Planning: One Big, Powerful Secret for Finding the Time You Need!

Posted on May 8, 2014 by , under Time Choices, Time Management Skills.

Planning is ChoosingPlanning, or more specifically, time planning, is the kind of topic that you’ve probably read about on lots of time management blogs.

In fact, you may be tempted to stop reading because  (more…)

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Productivity Boosts: Try This Tip and Tool for Finding Time

Posted on March 24, 2014 by , under Time and Technology, Time Priorities.

Productivity Tip and ToolProductivity is on many people’s minds when Monday rolls around. How do you enter the new week?

Do you set aside time to review your plans and to-do lists?  Do you move ahead planfully to maximize your productivity – or do you jump right in and sort things out later? (more…)

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Resolutions or Plans: How Do You Frame Your Goals for 2013?

Posted on December 31, 2012 by , under Time Choices, Time Management Skills, Time Priorities.

resolutions or plansResolutions are on many people’s minds as 2012 winds down and a New Year gets underway.  But how do resolutions work for you?

For many – or maybe most – of us, resolutions boil down to what one person recently posted,  (more…)

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Find Time to Really Do Your To Do List -3 Powerful Time Tips

Posted on July 20, 2011 by , under Time Management Skills.

Finding time to complete the items on your to-do list is an ongoing challenge. Sometimes those lists become so challenging in and of themselves that we want to avoid them … and that’s not a good idea!

Have you run into problems with managing these lists for yourself? I have a friend who jots ideas and tasks on scraps of paper and sticky notes, putting them in her date book as the day goes on.  she captures a lot of material that way, but, as you can probably imagine, by the end of most days that date book looks like it’s filled with confetti! Sometimes the notes fall out, or get covered by other notes.

So, yes, it’s a challenge to keep up with it all.

That’s why I encourage any and everyone to take time — even just five minutes — at the beginning and end of the day, to plan, prioritize/consolidate, and review your list (or lists).

Each piece of this process is important, so let’s focus on each separately with these 3 Powerful Time Tips:

Finding time to plan is like scanning the landscape from up in the air. You need to get the lay of the land, note any barriers, and decide on your route. Really, what you’re determining is how you’re going to travel through your day.  This is the most important part of your process – without it you’ll be embarking on your journey without a compass– and I guarantee, you’re going to get lost!

When you’re navigating your day, it’s really important to know where you’re starting, where you want to end up, and the major intersections and turning points along the way.

Having a plan doesn’t mean that there won’t be a need to make changes as the day unfolds. It simply gives you a map. Ideally your map will include alternate routes for any unforeseen contingencies.  You don’t need to go into a lot of detail about those routes, but it’s important (and reassuring) to know that they’re there.

And don’t forget the “Times 2 Rule” when you plan! No matter what the task, it’s good to assume that it will take at least twice as long as you predict.  (And what a gift to yourself, if you end up with a little extra time at the end of the day!)

Finding time to prioritize and consolidate your tasks is another very helpful time management skill to develop. Again, you needn’t spend a lot of time on this. As you look at your plan for the day or your To Do List, highlight the three tasks that you absolutely want to accomplish on this day.

Also, if you’ve got any tasks that can easily be put together, be sure to connect them. This might include things like errands that involve stops close to one another, putting all of your computer-related tasks in the same time slot, etc.

And if you maintain your To Do List or Daily Plan on a computer you can rearrange your tasks as you consolidate and create your priorities.  Having a clean list makes things a little easier and less stressful for yourself.

Last but not least, finding time to review at the end of the day is very important! It gives you an opportunity to tweak your to do list for the next day, adjust your priorities, reflect on any lessons learned, and let go of it all as you had to bed.

Letting go is a wonderful gift that this process allows you to give yourself.  As your head hits the pillow, you can release any worries that you might be carrying, knowing that they are on your list and will be addressed in the morning.  Your sleep will be more restful, and you’ll have more energy as your day begins!

So, are you ready to start really DOING what’s on your To Do List?  Consider giving these 3 Powerful Time Tips a try … and I’d love to hear how it goes for you.

And here’s something more to consider.  You can now access our Time Finder posts in real time … right on your Kindle.   Try it out for 14 days FREE!  You’ll receive new content wirelessly, on your Kindle, every time we post!

