Time Management? The funny thing is, it is not really managing time is it? It’s managing yourself within the constraints of the time available. As they say: “Time and tide wait for no man”
Managing yourself within the time available to you is critical to the achievement of any of your goals. Actually, if you can't master yourself here,
Sometimes there can be a mindset of "Well I've set my goal so now all I have to do is wait for it to happen." And yes, setting the goal is vital, and to guarantee its achievement you need to do stuff (technical term :)). To know what to do and when planning is the difference that makes the difference.
What are your tips for planning the steps of your goal?
When you feel angry or frustrated at work, home or even socially being able to manage your emotion in a way that allows you to communicate effectively and create the outcome you desire is a useful skill. Have a look at the video for a few tips.
If you find yourself getting distracted and losing focus it is probably happening without you knowing how it is happening. If you don't know the process, it is challenging to do anything about it. Discover how you do it.
If you find yourself getting distracted and losing focus take the time to write down what you are thinking that takes you away from the moment (the now). The process of doing this helps you step outside yourself and observe what is really going on. It may be a worry, stress, fear or the situation.
Whatever is disrupting your thoughts or actions needs to be written down because when you write it down, it requires that you label it, by labelling it you make it more specific which can reduce the distracting thoughts power to return again and again. You can then work out how to deal with them so that those thoughts no longer affect you.
Three suggestions for you to experiment with:
Now you may be thinking to yourself that this process just magnifies the problem, but if you do nothing, nothing will shift and you will continue as before. So go on, give it a go.
If you want to create the habit of eating mindfully, it is first useful to recognise the benefits of habits. Habits are fantastic. Your habits require very little energy. They increase your efficiency leaving space in your brain for the parts of your day that require you engage your brain and think carefully and purposefully. A habit is something that you do automatically a bit like the Nike slogan you “Just do it”.
So just think for a moment; it is the morning and you leave the house, jump into your car and drive away without thinking. Instead you think about your day ahead, you do a bit of planning and maybe even plan the dinner. How much are you thinking about changing gears, indicating or anything else. Do you need to think about driving? No! Now say it with me - you just do it.
As you can guess, creating the habit of mindfulness requires practice - just like you did when you learned to drive a car - so you get into the ‘just do it’ habit of it.
Now you may be thinking to yourself; sure, but how can you remember to practice in your already hectic life. Well one method is to choose to eat mindfully. The reason this is so useful is because it is something you do every day, more than once a day and so you get multiple opportunities to practice. Even if you don’t remember every time in the beginning, you can always decide to let that go and decide you’ll eat mindfully the next time.
Each time you go to eat, take a breath in and let it all the way out. Now stop, look at your food, its colour, shape, arrangement and all the little details that you normally overlook. Now breathe in the aroma and become aware there is more than one and they are complex. Be like a wine connoisseur identifying as many different scents as you can and describe them to yourself.
Now you are ready to take your first bite, notice the texture and the different areas of your mouth where the flavours develop. Take your time chewing slowly while you eat, become aware how you move the food in you mouth with your tongue and the resistance between your teeth. You will discover you enjoy your food more. You’ll experience the full taste of what you are eating. This also helps you eat less because your brain will have the opportunity to register when you are full.
Eating mindfully give you a little oasis of calm two or three times a day. It helps you slow down and gives your body the chance to relax before the next thing and as you know well there is always a next thing.
Are you ready to experiment with eating mindfully? Let me know how you get on.
Some people assume mindfulness is something you do away from work, in your spare time. But have you ever considered what working mindfully could do for your working day? Working mindfully means paying full attention to the task at hand, whether it is writing an email, attending a meeting, strategy planning or any one of the other myriad tasks that comprise your working day.
Multi-tasking is a fallacy:
What is multi-tasking? It is jumping from this to that without really paying attention to any of those shiny attractive tasks. It is a huge time waster because each time you switch tasks your brain has a lot to do to re-orient itself, it requires effort, you may not be aware of it, but it drains your mental energy ultimately reducing your productivity.
So instead of trying to do more than one thing at a time in order to feel productive, focus purely on one task. This not only helps increase productivity but it also ensures that you are focused on what you are doing at that moment. You’ll be able to apply all your senses to what you are doing, heightening the experience and putting yourself in the moment. You may find it useful to set a time limit for each task allowing you to move on. Something to experiment with?
Give yourself a break:
Spend at least 5 minutes every day doing absolutely nothing. This will help you clear your mind and relax. You can do this anywhere. Simply stop doing whatever you are involved in and do nothing. Clear your mind and focus on what is happening at that moment. Use all of your senses to experience it:
You might even find it beneficial to take a 1 or 2 minute break between tasks to really let go the last task and bring your whole self and focus to the next one. Why not give it a go?
