the Time Trap
marches on. It can't be put in a Tupperware
container and stored for later use. Once spent,
it is gone forever. The following tips to beat
the time trap are equally effective at home
or at the office.
Up a Schedule for Your Day
The secret to keeping your day under control
and preserving your sanity is to identify your
priorities before you start. I find the best
time to write a schedule is the night before,
or early in the morning. Keep it simple. Rank
what needs to be done in order of importance,
keeping in mind your most important values.
Learn to focus on these.
are natural multi-taskers. That's good in the
sense that you can handle several tasks at the
same time. However, if you have an important
goal to complete, your habit of multi-tasking
may become a source of distraction.
daily tasks do not have equal importance. We
need to keep asking, "Am I focused on my
top priorities?" Too often we surrender
to the tyranny of the urgent. Every time the
phone rings we answer it, even when we're in
the middle of an important project that requires
total focus. Avoid interruptions. At the end
of the day you don't want a guilty hangover,
mentally beating yourself up because you allowed
meaningless distractions or other people to
ruin your focus.
lists helps to free your mind and your energy.
I like simplicity, so I use two lists to keep
me on track, my Daily list and my Main list.
My Daily list details my priorities and schedule
for the day. The Main list includes other tasks
that require attention through the week, though
perhaps not today. Depending on my schedule,
I usually include a few items from the Main
list on my Daily list if I have time to do them.
If not, that's okay. I just put them back on
the Main list at the end of the day. By focusing
on these two lists I can usually get everything
done each week.
first it will take practice to gauge your capacity.
Be careful you don't make your list so long,
or the tasks so big, that you set yourself up
can record your to-do lists on a simple notepad
or on any basic organizer. If you like technology,
you can choose from numerous Personal Digital
Assistants (PDAs) that have multiple functions.
Knowing what's available and what suits you
best is part of your ongoing education. Harness
the expertise of someone who is really up to
speed with technology and can help you make
organizing your schedule, don't pack it full
of tasks, activities and appointments. If you
do, you're going to be running
your most productive time to do your most productive
work. Tackle your most difficult or important
work during the time of day when you're at your
best, and when you're more likely to complete
it. Develop the do-it-now habit. Don't procrastinate.
possible, save easier tasks for day's end. You'll
be able to complete them, and each day will
end on a positive, rewarding note.
Effective scheduling will free up more time,
but we must also deal with clutter. Have you
noticed how much paper still flows into your
life, despite all the instant-response technology?
And if it isn't paper, it's all the other stuff
that just seems to accumulate in the closet,
office and basement. Where does it all come
you don't know where something belongs, how
do you know where to put it? If you need that
item later, how do you know where to find it?
Categorization is vitally important when you're
getting organized. Keep all bill-paying supplies
in one place. Gather craft supplies in one basket.
When you need to work on something, everything
will be easily accessible.
Use the FAT system for all mail: File it-Action
now-Trash it. Dump junk mail immediately.
household items, be ruthless about giving things
away or throwing them out. If you haven't used
an item in the last two years, you are not likely
to need it again. The same principle applies
to your wardrobe. Don't keep clothes in the
hope that you'll lose weight. If you do, chances
are they will either be out of style, or you'll
want to reward yourself with new items. Get
rid of them, and take better care of the clothes
you do have.
you really want a clutter-free, streamlined
home, ask yourself these questions before you
go shopping: Do I really need this? Have I got
somewhere to keep it? Will I use it? Do I want
to be responsible for storing, cleaning and
maintaining yet another item? Don't shop unconsciously
your closet. Dressing each morning from a chaotic
closet affirms that your life is chaotic. Organizers
for shoes, hats, sweaters, gloves, belts, scarves,
pants, handbags and ties can generate an incredible
return on investment by blessing you with more
time and less stress in the "search and
your bedroom clutter-free - after all, this
where you retreat at the end of the day.
If your intimate space is visually disorganized,
there will be constant reminders to do something.
It requires a lot of energy to suppress these
nagging reminders. Clean out under your bed,
behind the dressers and even in the drawers.
your e-mails once or twice a day-no more. Be
rigid about the time you spend dealing with
e-mails. Often they are time -wasters.
you have a leadership role at work, consider
stand-up meetings that are no longer than fifteen
minutes. Use a small boardroom table to stand
around for quick, efficient meetings.
meetings to a minimum each week. Set a specific
start/end time, and stick to it. Circulate an
agenda in advance. Make sure Action Steps are
clarified in the meeting and followed through.
When making important phone calls, write out
a short agenda and your expectations before
you call. Take notes during the conversation
about anything that requires specific action.
you drive a lot in your business, always have
plenty of spare change for parking along with
extra business cards, stationery, thank-you
cards and brochures in the car.
technology to help you. For more ideas check
out the CD album by Les Hewitt and Mike Foster
called e-Savvy: Using Technology To Free Up
Your Time, Boost Profits And Reduce Stress!
(www.achievers.com Toll Free 1-877-678-0234)
all of these ideas in this article and select
the ones that appeal to you, then start organizing
and simplifying your life. This will free up
your time. Letting go of the clutter will create
room for new experiences and will release your
energy. More time and more energy is exactly
what we're looking for.
article is an excerpt from the recently released
book, "The Power of Focus for Women",
by Fran Hewitt and Les Hewitt. Fran is
an internationally acclaimed workshop facilitator
whose passion is helping women to create more
joy and meaning in their lives. She is the founder
of The Inner Circle Program, a unique self-awareness
experience for women from all walks of life.
Les is one of the top performance coaches in
North America and the author of the international
bestseller, "The Power of Focus".
Power of Focus for Women
is available in leading bookstores.
For more information about this book,
or to buy at Amazon, click