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Mastering Time Management

distraction at work, time management

It’s powerful having email, chat and browsing at our finger tips. It’s also incredibly distracting. Technology is helping create an attention-deficit society where almost everyone complains about not having enough time and being too busy. Strengthening your time management skills is also a matter or strengthening your attention management skills. If you often hear yourself saying “I’m too busy”, it’s time to evaluate your situation and commit to some new time and attention management skills.

Evaluate Your Current Situation

Start by identifying your current time and attention management effectiveness. When you struggle to get things done, what do you think causes is? Are you experiencing constant interruptions? Are you lacking a prioritized to-do list? When you do successfully manage your time, what do you do differently? If you know what to work on, that’s half the battle.

  • For instance, you might have good time management in your home life, but lack the ability to get your tasks done at work. So what’s different at the office? Are phone calls, emails and other people taking your attention away from your tasks? Have you neglected to block time into your calendar to focus on your to-do’s? Are you working on your most important tasks when you’re most alert and productive or do these get left until last when you’re most tired?

Step back and examine, objectively, how you’re managing your time and attention and I’m sure you’ll discover what you can do differently. 

Use these techniques to strengthen your time management skills
  1. Confront procrastination. “Procrastination is the thief of time” Edward Young (1683–1765). Procrastination is a symptom of an underlying issue. Ask yourself why you’re putting things off. What’s the root cause of your procrastination? Resolve the root problem and the symptom will go away.
  • Perhaps you’re expecting too much out of yourself and feeling overwhelmed. It’s okay, and even more productive, to take breaks. Then, when it’s time to work, you’ll feel refreshed and motivated to get the job done.
  • The root cause is often a fear. Regarding the project you are putting off, what are you afraid of? Identify and face the fear and the procrastination will go away.
  1. Get organized. It’s easy to waste time if you can’t find things, or if you aren’t sure what task you’re supposed to be working on. Organize your workspace and eliminate clutter. Set goals, create action steps and schedule when you will work on each action step. You must know WHAT you’re working on, HOW you will complete it and WHEN you will work on it.
  2. Work when you are most productive. When in your day do you perform at your best? Schedule your most intensive thinking activities for when you feel fresh and best able to think. Turn off your phone and email and give yourself a set period of time to work. Once you complete the task, you’ll enjoy a sense of satisfaction and then you won’t be as bothered if the rest of the day falls apart because you have completed one of your important tasks.
  3. Learn to delegate. When it’s appropriate, delegate tasks in order to save yourself time for things only you can do. One of my clients used to say “I hold my people able”. Your team might not complete the task exactly the way you would, but with clear delegation on your part, you should only need to review the completed work while saving yourself the time of doing it yourself.
  4. Celebrate your wins. It’s easy to focus on what’s wrong, what’s outstanding and what the next problem is. Take a moment each day to acknowledge your wins. Look at what you have accomplished (no matter how small). Celebrating your wins will keep you in a positive frame of mind and will increase your productivity day after day.

We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Your productivity is a direct function of how well you manage your time, tasks and attention. Commit yourself to being focused and attentive. Take action in alignment with your commitment and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish!

 

Laura Watson, ACC, MSW is President of Venture Coaching Inc. Laura was a 2018 Woman of Inspiration Finalist and a finalist for the 2010 Canadian Coach of the Year Award. Venture Coaching provides Business Coaching , and Life and Leadership coaching programs to entrepreneurs so they can love their life and business! Venture Coaching provides the tools, process and support to accelerate your business and personal growth.


Triple Your Productivity: 7 Secrets of Being Productive

When looking at a long to-do list, it’s easy to think that there’s not enough time to get everything done. Actually, there is. The problem is, you’re wasting too much time and spending your time on the wrong things. There are CEO’S who run multiple companies simultaneously and still have time for dinner with the family each night. They have learned and practice the secrets of productivity.

The 7 Secrets of Being Productive:

1) Learn how you waste time. We can’t change what we’re unaware of. Determine how you waste time at work and home. Keep a time journal for 1 week. Document what you do all day. Notice when you’re letting meetings or phone calls run overtime. Notice when you’re sick of work, tired, bored, or stressed.

  • For your own education, keep a timer at your desk. Keep track of how much valuable work you do each day. This doesn’t include time spent checking your email, looking out the window, chatting with a coworker, or drinking coffee.

2) Eliminate distractions. While some people can concentrate with chaos all around them, most of us do our best work with as few distractions as possible. Control what you can in your environment. Turn off your phone! Open email at designated times you determine! The fewer distractions you have, the more you will accomplish.