So, what if you could find another hour every day? You can! You are invited to sign up for your FREE Finding Time Success Kit. It puts 3 key tools for your time success right into your hands! Claim it and see how you can recharge your energy, reduce overwhelm and frustration, and come to learn that 24 hours really ARE enough!

Let’s explore time together …

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Finding Time to Outsmart Your Nastiest Time Gremlins!

Posted on June 7, 2011 by , under Time Management Skills.

Finding time can sometimes feel like a race around countless roadblocks that pop up, can’t it?

One of the trickiest obstacles you’re likely to encounter as you journey through your day is best described as the collection of personal challenges that I call Time Gremlins.  Just as you’d expect from their name, they tend to be crafty trouble-makers … and because they’re so hard to see, you may run right into them at full speed.

Oh, and they’re especially difficult to sidestep when you harbor doubts about their very existence … so read on, I think you’ll find this helpful …

In my experience, Time Gremlins are real, AND they are universal. What do I mean by that?  I mean that they’re hiding out inside of each of us at all times.

If it’s clarifying, you might think of them as the voices of your time issues.  Whatever you find most challenging, when it comes to time management, those gremlins stand ready to exploit and amplify.

You know you’ve bumped up against your time gremlins when their messages sabotage your priorities, tangle your plans, and spoil your pleasure in your time choices. Because they’re invisible, these voices inside you often can run riot – that is, until you intercept them.

To block each one, it’s important to be patient with yourself.  This is hard work, and you will advance … all the better if you take it one tiny step at a time. As you become more and more skilled in battling your time gremlins, you’ll be very pleased with the results! So let’s begin to look more closely at this.

How Can You Start Recognizing Your Time Gremlins?

Well, for starters you need to know where to look.  Being tricky creatures, your Time Gremlins usually hang out in your blind spots.  Things like unexamined feelings and ideas about time are great grist for Gremlins!  They might be ideas or messages that you’ve carried from childhood.  Wishful thinking also provides a fertile breeding ground for these crafty critters.

Bottom line: Their effect is universal. They steal your power! And they feel like they’re outside your control (although they aren’t, of course).

Stay tuned … In my next blog post I’ll provide a quiz to help you identify which Time Gremlin is currently blocking your progress.  Once you recognize the culprit you are well on your way to outmaneuvering your gremlin and no longer letting your plans be foiled!

For now, simply note when your plans mysteriously lose momentum or direction. Pay particular attention to the times when you can’t put a finger on what went wrong. Even jotting down a few sentences will help you recall the incident, and then you can use these examples when filling out the upcoming quiz.

Are you inspired to address your time challenges so you can find more time and increase your effectiveness, efficiency, enjoyment … and heart-based success?

Then, I invite you to explore Secrets of Heart-Based Time Management – my chapter in the book I co-authored - Stepping Stones to Success!  In it I share my proven system for harnessing the power of your mind, your body and your spirit to help you explore your patterns, clarify your values, identify and prioritize your goals … and create your path for achieving them.

The in depth interviews contained in this book provide practical and heart-based ideas to get you moving as you embrace yourself and your own uniqueness!  As one reader has said:

In fostering a climate of ever-expanding and deepening discovery, Paula’s system offers solutions that are founded in self-knowledge. They have a resonance and a wisdom that I find to be very unusual in the time management sphere.  Jordy Cornog, Canterbury, NH

You can give yourself the gift of this wonderful resource today, and get started on your journey toward success, Stepping Stone by Stepping Stone …just click this link to get the details!

What if you could find another hour every day? You can! You are invited to sign up for your FREE Finding Time Success Kit. It puts 3 key tools for your time success right into your hands! Grab it and see how you can recharge your energy, reduce overwhelm and frustration, and come to learn that 24 hours really ARE enough!

Let’s explore time together …

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Finding Time: Is This Discipline or Rigidity? Some Tips on How to Tell

Posted on December 16, 2010 by , under Time Boundaries, Time Choices.

Finding time to get everything done requires that you do some planning.  If you don’t, you’ll be at sea in the midst of a floating array of seemingly random (and demanding) tasks, priorities, and dreams.

And planning requires both focus and flexibility.  I emphasize flexibility because so often, when we develop plans, our attitude is that we need to stick to them no matter what!

There’s a whole world of difference between disciplined follow-through and rigidity. Think about how you feel when met by someone else’s rigid response to a change.  Do sparks fly?  Do you seethe inside?  Do you feel responded to or rebuffed?

