101 things you can do (or stop doing) to give yourself more time [part two]

by Terry Monaghan on July 4, 2012

Are you still feeling overwhelmed?

Are you ready for a breakthrough in productivity?

Still wondering how to get things done?

Did you like the first 25 time saving tips? Well, hang on to your hat – here are the next 25 …

  1. Open snail mail once a week
  2. Put junk mail into recycling immediately
  3. Do your grocery shopping online
  4. Keep ONE calendar (you have ONE life)
  5. Keep a notebook handy for dumping your mind
  6. Keep a notebook handy for notes during the day
  7. Remember to schedule preparation time for meetings or conferences
  8. Remember to schedule debrief time for meetings or conferences
  9. Regularly give yourself time to think
  10. Delegate as much as you can
  11. Getting from place to place takes time, plan for it
  12. Use an e-reader – you can read while you are waiting for something else
  13. Plan your meals
  14. Do all (or most) of your meal prep and cooking once a week
  15. Do regular computer backups
  16. Have a clear process for handling your email
  17. Debrief your day
  18. Don’t let other people’s emergencies distract you
  19. Take care of yourself first
  20. Review the next day’s agenda at the end of the day
  21. Keep your keys / glasses / sunglasses / purse / briefcase in one consistent place
  22. Get very clear about your strategy – what is the point of what you are doing?
  23. Set up your work space to work!
  24. Build your life support team
  25. Be sure to set aside time for your family

I’d love to hear what YOUR best tips are!

(c) Terry Monaghan, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at www.TimeTriage.com.

101 things you can do (or stop doing) to give yourself more time [part one]

by Terry Monaghan on June 27, 2012

There is a lot of talk about work-life balance. How do we get the best performance and productivity out of ourselves and our teams?

Many of us are looking for those magic pills – that one perfect idea that will instantly transform our lives. Well, good luck with that.

While you are looking, here is the beginning of my list of 101 things you can do (or stop doing) to give yourself more time!

And who doesn’t want more time? After all – if you can free up even a little bit of your precious time, you might be able to use that time for something really important (to you). Here goes…

  1. Deal with your email in batches, 2-3 times a day
  2. Create a template for your week – what would a perfect week look like?
  3. Give up multi-tasking – really – it doesn’t work OR save time
  4. Schedule focused blocks of time for different activities (even just 15 minutes will make a difference)
  5. Schedule regular time to goof off, rest, relax
  6. Focus on what you do brilliantly – spend most of your time on that
  7. Find out what you can automate – and automate it
  8. Schedule all regular medical appointments at once (for the whole year)
  9. Schedule all personal care appointments at once (for the whole year) – hair, nails, massages, facials – why not make a day of it?
  10. Make a map of your whole year (once a year) – it gives a very different perspective
  11. Stop doing everyone else’s job
  12. Don’t have your email push through to your smart phone (pull it in when you want to deal with it)
  13. Turn off all noise makers and pop up alerts for email
  14. Turn off the phone when you need to concentrate
  15. Determine your work hours, and stick to them
  16. Plan your work, then work your plan
  17. Manage your interruptions, as much as possible (which is more than you think)
  18. Focus on what is important
  19. Respond, instead of reacting
  20. Don’t set alerts for everything
  21. Take regular breaks – at least one every 90 minutes or so
  22. Schedule at least one full day off every week
  23. Take your vacation
  24. Set up email rules to automatically sort incoming mail
  25. Unsubscribe from newsletters you no longer read

More in the next post…

Now, what are your favorites?

(c) Terry Monaghan, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at www.TimeTriage.com.

Has your exercise equipment ever attacked you?

Lessons From A Bruised Foot

Have you ever been attacked by a piece of exercise equipment? Or is that just me?

I was setting up one of the only pieces of equipment I own (something like a dancer’s barre), when the legs dropped quicker than I anticipated and a cross brace came down HARD on the top of my foot!

It was a heavy cross brace, and it really hurt! My foot immediately began swelling – so I hobbled in to the kitchen to get ice.