3) Prioritize your priorities. If you have 10 priorities, you don’t have any priorities at all. Develop a list each evening of your three top priorities for the next day. Do everything you can to accomplish those three things. Avoid wasting time each morning trying to determine how you’ll spend your day. You should already know when you wake up.

  • Priorities are often mini projects with a number of action steps needed to accomplish them. Break your priorities down into those action steps. Then, book your action steps into your calendar like an appointment. It’s not enough to know WHAT you’re going to do, you also need to know WHEN you’re going to do it.

4) Spend time on the most effective actions. There’s a difference between being busy and being effective. Imagine you’re having a dinner party and your house is a mess. You could be busy cleaning out your bedroom closet, but that’s not accomplishing much in this instance.

  • All activities aren’t equal. Spend your time doing the most important things, even if they’re the least enjoyable. If your activity is not enjoyable, do it first thing in the morning when you’re most fresh.

5) Take regular breaks. You might be able to work hard from 8am to noon, but you’ll have nothing left in the afternoon. Studies have shown that taking a 10-minute break each hour greatly increases productivity over a full day.

  • Give yourself an even longer break every few hours. You’ll stay fresh and find your ability to focus is less-compromised later in the day (to learn more, check out the Pomodomo Technique)

6) Develop a morning routine. Productive people follow a morning routine. Get out of bed early and get your day started productively. Have a good breakfast, exercise, meditate, or do whatever else will get you primed for the day.

  • Apply the same concept to work. Have a work routine that addresses those tasks you do each day. Plan them, book them in your calendar and get them done. This way, you have control over your day instead of your day controlling you.

7) Choose the best time for each activity in your life. Do you go shopping at the most convenient time, or do you go when everyone else is at the store? You could save a lot of time by going after 7pm in the middle of the week or early on Sunday morning.

  • Consider how and when you do things. Could they be done in a better way or at a better time?

 

We all have the same 24 hours in a day. How will you use yours?

I’ve helped many of my clients to get more done with the time they have. Together we evaluate how you’re using your time, both productively and unproductively. We find your weak spots and I provide tools and resources to help you get more done in less time, while also delegating more effectively. If you’re ready to take on your time management, contact me and I’ll be happy to help!

 


Feeling Tired? 6 Strategies For Combating Mental Fatigue

fatigue at workMany of my clients talk to me about feeling tired and they share the toll it’s taking on their well-being. Mental fatigue and exhaustion is often a result of your work, family life, conflict, or lack of quality sleep.

Mental fatigue can be worse then physical fatigue because if affects your ability to think clearly and express yourself or problem-solve. It impedes your ability to make important decisions, it slows your productivity, it can lead to severe depression and it has been linked to disease, including cancer.

The impact of fatigue is serious and yet many tend to disregard it. Business owners and executives don’t get present to the fact that their lives and businesses are at stake! With so much at risk, I invite you to practice these simple, yet effective, strategies for managing your fatigue so you can stay sharp, productive and healthy.

How to Relax your Mind and Boost your Energy

Relaxation is absolutely necessary to relieve mental stress and rejuvenate your body and mind. You’re probably thinking, “how am I going to do that?” Surprisingly, mental health breaks can be incorporated into your day and life with ease. Here are some tips to help you reduce mental exhaustion and keep your mind sharp:

  1. Take time out for yourself. Spend time in a quiet room where you can reflect and think. For many of us, time to think has become a luxury. Give yourself a few minutes to reflect and think, each day. You can meditate, write in a journal, do some planning or simply allow your thoughts to gently release into the stillness and quietness of the room.
  2. Get plenty of sleep. Mental fatigue can exist no matter how much sleep you get, but sleep does help refresh your body and mind. Adequate sleep will eliminate a lot of your day-to-day stress. Your body will have a chance to repair itself and recharge and you’ll feel sharp in the morning.
  3. Free your mind from the problems that swirl around you. Many problems or worries are about things we can’t control. Take your mind off the things that cause you stress by focusing on your task at hand or on the things you can control. Worry and frustration can also be caused by resisting “what is”. Try reconnecting to the issue or event that got you stressed. Look at it as data and remind yourself “it is what it is”. This puts you in a state of acceptance that allows you to take on the question, “what do I want to do about it?”. Once you have a plan and take action, you feel in control again and your stress eases.
  4. Exercise regularly. Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, which make you feel happy. It’s like the body’s natural “high.” Even if all you can do is take a 15-minute walk, take it. That can be great alone time for you that will help you feel energized.
  5. Try breathing exercises. When things get rough, take deep breaths in through your nose, hold it for 5 seconds, then release. This simple, do-anywhere practice helps you focus and relieves tension, immediately!
  6. Take a day to do things by and for yourself. You’re always doing for others and every once in-awhile, you need to do something for yourself. Take yourself out to a movie, go to a museum or art gallery, or do something you’ve always wanted to do but never made time for. Enjoy the peace and quiet of being alone and the satisfaction of being selfish (your phone and email aren’t going anywhere).

