Time Management Resources and Blogs
Get a Grip on Your Time!
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Oh, 2020. You were already shaping up to be a contentious and difficult year, and then you had to throw a global pandemic at us.
Are You Prepared to Be Lucky? Is there a career-opening, life-changing moment ahead for you? One of the wonderful things about believing in luck is knowing that a big, lucky, Rosario-Dawson-on-her-front-stoop moment could happen to you at any time, with no advance warning.
Do you have a big, great idea? Have you dreamed up an invention that will revolutionize modern life? Converting big ideas into reality is something that takes time, work and planning. March is as good a time as any to let yourself daydream about the ideas you’d like to turn into reality.
You’re smart. You have free will. You make a thousand little good decisions for yourself every day. You’re pretty savvy, too. You can probably tell the difference between legitimate emails and phishing scams. If you’re struggling to break through the feeling of being stuck, it’s a sign that something is in your way.
Do you do anything in the morning to set your intentions for the day? Setting intentions is often part of meditation and yoga practices – but even if you start your mornings with chaos rather than calm, maybe you do some version of this.
Do you like to pick up mementos and gifts while you’re traveling? Maybe you collect a few small things along the way, thinking “I’ll find space for this later” and blissfully ignore the fact that your suitcase is already full.
The beginning of the New Year this January might be a letdown after the festivities of the holiday season, but you’ve got to say this for it: At least you can find some bargains. Gyms offer major perks to entice new members. Big-box stores slash prices on things like workout clothes, kitchen appliances and vacuum cleaners, appealing to those shoppers who have vowed to do more exercising, home cooking and cleaning.
When you read this, you may already have one foot out the door on work. Now that we’re entering the holiday homestretch, many people are slowing down on productivity and ramping up their cookie consumption. I hope your time management system has given you some time and space that you can use to enjoy the holidays in whatever way you wish.
Do you remember when all anyone could talk about was “Avatar”? It was a monstrous hit, and even if you didn’t see it in theaters yourself, there’s a good chance you remember the way that excitement about the movie swept through the country. The year was 2009, and while it might seem like just yesterday, a full decade has passed since then.
Patience may be a virtue, but you don’t have to like it. Just ask any toddler – waiting for things you want is hard. When you’ve ordered something you’re excited about getting, even two-day shipping seems unreasonably slow. Instant gratification is one of the things we love most about our smart phones and their apps, isn’t it?
As a kid, the idea of a monster lurking in your closet might have been a top fear. As an adult, you’re probably less afraid of imaginary beasts and more afraid of, you know, the IRS. Or accidentally sending a text that’s meant for your spouse to a client. Or maybe, if you’re a parent, you live in fear of one of life’s scariest experiences: Realizing that Halloween is almost here and you haven’t yet figured out how to construct the elaborate robot costume your child is begging for.
Have you seen “It’s a Wonderful Life”? (No, I’m not trying to jumpstart the holiday season in October; let’s leave that to the stores that are already selling candy canes and twinkle lights.) If you haven’t seen it – well, rectify that this year, but I’ll give you a brief overview.
Where are you right now? That’s not a trick question. I’m not asking you to analyze your journey through the world; I’m talking about your physical location right now, as you read these words.
Remember the agony of picking out the perfect outfit for the first day of school? Okay, you might not…
Will you try a simple word association game with me? (I’m going to pretend you’re nodding yes right now.) I suspect that your gut reaction to this one particular word says a lot about you and your priorities. So here’s my question: What do you think of when I say the word September?
As kids around the country head back to school, it’s prime friend-making season. Some lucky kindergartners are meeting classmates who will be lifelong pals, awkward middle-schoolers are finding each other, and college kids are… well, they’re meeting people in all sorts of ways.
Summer backslide…have you heard of it? I don’t care how well you did on your final exam in 7th grade math – the first weeks of 8th grade math were probably a confusing slog. Most students forget some of what they learned the previous year during summer vacation. It’s called summer learning loss, or the summer backslide, and if your time management game isn’t on point, it might be about to happen to you.
If you could travel back in time to one specific summer, which one would you choose? The one you spent at sleep-away camp? The first one you spent with the love of your life? The first time you go to take your own kids to the beach, or to Disney World?
The halfway point. How you feel about reaching it depends on how you feel about what you’re doing. Crossing the 13.1-mile mark means you’ve finished half the marathon already! Day four of a weeklong dream vacation, on the other hand, feels perilously close to the end....
You might love what you do. (And I really hope you do!) You might feel inspired and challenged and motivated by your work. But no matter how much you love it, you probably wouldn’t say no to leaving early on a sunny summer Friday, or taking the whole day off.
Do you remember last summer?
I know – it was a three-month period that happened less than a year ago; of course you remember summer. But I’m talking about specifics. Do you remember how last summer felt? Was it an especially good one, or an especially hard one? Were you more relaxed than you were in the spring, or was it the most stressful season of your year? Was there one particularly magical week, or day, or even just one magical moment, that you thought about all winter?
The next time you’re nostalgic for simpler days, before you spent so much time thinking about your Wi-Fi connection, I challenge you to think about paper maps. Just folding those things was frustrating. Using them to navigate was a skill.
Which would you rather do: speak in front of 500 people, or find a snake in your bedroom? Sorry to put that visual in your head, but I have a point here. I suspect that would be a tough choice for a lot of people.
Have you ever driven a car across a bridge or along a cliff side road and been struck by a strange impulse to go over the edge? You don’t want to, of course, but you can’t stop thinking about how you could? Maybe you haven’t had that experience, but you’ve found yourself sitting in a quiet meeting thinking about what would happen if you suddenly started cursing at people or dancing on the table.
Did you get a chance to read my most recent blog? It was all about the time management strategies that some of the world’s billionaires share, and how many powerful people including Elon Musk and Alan Greenspan schedule their days so carefully that every minute is accounted for.
Sure, no one needs a billion dollars (although I wouldn’t say no to it 😉). It’s fun to think about what you would do with the bank account of Elon Musk or Bill Gates, isn’t it?
It’s a credo we’ve probably all heard before, one of those philosophies that sounds good on the surface but isn’t so easy to put into practice. If there was an obvious way to make work easier, wouldn’t you already be doing it? For people like me who are interested in time management, the quest to work more productively is ongoing.
From the time cavemen decided to hunt first and rest later, humans have been prioritizing.
Being able to prioritize confidently is a huge piece of the time management puzzle, and it’s time to master that skill.
When your focus is fading and your mind is wandering, which are you more likely to try: double down and try to concentrate harder, or go grab a snack? I know a lot of busy working professionals try to avoid the latter.
If that line of thinking sounds familiar to you, it’s time to rethink.