While sitting there with the ice pack on my foot I began wondering what could this teach me? I have had a few days to be off my feet and think, and I have come up with the following lessons:

Pay attention to what you are doing

I know, this is a real DUH! But, I let my attention wander for a moment and got thumped immediately. How often do we con ourselves – thinking we can successfully multi-task, not noticing what is about to drop on our foot?

Sometimes low tech is the best tech

Did I really need to set up that equipment? What’s wrong with swimming or walking – where they only equipment required is my own body? How often are we wasting precious time fiddling with some piece of equipment that isn’t working properly (but isn’t really necessary to getting the job done)?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

After Googling “how to tell if you broke your foot” and reading some great info by WebMD, I decided to take myself to the emergency room for an x-ray. I asked a neighbor if she would give me a lift. She not only did that, she brought a book and read while I was being taken care of, so that I would also be able to get back home easily.

How much time do you think you waste trying to do something on your own, rather than asking for help?

Make the most of every circumstance

I had already scheduled a fair bit of focused time this week, for thinking, writing, designing. So, having to be off my feet for a few days wasn’t a huge inconvenience. Rather than moan about what I am not getting done, I have propped up my foot, and accomplished more reading, studying, planning and writing than I had originally intended.

Instead of looking at what I was not going to be able to do, I focused on what I could get done. The result? See above! Plus, a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. I am ahead of schedule on some writing projects and workshop projects.

Now, what lessons might you be missing?

(c) Terry Monaghan, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at www.TimeTriage.com.

3 things you can do to get (back) on track…

Have you ever set a goal, developed your plan, worked towards the goal and still found yourself way off course?

Yes, me too.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could just stay on plan, stay on course, and follow a very straight line from point A to point B?

There is a poster on my wall as I write this that has five different routes we each take to get where we are going:

  • two steps forward, one step back
  • stop, start, go, wait – now what?
  • the long (complicated, confusing) and winding road
  • the tornado with a life all its own
  • smooth sailing

We all hope for smooth sailing, but how often does that happen, really?

Isn’t it more like a dance with each of the steps playing their part?

So, what can we do when we are off course?

Step 1: Remember there is nothing wrong with being off course. Staying off course is another matter, but being off course is part of the journey. Since I have done a bit of flying recently, I was reminded that the plane is off course for much of the trip, but the autopilot is continually correcting and adjusting so that we land where we were supposed to. So, give yourself a break when you find yourself off course. Stop for a moment, get your bearings, and proceed.

Step 2: Keep your eyes on the goal! You always go in the direction you are focusing on. Are you focusing on your goal? Or, are you focusing on the obstacles? Your choice, of course, but which one will get you where you want to go?

Step 3: Don’t give up. Can you imagine where we would be if we gave up at the first sign (or the second or third) of adversity? We would have never learned to walk, and would be creeping around on our bellies. Heaven knows where we would be living – explorers would have not gone out exploring. We have all heard tales of those who gave up inches away from ultimate success – and I don’t know about you, but that isn’t the way I am going to be playing.

Because, really, don’t you want to get to those goals?

(c) Terry Monaghan, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:
Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at www.TimeTriage.com.

Is your schedule working against you?

How many of you are working from a schedule? Some kind of schedule?

There are many different ways to approach your schedule.

Some of you, I am sure, would rather be very spontaneous. So, your schedule is most likely kept fairly open, with just critical, time based items listed (doctors appointments, birthdays, events).

Others of you have the kind of work where virtually every minute of your day is tightly planned and scheduled. If you lost your calendar (paper, electronic) you would probably panic!

And still others will batch their work (or whole days). For example: Monday is admin day – a day for phone calls, paperwork, planning. Tuesday is for clients. Wednesday is for writing. Thursday is for clients again. Friday is planning, wrapping up, and sometimes special clients.

Whichever way you approach your schedule – is it working for you? Or is it working against you? And how could you tell?

Your schedule is working for you if you move through your days with ease and a sense of flow. There’s a rhythm and you move easily in and out of the different activities.

Your schedule is working against you when you find yourself frantically spinning your wheels, when it feels like you are running as fast as you can and getting nowhere even faster!

