back control of their time, working fewer hours and enjoying work again. You know the sort of thing, it’s almost a mythology – working in your pyjamas, from the beach or for just a few hours a week. If it’s worked out that way for you already, congratulations!
But let’s face it, I know only too well for many entrepreneurs the dream takes a little longer to materialise than we hoped. Indeed, it’s easy to find ourselves working for an even more demanding ‘Boss from Hell’ (AKA yourself) who doesn’t stop nagging for attention 24/7. Trying to keep up with the orders, networking and a ‘to do’ list that seems to have no end, can make it hard to squeeze in time for family and friends too.
When deciding to ‘get organised’, one of the first things people often do is invest in new time planning tools to support their new organised ways. It might be a Smartphone, a Blackberry, new diary or a posh new leather folio.
But often these new tools are abandoned quickly, and the results can be disappointing. It’s not that the tools don’t work (clearly they do as used successfully by many) – it’s more usually a case of the wrong tool has been selected for an individual’s personal needs, and the time required to get used to the new system is underestimated.
So to help you choose a supportive system for you, here’s a quick review of one of the most basic tools needed to manage your time. Some of you will call it a calendar, others a diary depending on what you are used to – for simplicity, I’ll refer to a calendar in this article. Continue reading
I often ask Clients ‘how often do you take a lunch break in a typical week?’ The response, more often than not, is a wry laugh, surprise or polite invitation to take a reality check. For many people, lunch and breaks are rapidly disappearing from the working day, without much thought about the impact.
And of course it’s understandable. When you’re under pressure to deliver against tight deadlines, dash to the next meeting and somehow tame your bulging inbox, skipping breaks and lunch during the day seems a natural choice. Or maybe you choose to sit at your desk, grab a quick bite when you can and continue handling every interruption as you munch.
But although you might imagine skipping breaks saves time, the reverse is true. Sometimes, taking a break is exactly what you need to keep your productivity and enthusiasm high.
Our bodies are not machines designed to run flat out for long periods. Rather, we’re designed for short bursts of activity, followed by a break to rest and refuel.
At a recent business lunch, I met Sarah* who revealed she had problems with Time Management – but she wasn’t sure why. She appeared outwardly organised, and runs both a successful small manufacturing company and a home admirably, but often felt overwhelmed and frustrated.
A few focussed questions revealed possible causes for her frustration – a partner on assignment outside the UK and a noisy work environment. Perhaps most astonishingly, as we talked Sarah realised how these two seemingly unconnected issues were combining to throw her natural body clock out of kilter.
Sarah is naturally a ‘Lark’ - waking early and easily each morning, and producing her best work early in the day. She knew she really wanted to be in bed by about 10.30pm, to be her best.
A Selection collated by Rosie Gray, Mosaic Learning
I’ve been collecting quotes for many years, as I enjoy the way a message can be summed up neatly (and memorably) in a sentence or two. Often these quotes are shared with my Clients, leading to a powerful insight or thought provoking conversation. I know from feedback, these quotes are often kept and resonate long after our work together is completed.
So I want to share this shortlist of some of my favourites with you. They’re all themed around the topic of ‘Work/Life Balance’, as this can be challenging for so many of us. Of course, the ideal balance between these important elements in our lives is different for everybody – it depends on what is important to us, and this shifts over time.
Last weekend, I watched the film ‘The Bucket List’ and it reminded me of the whole goal setting process and why it matters to us all. If you haven’t seen the film – it stars Jack Nicholson & Morgan Freeman. Without spoiling the plot – two terminally ill cancer patients decide to leave hospital, go on a round the world trip and live their last days to the full. They’re intent on experiencing as many things on their ‘wish list’ as possible before they ‘kick the bucket’. They called this their ‘bucket list’. (It’s not as depressing a film as it sounds – I recommend it.)
Now at the moment, I’m fit, healthy and planning to stay that way, and hope you are too. But none of us knows what life has in store and there are experiences I don’t want to regret missing, because I left it too late.
So I’ve been updating my own list of dreams this week. I first did this about 15 years ago, and been adding to it ever since. As I experience the dream, I cross it off so there’s always room for more.
Even though you’ve physically left your work location, sometimes the mental cogs keep whirring away all evening. Maybe you process the days interactions (and think of the devastatingly witty replies you wish you had made at the time), or plan tomorrow.
Now this isn’t always a problem of course. But if you don’t properly switch between these two parts of your life regularly, it can leave you feeling tired, frustrated, even ‘burnt out’, as you’re not resting and recharging your batteries. It can cause you to appear distracted to others too, as they sense you’re not giving your full attention.
So here are some practical suggestions to help you ‘wind down’ and enjoy a relaxing evening…
Most of us spend our working time juggling a multitude of activities and projects. Sometimes this can be frustrating because while we’re undoubtedly busy, it can take an age to finish anything and move on to something new.
I’m often asked whether it’s better to concentrate on one activity at a time or to multitask – and the possibly disappointing, but honest, answer I have to give is ‘it depends’. Both have advantages and drawbacks – and we all benefit from developing the opposite to our preferred approach and increasing flexibility.
Traditional time management approaches typically recommend you single task, following a project doggedly through to conclusion before beginning another. And it makes sense – if you can immerse yourself in a project, you’ll spend less time reviewing information, recapping where you were before beginning the next part.