That’s what can happen when your PLAN becomes your priority … rather than whatever your priority actually was to begin with.  When you’re moving toward rigidity, you are becoming so committed to your PLAN that you let other parts of your life suffer. Relationships can be the first casualty.

So how do you learn to tell the difference between when you’re being focused-but-flexible and when you’re being rigid in your daily living?

Well, first off, have you thrown your judgment out the window? Follow-through builds trust and is very, very important.  However, follow-through “no matter what” means that you are not really taking responsibility for exercising judgment and making adult choices.  Circumstances sometimes DO interfere with our plans.  That is a reality of human life.

So, being realistic about your planning and factoring in some flex time can leave space for the unexpected and can actually PROTECT the flow of your day!

When you are feeling rigid, view it as a red flag.  It’s telling you that you are trying to focus but have lost your balance.  This can happen to anyone!  When you notice this happening, take a deep breath and step back.  Ask yourself …

  • “What are my central commitments?”
  • “How can I adjust to what is happening in this moment?”
  • “Is there anything I can let go of right now?”

Maybe you will shift things around; and maybe you won’t.  The important thing is to check in with yourself and own your choice.  The red flag helps you pause and readjust your perspective.

Focus and flexibility are skills you can build! As you do this skill-building, you’ll find that self-reference is one of your best allies. Keep checking in with yourself to find your balance.  You’ll feel more and more comfortable and agile, as you navigate your day by flexing here, and holding firm there.

Finally, always reflect on your results – not with a critical eye, but with friendly objectivity.  This allows you to build on your experience and deepen your trust in yourself and your judgment.

Do you find it easy to feel balanced when it comes to focus and flexibility?  Or do you fall back on rigidity to maintain your boundaries and get things done?  Ready to try something different?  I’d love to hear your experiences with this whole area … and what you think!

What if you could find another hour every day? You can! You are invited to sign up for your FREE Finding Time Success Kit. It puts 3 key tools for your time success right into your hands! Grab it and see how you can recharge your energy, reduce overwhelm and frustration, and come to learn that 24 hours really ARE enough!

Let’s explore time together …

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Finding Time to Revise A Holiday Tradition? Just Ask Paula!

Posted on November 30, 2010 by , under Ask Paula.

Finding time to create templates so that you can efficiently follow through on your holiday tasks, routines, and traditions is an excellent, time-saving tool.

But how do you find time to keep your templates up-to-date?  And what do you do when you want to revise them … but you’re not the only person affected? That’s exactly the question we recently received from Janet Smith, writing from Providence, RI:

Dear Paula,

I have really appreciated your posts and e-zine articles about how to use templates to move through the holidays with greater ease.

For several years now, I’ve been thinking about suggesting a change in one of our family rituals. This may bring up feelings for others, and it also would mean changing the templates.

How do you suggest I go about doing this?

Sincerely, Janet

This is a great question, not only for the Holiday Season but for any time that you are considering a change in a routine or tradition … a change that will involve others and which they are likely to have feelings and opinions about.

Dear Janet,

It is positive that you are willing and open to changing your holiday traditions. As our lives evolve, it is important to consider this possibility.

You are correct in noting that others are likely to have feelings about this.  Any change in routine will generally bring up feelings – and that goes double (or maybe even triple) for the holidays.

So, one thing to consider is that it is helpful and important to not initiate a change right when the holidays are upon you and your family. Instead, I would suggest that you select a more neutral time – say, July – to propose any changes. This way, the emotions from the holiday season are less likely to interfere with making decisions.

When you propose your change, also solicit ideas from all who are involved. Make concrete suggestions about the changes you would like to see. Encourage feedback, discussion, and alternative proposals.  And it is important that you do all of this with a genuinely open mind.  The change that you have proposed may not, in the end, be the one that everyone agrees on.  Will you be okay with this?

Once the changes are agreed upon, you can go ahead and modify your holiday template to reflect the new traditions.

I suggest that you also make copies of this template to share with interested family members. It will help confirm the consensus and prepare everyone for the new rituals.

Finally, please let me know how it goes for you – I’d love to hear!  Hope this is helpful to you in your holiday planning, and throughout the year.