If you would like to know more you might find this book of value:
Mindfulness at Work: How to Avoid Stress, Achieve More and Enjoy Life!
Or this TedTalk may give you some ideas for your work.
How do you plan to work mindfully? Let me know in the comments.
Mindfulness is a useful tool for reducing levels of stress and anxiety. By reducing levels of stress and anxiety you can help yourself create a more fulfilling life. While sitting meditation forms a significant part of it there are other things you can do to develop the skill of mindfulness and harness its power in your everyday life.
If you ant to discover more about mindfulness you might find this a useful book to read:
Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World
I’m going to let you in a little secret. It’s the secret to succeeding in just about anything and it’s quite simple. It’s almost impossible to fail at any task you set yourself, if you don’t give up until you finish. Persistence and perseverance are the paths to success in any area of your life. The hard part is getting into the habit of doing it regularly instead of giving up or getting distracted.
Here’s how you can teach yourself to be more persistent and persevere in anything you put your mind to. Start with a goal or dream. You have to know what you’re aiming for before you can get started. Once you have your desired end result firmly in mind, write it down. Next, figure out a deadline. When do you want to reach your goal? With that done, you’re halfway there.
It’s hard to be persistent when you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. If on the other hand, you know exactly what your next step is, it’s much easier to sit down and get it done. This is where a plan will come in handy. Look at your goal and map out how you will get from where you’re at right now to where you want to go. What you end up with is a list of tasks to work through. After that, it’s simply a matter of chipping away at them one task at a time. No matter how small or ambitious your goal, this simple step-by-step approach will make it easier to get there.
This really is the secret to persisting and persevering in anything. When you have your plan in hand, it will be easy to keep going. Simply don’t give yourself the option to give up until you reach your goal and you’re there. Start with something small and give this approach a try. It may be a little tough at first if you’re not very good at seeing things through right now. The good news is that it becomes easier and more natural with practice. A little effort now to develop these habits of persistence and perseverance will make it much easier going forward to do anything you put your mind to. If you ask me, those are habits well worth developing.
Start small, even if you decide to do just a part of a task it means you are working towards your result. Don’t allow yourself to give up on everyday tasks. With that practice under your belt put your eye on bigger tasks and plans. Before you know it you’ll be ready to tackle even the biggest and most involved projects and find yourself turning into the tenacious, productive person you’ve always wanted to be.
Go out there and get stuff done!
get a journal to support you
Repetition is a powerful tool that helps you learn and master skills. Just look at our rugby team. You can't turn on the radio or open a paper, digital or otherwise without reading about the possibility of our team (Ireland) winning the Triple Crown, the Grand Slam and we already have the Six Nations. Isn't it just fantastic? Fingers crossed and everything else as well.
But how many of us mere mortals consider the hours, days, weeks and years of repetitive practice drills that have gone into building our players to reach this level. We just see the team out there performing. What we don't see is the commitment of our lads going out on the pitch, hail, rain or shine (believe it or not, they are humans too) and no doubt some days they would just rather take the easy way out and say to themselves "Ah sure, I'll just dodge practice today, one day won't make any difference". But they know it would make a difference. It could make the difference between losing or winning. Just one little thing, can make all the difference. Like Sexton's kick against France. Can you imagine how many kicks he has taken in his life ( I know I can't) until it has become second nature and he goes into the zone automatically?
Now we all know that no one is perfect and sure sometimes there can be a misfire. But that's not important, what is important is to let that go, put it aside and get back into the zone, the zone of confidence in your ability, so the next time you are up for it.
Now you might be thinking to yourself all this talk about rugby leaves me cold and that's okay too. But just think about it, professional sports people are in the top percentile of their chosen skill. So there is a lot to learn from them.
As you think now of something you want to master, whether it is delegating, presenting, leading your team, communicating with colleagues, friends or family, managing your healthy weight and exercise or even learning to knit. What small tasks or drills can you set yourself to practice in both your mind's eye and in 'real' life.
Let's clarify; the goal of the repetition is when you are presented with a similar situation you automatically perform the new skill without even thinking. This is mastery.
Come on Ireland!
Oh! And Happy St Patrick's Day.
You want to improve your performance at work but you start noticing your energy or motivation is slipping and its getting in the way of your high performance. When you drive your car there is a fuel gauge that lets you know how much fuel you have left in the tank. How about you, what lets you know it is time to stop?
Julie Silfverberg has worked in the field of personal and professional development for more than 20 years. She works with a diverse and exciting group of people. Each with their own unique talents and potential.