Where does the time go?

I find it amazing that I can have the same time management conversation over and over again. It happened again this morning at a Colorado Women of Influence event.

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Why is it so hard to change the habits that keep me from reaching my full potential? Time wasting choices continue to put urgent tasks in front of important tasks so often that the feeling of being overwhelmed and out-of-control feels weirdly normal.

Okay, so I’m probably over-committed. Yes, I’m the girl who can’t say no, but I have this sense that if only I could concentrate better, chunk my time better, focus better…you get the idea.

That recurrent time management discussion? It appears I’m not the only one struggling with this, so what I need is a plan, a methodology. A stab at it (homage to Blanchard, Covey, Tracy and others):

1)      Decide what’s most important and put it at the top of the list.

 -- For me, my family comes first. If they need me, I’m there. That doesn’t mean that I can’t and shouldn’t explain to them what constitutes an emergency.

 -- Important versus urgent is a critical distinction. If you’re experiencing the “pants on fire” thing too often it probably means you need to do some broader thinking about why that might be.

2)      Do the hardest stuff first, when you’re fresh and energetic.

 -- I’m a morning person, ‘nuff said.

 -- I have to keep reminding myself how great it feels to have a big fat task done. It helps me to set rewards for unpleasant task completion (hello, Bean Cycle!)

3)      Chunk time and laser focus…you’ll save time and energy if you’re wholehearted.

 -- Nothing better than being in “the zone”. That sense of accomplishment is something that if you could bottle, you’d make a billion bucks.

 -- My mantra: multitasking is a myth, multitasking is a myth

4)      Schedule time to breathe. You know, in and out, deeply and intently.

 -- Am I the only one that forgets this?

 -- Breathing puts oxygen where you need it…in the brain.

Whether you’re in sales, or accounting, or prune trees for a living, the sense that time is flying by (and slip-sliding away) is real. Overcoming the habits that feed that feeling may be a lifetime effort, but after all, every day is a new day, isn’t it?

Lee Porter

Lee Porter