Warmest regards,

Paula

Want to learn more about finding time to make more proactive time choices – not just during the holidays but throughout your year?

You can still sign up and access all of the excellent information that we covered in our Teleclass on November 16th. Dr. Melissa McCreery and I discussed “Holiday Thriving: How to Take Charge of Stress, Overwhelm, and Overeating During the Holiday Season. For some practical tips for staying on track with your healthy lifestyle while decreasing your stress, sign up and we’ll send you the FREE MP3!

What if you could find another hour every day? You can! You are invited to sign up for your FREE Finding Time Success Kit. It puts 3 key tools for your time success right into your hands! Grab it and see how you can recharge your energy, reduce overwhelm and frustration, and come to learn that 24 hours really ARE enough!

Let’s explore time together …

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Find Time for October’s Time Finder Favorites

Posted on November 1, 2010 by , under Time After Time.

Finding time to look back and savor October’s Time Finder favorites as we step into November is one of my favorite ways to let go of what’s been … and open to what’s to come!  And letting go (of the clutter in our spaces, our minds … our lives) was a theme in some of the top vote-getters this past month, as you’ll see.

Topping the list was a post titled Find Time to Clear Out the Clutter that Procrastination Creates on Your To Do List! that offers this bit of timely advice for you to try:

For the next week, record the amount of time needed for each task that you complete in your day. Use this as a resource when you create your to do lists. It can clarify how many and what kinds of tasks you can realistically finish in a single day. That way, you can cull your list of impossible expectations and the clutter they create.

The other two clutter-related posts in the Top 5 were “Find Time to Tell Clutter Who’s Boss!” and “Find Time to Clear the Clutter Clogging Your Space and Your Schedule!”  When dealing with clutter, try giving yourself the gift of a positive, compassionate attitude and see what happens. Remember …

Letting go of habits is hard, and clutter is nothing if not a habit! But approaching this issue with steadiness, curiosity, and compassion, you can rest assured that you’ll start seeing changes. It’s important to start small, stick with it, and reward every positive step that you make. Don’t expect magic, and magic will happen!

Fourth on our list was an offering from September titled “Finding Time to Align Your Priorities with Your Deepest Values” that explored the importance of pausing and looking inward.  Not only does that deepen our experience, but it also enhances efficiency, because having our values and our time choices misaligned is nothing if not draining!

Like driving your car when it is out of alignment, this is very wearing and inefficient. The moving parts aren’t working in sync and, in fact, are sometimes working at odds with each other.

And last but not least came “Find Time by Exploring the Values Conflicts Inside Your Time Traps” – another angle on values and the importance of clarifying them in order to make the most of your time.

When opposing values wrangle for top billing, time choices get tangled up, and you lose out. It’s really impossible to remain loyal to your plans, if you shift and slide from one set of priorities to another.

The good news, in looking at time traps, clutter, and letting go, is that you have the power in your hands … whenever you are ready to take it!

Did you have a Time Finder favorite this month? What struck a chord in you? Drop me a line, I’d love to hear!

What if you could find another hour every day? You can! You are invited to sign up for your FREE Finding Time Success Kit. It puts 3 key tools for your time success right into your hands! Grab it and see how you can recharge your energy, reduce overwhelm and frustration, and come to learn that 24 hours really ARE enough!

Let’s explore time together …

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Finding Time to Write the Right Lists for YOU!

Posted on September 29, 2010 by , under Time Management Skills.

Finding time to get everything done and still make time and space in your life for what’s most important to you is one of your biggest, daily challenges, isn’t it?

Yesterday we talked about using templates as one very effective method for addressing seasonal or repetitive activities and tasks.  This morning I’d like to take a look at something similar – but probably more widely used.  That’s using lists to keep track of your tasks and what you’ve accomplished.  Even more specifically, I’m going to focus on using category lists wisely.

To stay comfortably within the framework of the priorities that you establish for yourself, you need to use different kinds of lists. Some people attempt to put all their tasks on one list. This inevitably fails because the list is just too long, too complicated, and can often be quite overwhelming.

Lists have their own hierarchy. So keeping boundaries straight and staying on track with your priorities is best accomplished by using the right type of list.

There are lots of ways to look at this.  One possibility would be to create your lists based on specific kinds of activities. For example, you could have one list of personal tasks, another list for work tasks, and a third list for community or social activities in which you participate.

