Monthly Archives: Jan 2015

Discomfort of Influence

Discomfort of Influence

Having influence is NOT always a bed of roses!

Along with influence comes a certain unavoidable degree of visibility, where you start living in a kind of fishbowl and are held up to a level of keen observation, and even criticism, that you probably weren’t used to before.

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5 Hard Earned Time Management Lessons

I’ve learned some time management lessons after years of struggling to manage time better. And because these lessons learned in life have the potential to completely revolutionize the way you think about managing your time, this article will be one of the most important you’ll read. Without any further ado, let’s talk about these 5 hard earned time management lessons.

1. Make Lists

Drawing up lists for everything is a very effective time management method. You can have a list on which only major projects are added, and then work your way through it. A sub-list of things to do today helps you stay focused on the most important projects.

While having too many lists, or too many items on each list, can be a problem, it is easily solved by setting priorities and deciding what goes on your list. Unimportant tasks that have no bearing on your long term goals should be ruthlessly eliminated. Writing down your list is helpful because you can cross off items as they get done. This gives you a sense of completion that reinforces your behavior of sticking to the list.

2. Clear Away Clutter

Organizing your files and workspace can be a precious time management lesson. Look at the items that clutter up your home or office. Do you really need to keep those papers, documents, sales brochures and other material? If not, get rid of them. Or keep digital copies and eliminate the physical clutter.

While this may be hard work, it is very rewarding when you get done. You’ll often be able to destroy 75% of papers, bills, receipts and other things without significantly impacting your work or efficiency.

3. Take Control Over Your Schedule

To organize your time, you must first realize what is holding you back. One of the powerful time management lessons the years will teach you is that nothing is wrong with you, or out of control – it’s just the way things work, at their own speed and in their own nature. Getting frustrated about it is wasteful. Instead, take control of as much as you can.

Manage your email, voice mail, phone calls and in person meetings. Avoid interruptions, and factor in time wasted on unexpected delays into your work schedule. Pick specific times of the day to tackle particular tasks. Unless you schedule work, it never gets done.

If your project seems too big to complete, break it down into smaller chunks and then begin working on the first chunk. Sooner than you realize it, you’ll get everything done.

4. You Can’t Do Everything Yourself

You may like to think of yourself as being capable of handling everything on your own. You might even think others cannot do as good a job as you will. And you may be right, too. Except that, by going it alone, you will significantly limit the nature and amount of work that you can get done.

If you get others to help you out, you’ll achieve more. You may have employees, volunteers or friends who can tackle specific elements of your work. By making a list, and then delegating chores to your team members, you free yourself up to concentrate on other important things.

5. Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself

One of the time management lessons that’s hard to learn is that it isn’t always your fault. Even if you spend a lot of time training yourself in more efficient time management, there will be times when you slip up. Piles of paper will accumulate on your desk. Your email inbox will get cluttered. You’ll fall behind on your deadlines. Others will dump their work on you, forcing you to shelve your important projects until later.

Don’t beat yourself up. Things will change and improve, as long as you stick to the time management lessons you’ve learned and keep on implementing. If you don’t give up, you’ll get better at managing your time. Just remember the 3 important Time Management Tao principles:

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Cause – Or Accident?

Cause and Effect - Destiny

Connections? Linkage? Who can tell?

This happened years ago.

I posted a tweet. Jeanette saw it. Acted. Went to Haiti. Met Elaine. Now, they’re great friends.

Connections happened.

Jeanette Joy posted about it.

But how much of it was causal?

What if… ?

What if I hadn’t tweeted about Frank’s Caring House project?
What if Jeanette and I weren’t connected on Twitter?
What if she hadn’t seen my tweet (she has over 100k followers)?

Or…

What if she hadn’t taken action on it?
What if she hadn’t gone to Haiti?
What if the circumstances that brought Elaine there hadn’t happened?

And finally…

What if they both were different kinds of people?

What If… ?

Would this connection have developed anyway?

I’ve asked myself this kind of question for years, mostly in context of my work as a heart surgeon for children.

How much of what we do is causal in determining outcomes?

How much is sheer accident?

How much is part of an intricately woven, enormously complex whole?

P.S. –

I explored this question, “What If?”, in a short story. You may enjoy it. Read it here: click

What If

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How To Beat Procrastination

Procrastination and poor time management are a big problem and concern. You can beat procrastination when you set deadlines for completion – preferably today.

Procrastination is your worst enemy in the battle against wasting time. And it’s a bad habit – one that can neutralize many other good ones, if you let it get out of hand. It is tempting to put off things you don’t enjoy doing. But when those tasks are important, you can end up sabotaging your success.

A definition of successful people is that they don’t like some of the important tasks… but they do them anyway! And that is why they enjoy the fruit of their labor.