There is a rhythm to everything – in nature it’s seasons, the ebb and flow of the tides. Your work and life has an ebb and flow to it as well. Give yourself a little time to discover what it is, and build your schedule around it. Let yourself dance with your life’s rhythm, whether it is hip hop, disco, or ballroom.

Now, what is your life’s rhythm?

(c) Terry Monaghan, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at www.TimeTriage.com.

5 Reasons to Work Less (and Get More Done)

Why is it we think the solution to getting something done is to throw more time at it? You know what I mean. Just 5 more minutes. If I just keep pressing through I will actually get it done.

Five more minutes turns into 2 hours, and we are no closer to finishing than we were before. Then, of course, we usually think there is something wrong with us. What’s wrong with us that we can’t get through this? And we can’t even think straight we are so tired!

I have had this conversation with every single client this week. Every. Single. One. Which leads me to believe that there is an epidemic of busy-ness going on. Frankly, I’d rather see BUSINESS happening.

So here goes. Since you seem to need someone to give you permission, here are 5 reasons to work less:

You are not a machine

Machines are designed (if they are well designed) to work continuously once they are turned on, until they are turned off. Humans are not designed that way! We work best when we work in pulses – periods of focus and concentration, followed by periods of rest and renewal. Even the best of us – those at the top of their game – can only work at peak intensity for about 90 minutes before needing a break. Plan out your day to include brief breaks at least every 90 minutes.

You get your best ideas when you are relaxed

It is only when you stop concentrating / focusing intently that your brain begins to make all kinds of connections. Those connections are what produce those lovely sparks of insight. That’s why so many of us get genius ideas in the shower, or while taking a walk, or doing something other than sitting at our desk trying to force the idea!

You can focus on your unique area of genius

When you stop trying to do everything (and everyone else’s job) you can focus on what you do best. That is also usually what gives you the most satisfaction, and what produces the most significant results for your business. Imagine: how much extra time you could have if you only focused on your job?

You will be more productive

When you allow yourself to focus on just one thing at a time, for a short period of time, you will get more done. Multi-tasking only gives the illusion that you are getting more done. Study after study has demonstrated that it actually takes longer to finish tasks when you are multi-tasking than if you just did one thing and then the other.

You will make more money

For most of us, being more productive will mean more revenue for our business and more money for us. Who doesn’t like that idea?

Now, when are you taking your first little break?

(c) Terry Monaghan, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:
Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at www.TimeTriage.com.

Getting out of a slump

Have you ever found yourself in a bit of a slump? You know, you are taking the actions but getting no result? What was working last month isn’t working this month? And sometimes it just feels like you are going through the motions? You are tired, maybe even a little dis-spirited, and cleaning the floors looks like a really good idea…

I find myself looking out the window a lot on those days, daydreaming, and have to make a conscious effort to pull my mind, body, and spirit back to the task at hand.

Am I the only one? Have you been there, too?

I know that my ‘slump’ is related to bringing something new into existence. It is much harder to get something started than to keep it going once it has gained some momentum. I have heard it said that a plane uses up 60% of its fuel just getting off the ground.

Maybe that’s why it feels like this… So, what to do?

Here are some of techniques I use to get myself back to feeling (and being) productive:

  • Take a short break. Use the break to review the overall strategy and plan. What’s the bigger picture? Sometimes just getting a different perspective is all that you need to refill your energy stores.
  • Do something else for a while. Set an alarm and tackle a bunch of other tasks on your schedule for a little while. You can often break the mental pattern by motoring through a bunch of small, very achievable tasks. Take on something you KNOW you can get done in the next 30 minutes or so. You will get a burst of energy when it is done.
  • Brainstorm with a buddy or mentor. Talking it through with another person is often a great idea! Especially when your mind is going in circles.

I promise you, your energy will return, your enthusiasm for what you are working on will come back, and you will move forward.

As long as you keep going, you will get there!

The only way to lose ultimately, is to quit. And you aren’t a quitter.

Now, go outside and take a little walk. Enjoy the day. Remind yourself that life is really bigger than this little hiccup.

Because, really, It is about having a life, after all!