Separating activities into categories and putting each category on a separate list enables you to work with the most relevant list at the appropriate time.

  • You might look at your personal list once a week, since many of the tasks will be repetitive – grocery shopping, car-pooling, children’s activities, sports practices and games, cleaning and yard work are examples.
  • On the other hand, you could review your work activity list each night to get ready for whatever has to be done the next day. Some of these work tasks also may be repetitive, but many involve non-repetitive activity, like new projects, new clients, problems that need solving, and telephone calls to be made.
  • The third list regarding community and social activities might be reviewed weekly. Many of the activities on this kind of list are a combination of repetitive tasks and one-time events. By reviewing this list weekly, you can take note of any scheduled committee meetings, dinners with friends, or planned time with family members.

Because you are reviewing your three lists at different times, and using them in different ways, you can be accomplishing a great deal and keep to your priorities without being overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks you need to accomplish.

Ready to give it a try?  Happy list-making! (And please let me know how it goes – I’d love to hear!)

And here’s another thing … when you listen to the wise voice you have inside,  your priorities and time choices will be more closely aligned with your values. To explore your Inner Wisdom more fully, sign up and give yourself the gift of the FREE MP3 of the most recent interview in my Finding Time EducationRich and HeartBased Teleseries! Just click this link to sign up for Activating Your Inner Wisdom: How to Bring Joy and Success into Your Life – my interview with Soulful Coach Joanna Lindenbaum, and we’ll send you an e-mail with a link to the audio!

What if you could find another hour every day? You can! You are invited to sign up for your FREE Finding Time Success Kit. It puts 3 key tools for your time success right into your hands! Grab it and see how you can recharge your energy, reduce overwhelm and frustration, and come to learn that 24 hours really ARE enough!

Let’s explore time together …

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Find Time to Retain Routines While in Transition

Posted on September 8, 2010 by , under Transitions and Time.

Finding time to traverse transitions is a constant in our lives.  Whether you are in the northern hemisphere where autumn is arriving, or in the southern half of the globe and moving from winter to spring, you are in a time of transition as you read this post.

Transition times present both challenges and opportunities.  With each transition comes the chance to reflect and to create a new beginning for yourself.  You can consider what you might want to let go of as you move ahead.  Or maybe there’s something new that you’d like to incorporate into your day.  A transition point is a place of change.

But what if you want to keep something the same as you traverse a transition?  Maybe you’ve had a routine, all summer, of getting outside for a run in the morning or the evening.  As the season changes and the days shorten here in the north, that may become more difficult to do.  Or maybe the start of school introduces new demands that squeeze your schedule and make helpful summer routines seem impossible as fall gets underway.

This is a time when it’s very important to remember that you always hold the power to choose.  So try taking a step back and looking at your whole schedule.  Ask yourself some basic questions:

  • What is the impact of this transition on the routines you want to keep going for yourself?
  • Are there things that you can flex to make sure that some parts of your routine can continue?
  • Are there ways to accomplish the same activity but in a different way … going to a gym in the morning rather than running outside, for example?

For the first couple of weeks, as you are adjusting to your altered routine, try planning your schedule on paper, even if you don’t normally do that.  Writing it all down will reinforce the choices you are making and will help you stick to your routine until it becomes familiar to you.

Times of transition can often throw us off track if we experience them as something that “happens to” us.  But the more mindfully we approach transitions, the more likely we are to feel satisfied and empowered in our lives.

When you think of transitions as passages to be navigated, you tap into your power, wisdom and experience to make the most of these rich times.

Want to explore your Wise Inner Voice more fully? The next interview in my Finding Time EducationRich and HeartBased Teleseries is at 7PM (ET) on Tuesday, September 14 with Soulful Coach Joanna Lindenbaum. Our topic? Activating Your Inner Wisdom: How to Bring Joy and Success into Your Life. Sign up and join us for this free, info-packed teleclass! When you listen to that wise voice inside, the sky’s the limit!

What if you could find another hour every day? You can! You are invited to sign up for your FREE Finding Time Success Kit. It puts 3 key tools for your time success right into your hands! Grab it and see how you can recharge your energy, reduce overwhelm and frustration, and come to learn that 24 hours really ARE enough!

Let’s explore time together …

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Find Time Today: Move Some Priorities to the Bottom of Your List!