Putting off things for later can happen because you don’t like doing a particular task, or because you are lazy/tired/incapable of handling it. That’s no longer a valid excuse – because it is now possible to outsource those tasks to get them done.

My personal approach is to break down projects into bite-sized pieces – and then set out to do one of the pieces, then get it done today. Unless it gets done, I don’t go to sleep! That’s an effective cure against time management procrastination.

Now, this isn’t always possible. But it is still desirable to strive for such a goal – because even if you end up doing less than the task, you’ll still get some part of the project done daily!

Not only that, the very action of doing something every day, moving slowly but surely towards your goal, sets up a positive reinforcement loop that energizes you. And over time, doing your daily tasks becomes a habit – and happens automatically!

Procrastination is your worst enemy in the battle against wasting time. And it’s a bad habit – one that can neutralize many other good ones, if you let it get out of hand. It is tempting to put off things you don’t enjoy doing. But when those tasks are important, you can end up sabotaging your success.

A definition of successful people is that they don’t like some of the important tasks… but they do them anyway! And that is why they enjoy the fruit of their labor.

Putting off things for later can happen because you don’t like doing a particular task, or because you are lazy/tired/incapable of handling it. That’s no longer a valid excuse – because it is now possible to outsource those tasks to get them done.

My personal approach is to break down projects into bite-sized pieces – and then set out to do one of the pieces, then get it done today. Unless it gets done, I don’t go to sleep! That’s an effective cure against time management procrastination.

Now, this isn’t always possible. But it is still desirable to strive for such a goal – because even if you end up doing less than the task, you’ll still get some part of the project done daily!

Not only that, the very action of doing something every day, moving slowly but surely towards your goal, sets up a positive reinforcement loop that energizes you. And over time, doing your daily tasks becomes a habit – and happens automatically!

One of the best ways to beat time management procrastination is to ask yourself what is the best use of your time, right now?

Sometimes the secret to getting things done during the day is to keep reminding yourself of the work that’s ahead. You can do this by having a prioritized list of items that need to be accomplished during the day.

Usually you have multiple tasks that you’re working on at any given time, with each one just as important as the other. Whenever you complete a task, cross it off your list, and then ask yourself “What is the best use of my time, right now?” Based on the answer, move on to the next task.

This way time management procrastination stops being an issue at all. You are able to set goals, decide upon priorities and then execute them masterfully. It’s the core of our Time Management Tao philosophy which is based upon learning how to:

You can learn more about this on the various sections of this site, and from the Ming Vase Time Management guides. For other time management procrastination beating tips, you can also sign up to our free “Time Taozine” ezine by filling up the form below.

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How Time Management Studies Ensure Higher Productivity

Time management studies are used by big businesses and companies, as well as non profit organizations and other large groups who value productivity and efficiency highly. Remember how we were often told, as kids, about how important it is to use time wisely and well? That’s what time management studies can help achieve in large groups or organizations.

Why Time Management Studies?

The essential basis of a time management study is simple. A tracking sheet helps keep a record of how employees spend time. Duties of a person are listed, with blanks into which they will enter the start and end time of activities. The time consumption is tabulated, analyzed, and patterns are traced for specific kinds of activities.

Patterns are the key to studies of effective time management. That’s why most tracking is done for common every day activities, rather than the rarely performed ones. Well maintained records help individuals examine what they are spending time on, and can aid in evolving strategies to deal with interruptions and breaks in concentration.

Time Studies At the Office

Unscheduled appointments are an element that often comes to the fore during studies of time management. Some businesses will refuse to see unscheduled clients. Others would take a message, and promise that someone will call back with more information. Each of these approaches save the organization immense amount of focused time to devote to the entity’s primary goals and objectives.

Another factor to keep in mind with these studies is the tendency to make data collection more efficient by rounding up time. Discrepancies creep into the measurement because staff collecting the data don’t count coffee or cigarette breaks, gossip time around the water cooler, or personal calls and tasks. These variables could skew the overall numbers and even lead to wrong conclusions in strategies adopted for better time management.

Time Management for Family

Studies of time management are also important in the private lives of people who work in larger organizations. The tendency to over-schedule children to participate in too many activities can lead to stress. Parents are now moving towards giving kids more spare time so that the family unit does not disintegrate owing to the pressure-cooker environment of overly busy parents and children.

An analysis of time spent can help get a better picture about where your time is being spent, and how to balance the time schedules of all family members, including children. There should be room in your daily routine for all important components of life, such as spiritual activities, relaxation and leisure, and self development.

There is little argument about the fact that time is very precious. Time management studies give us the opportunity to quantify our activities, examine our routines, and schedule things that are most important to fit comfortably into the overall fabric of our daily lives.

Without such introspection and analysis, we risk falling into a rut, and gradually getting into a vicious spiral of lower efficiency. With well designed studies to guide you, it is easier to align your work and life with the tested principles of Time Management Tao:

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