Managing Your Time: Hey Big Spender! Part 3 of 3

In my previous blog on Managing Your Time, I urged you to look at “time” as you do “money.” I invited you to assign a dollar amount to each work task in your day. By the end of the day, ideally, if you did everything on the list, you’d figuratively earn a day’s pay. If you slacked off instead, it would reflect in your bottom line. In this blog I’m suggesting you think of every minute of your workday as a dollar. Periodically throughout the day, ask yourself: Am I wasting or saving time right now?

Time is more precious than money. There are many similarities: they are limited, have value, and are measurable. If you viewed your time this way, you might be shocked to see how much better you are with your money than you are with your time. The difference between the two is that you can earn money back, but not time.

Consider viewing time spent playing video games, surfing social media, consenting to interruptions, and worrying as “throwing time” out the window. If you “throw out” an average of four hours a day ( 240 minutes) with every minute at $1, it’s $240 lost a day, x 7 days is $1680 a week out the window! Would you throw $1680 out the window every week? Hell, no! If you’re conservative with money, thinking of “time as money” is a great way to think twice before you act.

Need some extraordinary ways to manage time? Let me know. Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com

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Managing Your Time: What is Your Day Worth? Part 2 of 3

If money drives you, think about placing a dollar amount on your day equal to the effort and efficiency you put forth. This is one of my clients’ favorite strategies for enhancing productivity and assessing their performance at day’s end.

For example, imagine a day where you put forth your 100% personal best. What dollar amount might you tag to a day like that? $1000, $5000, $10,000? Let’s say $5000.  A $5000 day  assumes that every task on your list gets done, done well and delivered. The next step is to assign, according to the time needed per task, complexity and priority, a dollar amount where the maximum total for the day = $5000. For example:

  • refining a clear description of your business model = $500
  • making 5 cold calls to prospects = $1000
  • clearing your desk and planning your schedule for the next day = $1000
  • sending out the three proposals you’ve been putting off = $2500

Therefore, accomplishing all these tasks would earn you your max for the day ($5000). Consider attaching greater dollar amounts to the most undesirable, but essential tasks on your list.

At day’s end ask yourself : What did I pay myself today? What did I earn? $500, $2000? $4500? Where did I jip myself and how can make more tomorrow?  You can also use a self-rating scale from 1 (total slacking) to 10 (personal best) and resolve the next day to beat the previous day’s rating. If you easily made your quota, perhaps your allotments per task are too generous, or you can fit more into your day and pay yourself more.

Let me know how this works for you! Need help being productive in not so ordinary ways? Contact me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com.   

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Steer Clear of the Subtle Saboteurs

First thing in the morning, start out visualizing your most productive and satisfying day. What kind of day, from start to finish, would give you a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment?  If you can see it, then you know what to aim for. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’ve got your to-do list. But, in visualizing your perfect day, how will you tackle the more insidious distractions that could divert you?  Distractions aren’t all about noise and interruptions. If you haven’t addressed the obvious, then now is the time: shut the damn door, turn off the bleeping phone and tell people to leave you alone. If you’ve covered those bases, let’s address some of the sneakier distractions:

Unpreparedness reinforces your wanderlust:  If you set up a schedule the night before, which I highly recommend, all the pieces are in place. Your schedule should have THE TASKS and all the little sub-tasks listed below it for getting each TASK done. Then you can have a blast checking off each little sub-task as you complete it. Otherwise, if you just list the tasks, it’s like facing an inferno.

Dehydrated and de-nourished. Before you sit down to work, start off with a breakfast high in protein, good fats and plenty of water, especially if you suffer from anxiety and attention problems. Your brain is fat, protein keeps you sharp and water helps everything.

Unjustly rewarding yourself with gaming, FB time and other things you don’t deserve till you get the real work done. Newsflash: You have to earn your goodies− a good lesson to start teaching your kids now before electronics and endless fun screws up their brain circuitry for good.

Let me help you steer clear of the subtle saboteurs stealing from your success. Contact me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com

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Coffee, Tea and Productivity

Is bringing your work to a coffee shop (CS) more conducive to better focus and getting things done than at the office? Finding the right environment for maximum productivity doesn’t have to be a monastery or a round trip flight to and from Chicago (my favorite!). If you’re looking for a place that might make a big difference in your daily productivity, give a CS a try. Here’s what I gather from students’ reports and various articles on the subject:

Despite the ambient noise that varies as a function of the CS traffic, it is a negligible nuisance when compared to the more obtrusive interruptions at work.

At a CS there’s a different social dynamic in play: no cell phone calls (take it outside please), no loud talking and very busybodies. People, for the most part, respect each other’s need to concentrate. Several of my more introverted clients prefer a CS over the chronic expectations at the workplace to smile, greet and engage in small talk.

Most CSs have large windows and much natural sunlight versus the artificial office lighting that can have unhealthy side-effects.

CSs are less-stressful than the workplace. Discussions between people are more relaxed, and people feel freer to share creative ideas and say what’s on their minds.  A CEO of a startup in Boston likes to hold his performance reviews at the local Starbuck’s. He claims that his employees open up more, take criticism easier and offer more interesting solutions than if they had these discussions in the office. The mood is lighter and there’s a positive energy vibe in a CS that’s hard to duplicate in an office setting.

Even if you work at home alone without the office gaggle, just getting away from your desk and being around people and different sounds and scents can give you fresh perspective on an otherwise tired task.

Need a new boost to your productivity? Different minds need different ways to focus and get things done. Let me help you find it! Email me at Rebecca@mindfulcommunication.com

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Resolve to “Go Micro” (Part One)

After tonight’s killer boot camp, the instructor announced that between January and March a flood of new, resolute members will descend upon the gym. We were asked to be patient and encouraging to new members. She assured us that, come mid-March, our class size will normalize with only a few new members remaining.