Posted on August 20, 2010 by , under Ask Paula, Time Priorities.

Finding time by setting priorities is a wonderful way to organize yourself.  But here’s a recent question from a reader that illustrates a common challenge when prioritizing.

Susan A. of Portland, Oregon wrote:

Dear Paula,

I have always tried to set priorities when I create my to-do list. My problem is that I have a tendency to think that every task is a high priority. Could you help me by explaining what a low priority task looks like?

Sincerely,

Susan A.

Dear Susan,

Your question is one that many people ask. One of the most difficult aspects of setting priorities is to develop a habit of not making everything a high priority.

You might want to set yourself this goal: Try to assign at least 50% of the tasks on your to-do list as a medium or low priority.

  • A low priority task is one that can be deferred without a negative impact on anything if it doesn’t get completed.
  • Also, a low priority task is one that can be moved to another day without any adverse consequences.

Keep in mind, when setting priorities, that being flexible and reality-based is key.  Situations change every day, and you may, quite often, have a legitimate reason to re-order your priorities.  Tasks that looked very important on Sunday night, may look different on Wednesday, after you have gained more information or the context has evolved.

In thinking about your top priorities, be rigorous about what belongs in that slot.  Stephen Covey suggests keeping two words in mind while setting priorities. One is ‘urgent’ and the other is ‘important’. The best guide for determining which task is the highest priority is to select the task on your to-do list that is both urgent and important. Some tasks may be one or the other, but only the one that is both belongs at the top.

Likewise, you may find it helpful to establish a “bottom” priority.  You may even have a small collection of tasks that fit this bill.  They would typically be things that can be deferred without dire consequence, but that it would be nice to accomplish.  Putting vacation photos into an album is something that springs to mind.  Or, perhaps, reorganizing a seldom-used closet.

Breaking your tasks up into smaller pieces (“chunking” them) may also help.  Even if you don’t have enough time to complete a task, you can use the time available to get it started.  Some of these “chunks” might be lower-level priorities, but completing them will help move a higher priority task along.

It’s helpful to choose a time to review your next day’s to-do list and the priorities you’ve established. Look at both the task and the priority you’ve assigned it.  This allows you to flex and fine-tune your priorities as you plan.  You might even take a minute or two and visualize each task. This mental rehearsal enables you to identify the number of steps required to complete a task and keeps your stress level down.

I hope that some of these ideas resonate for you, Susan … and I’d love to hear how your prioritizing evolves over time.

Best,

Paula

PS  Just a quick reminder that, though the call with Artist and Creativity Coach Ellene Breedlove Davis is over, you can still access the FREE MP3 by clicking the link for:  Finding Time to Be Creative: Portrait of the Artist.  When you use your creativity to enhance your life, you will develop even more incentive for developing your best ideas and making them a reality.

What if you could find another hour every day? You can! You are invited to sign up for your FREE Finding Time Success Kit. It puts 3 key tools for your time success right into your hands! Grab it and see how you can recharge your energy, reduce overwhelm and frustration, and come to learn that 24 hours really ARE enough!

Let’s explore time together …

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Find Flexibility, Focus and Fun with Segmented Planning-Part 3

Posted on July 22, 2010 by , under Self-Care Time, Time Choices, Time Management Skills.

Finding time to get it all done isn’t easy, as we all know!  Using Segmented Planning allows you to be responsive to the events and emotions that invariably crop up in your day.

When you plan in smaller chunks, you are more nimble and can incorporate the unexpected into your segmented schedule.  You don’t feel that you need to rigidly keep to your 8, 12 or 14-hour predetermined course. Oh, and you don’t have to struggle with frustration and self-criticism when you have trouble getting back on track after being yanked off of it by interruptions, changes … the inevitable happenstances of daily living!

But one of the things about segmented planning that I find especially compelling is the way that it allows space for fun.  Yes, fun!

You work hard, don’t you?  I bet your schedule is filled with tasks, many of which you almost never get to.  Looking at those looming lists can be overwhelming. It’s important to reward yourself for hard work, and to sometimes even surprise yourself with something nice.

Segmented planning can help here. It’s the nimbleness that’s important.  Let’s say you’ve been working hard at your desk for hours, churning out accomplishments left and right.  You come to the end of a planned segment and look at your rough schedule for the next segment.  It’s a beautiful afternoon and, though it’s not on your list, your garden beckons … or maybe a friend calls to invite you to a movie.  What can you do here?

