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Posts Tagged “time management”

Forget Balance! – Work, Life And The Surprising Secret to Happiness

The elusive goal of balance keeps us teetering on a tightrope of insanity as we frantically juggle the plates of our compartmentalized lives.

Balance may be the big buzzword in corporate America, but parceling yourself out in the quest for perfect balance often makes you so worried about the moments you’re missing that you forget how to enjoy the moments you’re actually in.

The problem isn’t lack of balance. It’s that we’ve sub-divided our lives into a series of endless to-dos that hold no meaning for us whatsoever.

The truth is, balance isn’t a strategy; it’s a tactic, and a reactive one at that. And you don’t create success or happiness with tactics. Think about it. Do you know anyone who achieved nirvana by mastering the art of the Franklin Planner?

It’s no coincidence that when people talk about balance they’re usually lamenting their lack of it.

I should spend more time with my kids. I should take more vacations. I should get to the gym more often. I should call my folks. The list is a mile long, and we’re convinced that true happiness will descend upon us when it’s all checked off.

But the real secret of happiness isn’t balance at all; it’s two very simple things: We’re the happiest when we’re connected to others, and we know that what we’re doing with our time makes a difference.

That’s it. Not new cars, not big promotions, not even more sex, the perfect life partner or photogenic kids. It’s been proven time and time again, by everyone from the researchers at Harvard to religious leaders; we human beings need both pleasure and purpose to be happy. And we need to experience them both at the same time.

All the angst around balance is merely masking a larger issue which is lack of purpose and an inability to experience the pleasure of fully engaging in the present moment.

Our culture has perpetuated the myth that our work is over on one side of the equation and fun is on the other, two competing arenas that must be carefully balanced against each other at all times. Spread yourself around in the right proportion, and life will be bliss. But in reality, our challenge isn’t trying to balance out the drudgery with the fun; our challenge is to learn to how enjoy every aspect of our life while we’re actually living it.

Meaningful work – be it parenting, PTA or powering your way to the top of P & G – is the cornerstone of a happy and successful life.

Exhaustion may make you crave more pleasure. However, as the angst ridden botoxed ladies at the country club can attest, you can spend every day of your life at the spa, but unless it’s connected to a larger purpose, at a certain point you’re going to get tired of exfoliating yourself.

On the flip side, you can selflessly spend hours scooping soup for the poor, but until you learn to be fully present and experience the grace while you’re ladling, there won’t be a big serving of joy waiting for you at the bottom of the pot.

We human beings are hard-wired with an innate desire to create meaningful connections while we’re on this planet and to make a contribution that outlasts our stay on it.

Yet, despite the lofty yearnings of our souls. we often get ourselves so mired in our own muck that we’re not fully engaged with the people around us, and we completely miss the potentially larger purpose of our daily grind. There aren’t too many world leaders, kindergarten teachers, or jingle writers who create fabulous results by distractedly going through the motions.

Trying to balance out your priorities by employing superb scheduling tactics will always feel like a rat race if you don’t have a meaningful strategy or goal. If your true objective is to become happy, you’re going to have to spend a little time thinking about what that actually means to you.

Whether you know it or not, you do have purpose on this planet – we all do – and I suspect that much of our angst over balance comes from the gnawing knowledge that we’re not fulfilling it. But before you quit your day job, you should know that you don’t have to create world peace to give yourself a reason to get out of bed. Sometimes your life’s purpose is something as simple, elegant and meaningful as being a great friend or boss.

I have no idea what your purpose is; it took me the better part of 44 years just to start getting an inkling of my own. But I do know that the meaning and joy you get out of your life is in direct proportion to the meaning and joy you put into it.

You can’t make good decisions about where to spend your time until you know how you want to share your heart. Guiltily parceling out bits and pieces of yourself in the name of balance never makes you happy; it just makes you tired. So forget balance. Figure out your purpose, get present in the moment and decide to be happy instead.

reblogged from bnetworking.info

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Don’t Multi-task???

