I have been working in and around large and small businesses for over 30 years. Some things never change. One of the things I hear most from business people is about Time: “just don’t know where the time went”; “trying to balance my time between work and family and play”; “not enough time in the day to get everything done”; “too many interruptions”; people coming to me with “got a minute?” Sound familiar - of course they do.
We all are the same in that we only have 168 hours per week. It is up to us to figure out where and how we want to spend this limited resource. Others do not make that choice for us unless we grant it to them.
Operating mostly in reactive mode is not good. You need a simple process to guide you when you are making your choices. I try to talk with smart people about what works for them. I have found that the answer is usually a compilation of the best parts of several methods. These are then tailored to fit the individual’s situation.
I cannot possibly summarize all the various versions I have been exposed to. I can give a summary of a method I use to not waste one of my most important assets - my time. I plan my week on Sunday afternoon. I list all the things I want and need to get done or started on this coming week. I prioritize them and place them on the “Covey” grid. The 2x2 grid with Not Urgent and Urgent up the X-axis and Important and Not Important across the Y-axis. I look at what I can eliminate or delegate. I then look at the results and place them specifically on my calendar around my fixed appointments. I never pack my day back to back. I leave room for the “stuff” that happens that only I can take care of. I heard somewhere that “Plans are worthless. Planning is everything”. You want to focus on the vision of your future and how these activities are going to get you closer to that vision – both personally and professionally. Try to focus on what only you can do. Off load the rest. Learn to say “no”. “Don’t waste time, for time is what life is made of” Bruce Lee. If you want to get really good at managing your time talk to someone who has learned what it looks like to have truly productive days.
Author: Sam Adkins
If you are a person who tends to walk around feeling stressed-out over all the things you have going on, there are some steps you can take to bring back some peace.
First, stop carrying everything around in your head. Each morning start by putting all the things you are thinking about on paper, or down electronically. Do a brain clearing to get all your to do’s, ideas, worries and anything else you have been carrying out of your brain. Take the stress you’ve been feeling and give your brain a rest! The more you hold on to the greater the stress you will feel. Once on paper, put everything into categories and most importantly prioritize those things. The most important should get done while the least important may never get done because we have a limited amount of time and energy.
During the day as you are focused on a project and something pops in your head, jot it down to get to later. Keep the focus on what you are doing and complete your task. Every time you stop to do “a quick action” you lose valuable time when you go to refocus that adds up to hours lost by the end of the day.
Second, don’t let procrastinating allow tasks to go undone. It’s easy to think you can get to it later. Your brain doesn’t always get the message and deep down that job is bubbling under the surface causing stress that just won’t go away until the project is completed. Schedule that project and if it really is important make it a priority. Next, look at what it is about the project that makes you want to put it off. What emotions are you feeling as you think about the job? Fear is a huge reason for not wanting to do something. Facing the real reason for holding back on diving in can take some of its negative power away. Breaking down a large project into smaller parts can make all the difference in reducing the emotion surrounding it.
Third, remember this is your life. If you are taking on too much it may be time to let somethings go or push to a time that is more appropriate. That isn’t procrastinating when you know there is a better way to set up your life. I have a saying I put on the front of my computer, “live it so you love it”. If life isn’t fun and exciting for me, I’m going to make a change. This is the only life I get, I am determined to love it! Look at the way you are living your life, are you getting joy out of what you do? If not, take a second look:
Sometimes attitude makes all the difference.
Life really is just too short to live it feeling stressed all the time. Take simple actions first then move to bigger steps if those don’t work. You are the one steering your own ship, make it a beautiful peaceful sail with excitement as the swells come and go. Just don’t take on water and keep it there, or it won’t sail to your favorite destinations nearly as well.
Author: Kathleen Dorson
Think about the first five things you did this morning. You didn’t have to think about them very much did you? That’s because they are habits. Those things that seem to happen almost automatically and we don’t have to try very hard to do them. Sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes it’s bad.
Here’s how it happens. When you do something new there’s a lot of brain activity and you are very aware of your actions. But, deep in the center of the brain in the basal ganglia the pattern is being laid down and recorded. It’s making your life easier. Soon you won’t have to think much about what you are doing because it will become a habit. So for example as you drive to work you aren’t thinking about how to drive or what roads to take, you are thinking about what you are going to do that day, or what your kids have been up to lately. Your brain is freed up from routine activities to think about other more important things. We would be prisoners to every action we take without it.
It is our greatest friend or our toughest foe.
So how do you become the master of your habits? You want to either create new “good” ones or change the “bad” ones to “good” ones. You must first understand the parts of a habit and then decide what you want to do with them.
First, we should understand there is a reward with every habit. What are you getting for doing the things you do? Do you exercise regularly to enjoy slim health or eat a bowl of ice cream every night for the enjoyment? When your habit first started you made a decision to do the action and then over time it just got easier and now you feel a kind of compulsion to do it. The reward you were looking for got you started, a repeated action takes place, and then becomes a habit, and to start the whole thing there is a trigger that tells your brain it’s time to activate the habit.