Well, one option would be to continue with whatever your original picture of your day had been.  Or, you could make a shift and edit your next segment, incorporating time for fun or relaxation or self-care.  It is entirely in your hands – that’s the beauty of it!

The more you engage in segmented planning the more familiar you become with yourself and your patterns – and the better you’ll be able to plan.

  • If you’re someone who tends to work too hard and too long, then incorporating flexibility and fun into your plan will be an important challenge to take on.
  • If, on the other hand, you have a tendency to procrastinate, you may want to be a little less flexible, and use your planning to help you stay at your desk a little longer.  (Be sure to reward yourself for your discipline, however.)

As you develop increasing levels of self-trust, you will find that Segmented Planning is a wonderful addition to your Time Management Toolbox!

Remember how refreshing it was the last time you took time for YOU?  How did you feel when you returned to your tasks afterwards?  How did you feel about yourself?  Have you thought about including time for fun in your day? Drop me a line … I’d love to hear how it goes for you!

What if you could find another hour every day? You can! You are invited to sign up for your FREE Finding Time Success Kit. It puts 3 key tools for your time success right into your hands! Grab it and see how you can recharge your energy, reduce overwhelm and frustration, and come to learn that 24 hours really ARE enough!

Let’s explore time together …

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Find Flexibility, Focus and Fun with Segmented Planning-Part 2

Posted on July 21, 2010 by , under Time Choices, Time Management Skills.

Finding time to get it all done is our subject this week, as we take a look at using Segmented Planning as a time management tool.

Yesterday we explored some of the ways that you can allow yourself much more flexibility in your day by building in brief stopping points where you can adjust your plans to address any changes that have affected your time.

Today I’d like to take a look at some ways that Segmented Planning can help you sharpen and maintain your focus.  I’m sure that you have noticed that, throughout your day, you have ebbs and flows of energy.  Proponents of the Pomodoro Technique advise us to chunk our time and build in short breaks as a way of enhancing focus and flow.  If you’ve tried it, you know what a powerful tool this can be!

With Segmented Planning we tweak this technique slightly.

We might still have our built-in break times, but the regular planning times allow for fuller reflection and for making conscious choices about how your time will be used in the next segment.

Here’s an example of how this might unfold in a typical day:

Suppose you have just had an upsetting call with a client with whom you have worked for many years.  It’s really derailed you.  You find that your thoughts keep returning to the call.  Clearly, your ability to focus is compromised, but you try to plow through, because there’s a pile of work for you to finish up before afternoon.

You come to one of your Planning Points and review your To Do List, feeling overwhelmed and stymied.  What can you do?

  • You realize that you’re full of feelings and struggling to concentrate.
  • You shift your plans around to allow for 10 minutes of writing about how you are feeling.
  • You settle down with pen and paper, set your timer, and let the feelings flow.
  • As you write, you can feel clarity and calm emerging … and you may make discoveries that you jot down for future reference.
  • You return to your work when the timer goes off, feeling refreshed and focused … and you’re off and running!

So often we think that we don’t have time for feelings and try to “soldier on” in spite of their pull.  The reality is that when we find time to give feelings their due, we are able to return to our work much more quickly and productively than if we ignore them.  Not only that, but when we give our feelings their due, we invariably emerge from the experience with new self-knowledge.

Segmented Planning is one way to help yourself do that.  What a wonderful gift to yourself!

How do you find time for what matters most to you? What gets in your way? Drop me a line … I’d love to help!

What if you could find another hour every day? You can! You are invited to sign up for your FREE Finding Time Success Kit. It puts 3 key tools for your time success right into your hands! Grab it and see how you can recharge your energy, reduce overwhelm and frustration, and come to learn that 24 hours really ARE enough!

Let’s explore time together …

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Find Flexibility, Focus and Fun with Segmented Planning-Part 1

Posted on July 20, 2010 by , under Time Choices, Time Management Skills.

Finding time to get it all done is your daily challenge.  If you’re like me, you probably like to plan your day ahead.  Planning is a wonderful time management tool.

But what happens when things change?  Take yesterday, for example.  We had some internet connectivity issues and by the time we were up and running again, it felt too late to be posting to the blog.  So, due to some “cyber” issues, we are holding onto our Cyber Monday post ’til next week.