(c) 2012, Terry Monaghan

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:
Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at www.TimeTriage.com.

6 reasons your email is driving you crazy…

Why is email so crazy? And what can we do?
Have you ever wondered why it feels like email is running your life, interrupting everything you do, and ruining your day?

Well, here are six reasons your email is driving you crazy:

  • You deal with people who think email is the same as instant messaging. You know the type – they send an email, and then send four additional emails in a hour wondering why you haven’t responded to the first one.
  • You deal with people who don’t know the difference between hitting reply and hitting reply all. So you get everyone’s responses to someone else’s question.
  • You have your computer or phone set to allow email to push through to you on a regular basis. So you are interrupted by every popup, beep, buzz signaling an incoming message.
  • You have 15,000 emails in your inbox and 5000 are marked unread. And you really think you are going to do something with them!
  • You subscribe to various newsletters or industry reports, which you really want to read, but you don’t have a sorting rule to divert them into their own folder. So, they are cluttering up your inbox, mixed in with action items and all the other messages.
  • You are unwilling to delete messages once you are done with them, because you might need to refer back to them later.

All of this adds up to an overwhelming amount of email – 80% of which is not important to your daily work (really). I read recently that the average business person is receiving the equivalent of a 250 page book in email every single day. Yikes!

But it is not hopeless. This is something you actually can control!

All you need is a simple process for your email, and then, of course – you need to follow it…

(c) 2011, Terry Monaghan

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:
Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at www.TimeTriage.com.

Getting (and staying) motivated…

Staying Motivated

A while ago, I was on the phone with a client. Now, here’s what her life was like right then: It was school vacation, so kids were home and running wild (not really, but it felt that way occasionally). Business was slow because everyone was on holiday. Then there was a trip to the emergency room (not her), a hospital stay, a bunch of tests, followed by emergency surgery.

Can you imagine – she was ready to throw in the towel and ask for a do-over.

We’ve all been there, haven’t we?

As we were talking, she asked me “how do you stay motivated?”

Isn’t that a great question! How DO you stay motivated? Especially when you are in the middle of the cyclone of life?

I told her my secrets to staying motivated (and they aren’t really secrets):

Remember why you are doing what you are doing. When you lose sight of the purpose of your activity it becomes just one more thing on the never ending list of things you have to do.

Take a break. Walk away from what you are doing for a little while. Get some tea, listen to some music, make a call to a friend, find something to make you laugh. The little break will give you more energy to return to your task.

Sometimes you just have to eat the frog. Sometimes you just cannot get motivated at all – in fact you might even be actively avoiding the tasks. The best thing then is to just grit your teeth, and tackle the largest or scariest task facing you. Getting it done will usually restore your motivation.

These are just some of the methods I use (sometimes on a daily or hourly basis) to keep myself moving forward.

What’s your favorite one? Use it!

(c) 2011, Terry Monaghan

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:
Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at www.TimeTriage.com.

Where will you carve out time?

It stands to reason that if you want different results, you may have to do some things differently. Many of us find that to be an intimidating idea – because we think we may have to change everything – and that is just an overwhelming thought.

But, what if you only changed one thing? What if the one thing you added was one block of time each week devoted to one of your goals? Notice – I did not say one block of time each day – I really mean one block of time each week! And it doesn’t have to be a large block of time.

What if you set aside one hour each week to work specifically on one of your goals. Yes, only one hour! Do you have any idea what you could accomplish if you devoted one hour to it each and every week? Well – if you devoted one hour each week to reading for example, you would have read more than 10 books by the end of the year. Which, by the way, is way more than most people will do!

What if you set aside that one hour each week to make calls to your clients, prospects and contacts? I am not talking about having long conversations – just a quick touching base type of call. You could easily reach 30 people during that one hour (and leaving a message counts as reaching them). What do you think you might be able to create if you knew that you would reach out to 1500 people over the course of the year?

Not bad for one hour!

Where will you carve out the time?

Because, really, without a life, what’s the point?

(c) 2010, Terry Monaghan

Want to use this article in your ezine or website?
You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:
Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, a free weekly ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at www.TimeTriage.com.