The Trigger: the thing that brings on the action. For exercise it may be the time of day you always do it. It could be you getting up in the morning, putting on your exercise clothes and start your activity. For ice cream it could be sitting down to your favorite show on TV. You started eating ice cream a few times and now you find yourself being pulled to the freezer with a rope of steel that you can’t seem to break. It’s powerful stuff.
The Action: a bad habit starts innocently enough. “I’ll just do this once and enjoy the indulgence. That was pretty good, I’ll do that again just one more time, and before you know it you are off to a new habit that is almost impossible to break.” A good habit is always tougher to create. One way to know it is good for you is that it doesn’t come easy. We only grow when we push onward and upward. The easy has always been what our brain likes to do, those things that doesn’t make us work hard. We have to make a plan to do those things that are good for us and make us grow. Then, after a while, you are rewarded with it becoming easy to do. Like second nature after a while, but the beginning is hard and you have to believe in the process to just keep going.
The Reward: the thing you do that brings about the planned and unplanned reward. We always get something out of what we do. Like being slim or tasting sugary sweetness. But the unplanned rewards are where the “good” and “bad” comes from. With exercise we become more self-confident and feel empowered. With ice cream we tend to gain fat and feel worse about ourselves. Be in control of the actions and thus the rewards.
So now let’s change a bad habit. Why not, you know why you have a habit and what the parts are that make it a habit. You have everything you need to change a “bad” habit to a good one. Start with your reward, what do you get out of the habit? Think about what you really get, it could be something that you don’t realize at first. Does drinking alcohol reward you in the way you feel or the social connections that come with it? Now consider what the action is. Is the action the only way to get the reward or is it time to upgrade the reward to what you really want? Once those decisions have been made consider what your trigger is. What happens that makes the need to do the habit kick in. You don’t want to do your habit all day long so what is it that has to happen to trigger the habit? A sight, a person, a time of day, a feeling all can be a trigger. Discover yours and take a different action, and either get the reward that goes with it or a new improved reward. You get to choose, you are in control!
How about a new positive habit? Fresh ground to work with. What is the reward you want? What is the action you need to make? What is the trigger that will ignite the action to happen? It’ll be hard for a short time and then your “friend” deep in your brain will take over the heavy lifting and you are on your way to the reward you are looking for.
Here’s an example of a habit revamp: Let’s say in your business, you’re having trouble getting through your day without it running away with you. Everyone else’s demands seem to come before the projects you want to complete. So let’s look at the reward. You want to get to the end of your day having accomplished those things that will move your business forward in a powerful way. To accomplish that you should create a plan where time is set aside for working on your business. Create a plan that puts your priorities first. Know what jobs other people should be doing instead of you. Know when to say NO to someone’s demands and priorities. Keep certain times of your day untouchable for you to do your work.
What is your trigger for this kind of planning and organization? It could be a time of day, part of your shut down ritual, after a cup of coffee in the morning, you decide. Plan the trigger and make it happen.
Once you have a plan make sure you follow it. It has to be flexible, because no one has a day that runs like it is planned. But you can find blocks of time that are sacred for you.
Creating new habits can become a habit. It’s hard to make the change at first but becomes easier with practice and routine. You are the master of your own destiny. Let habits be a powerful ally.
Win Win and friends went out to help clean up our Adopt A Highway on 4/30/16. We had a blast hanging out and restoring Arizona's natural beauty. We will be going again this October and we hope to see even more of you next time!
The right amount of sleep makes the difference in our health, our mental clarity and what we are able to accomplish in our day. This is vital as the rainmakers for our businesses.
The most important time for us to sleep is called “the golden four”, the hours between 10:00 pm and 2:00 am. These hours are the most important to get sound sleep in order to produce growth hormones. We cannot trick our bodies; our circadian rhythm naturally follows the cycle of sunrise and sunset. We cannot go to sleep late and wake up late and get the same results of health and rejuvenation.
During these four hours of sleep, our body produces the most growth hormones and uses them for growth and repair. These growth hormones help improve mood and memory, regenerate heart tissue, improve muscle mass and reduce fat (yes, you can sleep it off). Skin and hair growth improves and vision is sharpened, cholesterol levels improve and bone density improves. Overall cell regeneration improves, which affects the immune system. Without this process of regeneration, the aging process accelerates. Young children need these hours of sleep for their growth. For adults it can decrease the risk of degenerative disease.
Have you ever fallen asleep in front of the TV, then wakeup to go to bed? You lie there wide-awake after your short nap and it takes hours to get back to sleep. This is the worst pattern I can think of for sleep. Giving sleep the respect it needs makes a huge difference in the energy you will have the next day and the kind of results you get in your business and personal life.
What we can do to improve our sleep:
Do not eat for 2-3 hours before bed
Turn off all electronics 60 minutes before you want to be asleep
Spend time in bed reading to help keep your mind from thinking about your to do list or the day's events
Choose a time to go to sleep that
you optimum hours for your best energy levels
Do not have any source of light in the bedroom, clocks included
Enjoy your sleep and all it does for you!
Author: Kathleen Dorson
When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. -Marcus Aurelius