It certainly hadn’t been in my plan for the day to have things held up by a lost internet connection.  Still, those things happen.  As we’ve shared recently in our Finding Time E-zine and at EzineAricles.com, flexibility is key to making optimal use of your time.

One way to enhance your flexibility is to engage in what I call “Segmented Planning.” We’ll be exploring this powerful time management tool over the next several days.

The way it works is really quite simple … and it allows you to significantly enhance your nimbleness (your ability to respond to change) as your day progresses.  Here’s what I suggest:

  • Plan the first part of your day the night before, in some detail, and plan the rest of your day in broader strokes.
  • Give yourself 5 minutes of planning as one of the first things in your morning “segment.  This is your first opportunity to adjust your plan if something has changed during the night.  Also give yourself @ 10 minutes to plan at the end of your first segment.
  • Use the planning time at the end of your first segment to notice how things went and to add, remove, or tweak the timing on things for the rest of our day.  Also, set another planning time that will mark the end of your second segment.
  • Use as many segments as you like, and let it vary from day-to-day, as needed.

I find that using segmented planning allows me to really take in the fact that planning isn’t some harsh, critical task master meant to keep me “in line.”  No, planning is for me! My plan is mine, and the more I make it mine the less resistant I am to following through on it.

Giving myself several places during the day where I can adjust to changes before moving ahead is a friendly and flexible way to chart my course and hold to it.  I encourage you to give it a try!

How do you find time for what matters most to you? What gets in your way? Drop me a line … I’d love to help!

What if you could find another hour every day? You can! You are invited to sign up for your FREE Finding Time Success Kit. It puts 3 key tools for your time success right into your hands! Grab it and see how you can recharge your energy, reduce overwhelm and frustration, and come to learn that 24 hours really ARE enough!

Let’s explore time together …

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Find Time for What’s Most Important to You Every Day-Day #1

Posted on July 6, 2010 by , under Time Boundaries, Time Choices, Time Priorities.

Finding time for the things that matter most is a challenge that we each face every day of our lives.

Do you notice how your time can get “lost”?  How sometimes one thing leads to another and before you know it, a whole day has gone by?    Things that you intended to do get lost in the shuffle … and you are not sure how you got from point A to Point Z.

All you know is that you don’t feel like you have a handle on where your time is going.  By extension, that means that you probably feel like your life is a little bit out of control!

Does this resonate for you?  Know the feeling?  It can be very discouraging and disconcerting.  The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way!  Read on for an important tip, to get you started on finding the time for what matters most …

The key to finding time each day lies in Planning!

Everybody knows about planning … but how many of us actually follow through and keep doing it? Many of us think it’s a good idea in theory … but in practice, something often doesn’t work.  So let’s step back and take another look.

Over the next two days, I’m going to be offering you some new ways to look at planning for yourself, so that you’ll keep at it and reap all the benefits that it has to offer!  To get started, here are three things to keep in mind about planning:

  • Call it something that you are comfortable with.  If it’s helpful for you to think in terms of a schedule, then use that word.  If the word plan works for you, then go for it.  The key is to use something that you are comfortable with … NOT a word that you feel victimized by!
  • Planning is about creating a frame for yourself.  Think of it like guard-rails on a road … or the edging along a garden path … whatever image is helpful and nurturing for you.  Remember, this is for YOU and can be flexed to suit your needs.
  • Planning is very revealing.  It makes our time choices visible – whereas in our unplanned days they can remain invisible.  When you plan, you are making the invisible visible. This is very empowering, but it can be a challenge at first – especially if you bring critical energy to it.  Work to see whatever your planning reveals to you simply as information – neither good nor bad.  Just information.

How does this sound to you so far?  My suggestion to you for today is that you think of three things that you want to be sure that you do today.  Write them down.  This is your plan for today.  Tonight, before bed, revisit your plan.  Think about how it went.  Do you need to carry some piece(s) over into tomorrow?  What do you learn?  Give yourself a bog pat on the back … you are starting to plan!

What if you could find another hour every day? You can! You are invited to sign up for your FREE Finding Time Success Kit. It puts 3 key tools for your time success right into your hands! Grab it and see how you can recharge your energy, reduce overwhelm and frustration, and come to learn that 24 hours really ARE enough!

Let’s explore time together …

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