Implement Your Own Strategies

These are just some of the strategies to combat mental fatigue. You may have some other methods that help you relax and find peace in your life. What you do is not important. Actually doing it is what’s important!

Don’t take mental health for granted. Mental fatigue has a way of sneaking up on you and, left for too long, can completely sabotage your life and business! Begin integrating these simple exercises into your day. You will feel the weight lifted off your shoulders, your productivity and focus will return and you’ll be a much more enjoyable person to be around!

 

If you’re tired of feeling tired, call Laura Watson at: 877-669-8684 for a free coaching consult. You can also email her: Laura@VentureCoaching.ca

Laura Watson, ACC, MSW is President of Venture Coaching Inc., and was a finalist for the 2010 Canadian Coach of the Year Award. Venture Coaching provides Business Coaching , and Life and Leadership coaching programs to entrepreneurs so they create success without sacrifice! Venture Coaching provides the tools, process and support to accelerate your business and personal growth.


How To Change Habits

the psychology of habitsWe are all creatures of habits. Kyle Colley writes, “think for a moment of your daily routine. If you are like 98% of human beings, your morning habits remain relatively unchanged, without any true variations from year to year. The other 2% are the very forward-minded people who change their habits constantly to maximize their success in life.”

Colley explains, “there are many reasons why we stick to our bad habits for so long; comfort, fear of failure, and the strength of a habit over time. In fact, research shows that the longer the habit has been in effect, the harder it is to change.”

Many of my clients express frustration about not being able to change their “bad” habits. Taking mastery over your habits requires awareness of your thought patterns and active effort to change old thoughts for new ones. This is where coaching is so valuable! A coach uncovers the thought patterns you have become blind to. With blind-spots revealed, awareness develops and new, conscious thoughts and habits can be formed.

To better understand how your habits have formed and how to master changing them,  Read more…

 


3 Steps For Managing Self-Criticism

nytimes.comBusiness owners are often very tough on themselves. They are driven to make their business succeed. They are also acutely aware of the risks at stake if they don’t. As they walk the line between feeling successful and fearing failure, they are often very critical of themselves.

“We’re all our own worst critics” says Dr. Richard Davidson, and yet “self-criticism can take a toll on our minds and bodies”.

Evolutionary psychologists have studied our natural “negativity bias,” which is the instinct in us all that makes negative experiences seem more significant than they really are. “It can lead to ruminative thoughts that interfere with our productivity, and it can impact our bodies by stimulating inflammatory mechanisms that lead to chronic illness and accelerate aging,” Davidson said.

But that’s not all there is to the story. There are ways around our negativity bias, and it is possible to turn self-criticism into opportunities for learning and personal growth.

Read more…

 


The 5 Leadership Essentials

 

“Leading your business effectively happens when you lead yourself effectively”, Laura Watson

Success in life and business is highly dependent on your mindset. Your mindset will affect all areas of your life; business, health, relationships, finances, fun, you name it!

I am here to help you be more effective in life and business because I’m passionate about you being the best you can be.

You’re here because you want something different for your life and business. I see us playing this success game together, as partners.

Over 13 years of coaching I have discovered 5 Leadership Mindset Essentials that I share with my clients at the beginning of our coaching engagements. We end up revisiting these mindsets often to make sure they are doing their best to apply them.

Clients who take on and really embrace these mindsets see significant improvements in their lives and businesses. So check out this video and see how you can take your leadership abilities to the “next level”.

Lead to Succeed: The 5 Leadership Essentials from Venture Coaching on Vimeo.

Have fun working on your 5 Leadership Essentials. Take on 1 per day, make it a game, play with it and see what you notice.

I would love to hear about your discoveries, so please comment on this post to share your experience.

If you enjoyed this post, you can get more! Sign up for my FREE Lead to Succeed Email Course and these posts will come straight to your inbox. Just click on the banner to the left of this post, sign up and stay connected!

 


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