Multitasking can be counterproductive. Do less better.

Being busy as a bee is an occupational hazard in sales. Take a lesson from busy bees. They only do one thing at a time. The temptation is always with us that when we want to get more done, we decide that doing two or three things at once is the answer. This is particularly true while driving.

Your brain is a wonderfully adaptive organ, but pushing it to its multiplexing limits assures that concentration by necessity is lost. One task becomes primary and all others suffer accordingly, with the primary task losing focus in the process. Those are the things that automobile accidents are made of.

Business disasters follow the same pattern. Get too much going and everything will go to pieces on a regular basis. Set sales priorities. What must be done now? What can wait until this afternoon or tomorrow? Slow down; you will make more forward progress. Focus on the thing at hand. Budget the time necessary to get the job done professionally. Don’t hustle customers. Doing less better will produce more results.

Talk slower; drive slower; don’t run through airports. You will live longer, and although you may not think you are getting enough done, compound interest will have its chance to make you wealthy. All good results take time. You can listen to books while driving and you can walk and chew gum between sales calls, but with those exceptions and few others, take things one at a time.

Now, go out and have your best week ever!

reblogged from an article by Linda Fitzgerald in Affiliated Women International

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The 15-Minute Strategy to Get More Done Everyday

You have 1440 minutes between right now and this time tomorrow. Only 1440 minutes. How will you use that time? One percent of that time is about 15 minutes. What, you ask, is so important about 15 minutes? It is a block of time that’s small enough to make room for and large enough to get something significant done.

My most important strategy to get more done every day is simply to always be ready. When you are ready, you have what you need when you need it. This means you can use “found time” productively to move your business forward.

I can hear you asking: “What is ‘found time'”? Have you ever been to a meeting that didn’t start when planned? Far too many meetings start several minutes late. When you are ready to use those “found” 15 minutes, you can effectively make a dent in all you need to get done each day.

For example, when I have magazine articles I want to read, I tear them out of my magazines and carry them with me for a day or two. Then when — not if — “found time” appears, I use it to read those articles. This helps me stay in touch with what’s happening in my industry, making me more effective with my clients.

In my experience, many people use “found time” to check their email. While this may seem productive at the moment, it doesn’t always move you forward on your long-term goals. When you really look at your goals, there are often tasks that would help “get you there” that take between 15 to 45 minutes to complete. Get clear about what tasks you can accomplish in 15 minute chunks. Then, always be ready with what you need to accomplish that task. You will immediately become more productive.

A good exercise is to make a list of 20 to 30 tasks you can accomplish in less than 15 minutes. I keep and update this list in Evernote all the time. This is not a list of to-dos, but rather the extras. Then set yourself up with the supplies or information you need to complete those tasks. Make sure the needed items are with you when you go to meetings, leave the office or otherwise suspect you might have a bit of extra time. By being ready, you can take advantage of these windows of opportunity.

One of my favorite uses of “found time” is to write thank you cards. Watching for people to acknowledge and thank also makes my day better. Plus, thank you notes touch people in a unique way. In fact, I write at least one thank you note each week. This means I send a minimum of 52 hand written — yes, always by hand — thank you notes a year.

Of course, I accomplish this by always having note cards, envelopes and stamps with me. When a meeting is late, I can quickly jot a note of thanks, pop it in the envelope and send it off. Expressing gratitude is a fabulous use of “found time.” Plus, saying “thank you” makes the recipient feel valued, sets you apart from the crowd and leaves you feeling good.

So my favorite strategy to being more productive is to always be ready. Take time to figure out how your day is likely to unfold and make sure you have the supplies you need with you. When you are always ready, you can truly get more done each day.

Jason W. Womack is founder of The Womack Company, a productivity-training firm based in Ojai, Calif. He is author of Your Best Just Got Better: Work Smarter, Think Bigger, Make More (Wiley, 2012).

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