Why does this happen? Combine the pressure to regularly get to the gym, to be patient and accepting of oneself, and to tolerate too much discomfort too fast causes the high New Year’s Resolution crash and burn rate. These admirable, super-sized intentions are a great strain on one’s limited willpower reserve.  What results is a sense of failure and another blow to one’s self-esteem.  How can you avoid this?  If you are thinking about any New Year’s resolutions for you and your business, I advise you to plan first and then “go micro.” Ask yourself:

  • Which new habit would have the greatest impact on your family and your business?
  • What would you gain from your new habit? And conversely, what will you lose by not following through with this resolution?
  • How will you break down your resolution into micro steps making change more gradual, least uncomfortable, noticeable and worthwhile?
  • Do you need a coach or a partner to motivate you and monitor your progress?

 

Jess, a 40 year old founder of a small home furnishings company, wanted to keep her meetings under 20 minutes. Her meetings typically ran over 40 minutes. She knew that shorter, more efficient meetings would yield greater productivity for her team, plus she’d get home earlier to her family at night. She tended to address topics off the top of her head and over talk. Jess recognized that her poor planning and gift of gab were problems. After previous failed attempts to stick to the 20 minute limit, I suggested we chose just three micro steps and apply one at a time:

1) prioritize the top 2-3 topics for the meeting

2) write out the key talking points , and

3)  have an analog clock in view so as to pace herself.

Interestingly, Jess reported that the analog clock was the most helpful step in staying on track. She remarked, “I got a sense of what 20 minutes felt like and what I could reasonably accomplish in that span of time.”

These small steps improved other inefficiencies such as: dependency on Jess to remember the main points, her over-talking and wasting time. Three meetings later, after applying a micro step at a time, the new habit was in place. The benefits of the micro approach? Staff demonstrated 20-30% better follow through, there was less confusion about priorities and next steps, attendance at meetings increased resulting in better staff connection, and Jess was getting home sooner. Resolving to a micro step approach can make a New Year’s resolution stick.

Let me help you “Go Micro” and accomplish more this year. Email me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com and let’s get started.      

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“After the holidays…” Seriously?

Attention: Self-starters! Yes, you with projects on the table − this “after the holidays” excuse ranks Number One on the Procrastination leader board. It’s getting old, and it’s obsolete. It worked well before online shopping, when writing Christmas cards took two full evenings to complete, and when you felt compelled to write those long-winded, egocentric letters telling people about your fabulous year. Come on. You’re going to hold off doing anything productive until “after the holidays?” It’s almost laughable.

Friends, the holidays are a great time to hunker down away from distraction and get work done. You can still have family time and take a few days to hit the Mall, the slopes or the beach, but to postpone your personal and business progress because of the holidays is slacker-speak!

Two more reasons I cringe when I hear this refrain (my older clients know not to utter that phrase in my presence)  is that the holiday excuse gives people license to fudge on the habits or disciplines they’ve cultivated over the last couple months. Those nascent circuits (more productive behaviors and habits) trying to get a foothold in your brain start to break down. After a week or so of letting your efforts slide, you’ll have to start from square one again!  The other problem with this excuse is that after the holidays it takes days, and for some weeks, to get back into the swing of things.

Here’s how I follow my own advice: I’m 100% family on Christmas Day and the first night of Hanukah. Then I take a holiday week and go ski. I ski from 8:00a.m to 3:00p.m., followed by an hour of après-ski until 4:00. By 4:30 I’m back in my room writing, researching, responding to emails and checking in with my clients. Other family members have a separate room so my husband and I can work distraction free. Come 7:00 it’s dinner− quality,guilt-free time to focus on my family.

So, go ahead and carve out some hours of fun and relaxation with your family, but figure out how you can keep honing those new skills and routines you’ve started. After that first week in January, you’ll emerge on schedule and ahead of the game compared to others who are just getting over the holidays.

If you want to get started building your core skills and routines before or during the holidays – don’t delay. Visit www.MindfulCommunication.com or write me at Rebecca@mindfulcommunication.com and we’ll get going!

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A Down Day? “GOOD!” says Jocko Willink

Are you a fair weather worker? Can you only be productive when the sun is shining? I have many clients who dread a gray, overcast day. Perhaps there are other gloomy things going on in your life – oversights, lost opportunities or rejection?

Here in West Newbury it’s 29 degrees and cloudy. As I get older, I find my moods are tainted by the weather too. Living out here in the countryside the weather is right in my face big time; no tall buildings to obscure the truth.  It’s my challenge then to open doors, make the calls, send those emails, write a chapter or two for my manuscript and do my workout. So, when I look outside and see the fog and drizzle, before I let the weather color my world, I follow the advice of Jocko Willink, a retired Navy Seal Officer, author of the awesome Discipline Equals Freedom — I proclaim a loud, resounding “GOOD!” I feel an immediate physiological change – I feel taller, lifted, I’m smiling and ready to take action. If you shout “BAD” instead, notice how terrible that feels! Language is very powerful in this way.

So, when things aren’t going so well, when you feel frustrated or overwhelmed shout  “GOOD! Now, let me take a step back and see how to solve this situation.”  This moves you right to problem solving mode before you slip into the slow, low doldrums of hopelessness. Speak aloud your solutions and intentions of the day too! Turn that bad mood on its head. Got it? GOOD!

What do you think? Try it out and let me know! Together, let’s power up your Core for 2018! Read about my Core Four Coaching at www.MindfulCommunication.com

 

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