Each and every day we experience an overwhelming amount of input that is amplified by the rapid changes and the plethora of options that exist within our environment. Excessive stimuli leave us feeling out of balance, and we desperately want to regain our equilibrium. But how do we do that?
For starters, we need to polish our management skills. By definition, management is the allocation of limited resources. On a daily basis, we need to effectively manage three key aspects:
Knowing what to do with the time we have — we can organize and review items that are incomplete, clarify areas of focus and responsibility, and make decisions about what to do at any time. We can switch gears if some unexpected occurrence makes that necessary; of course, that's where the “management” comes into play.
TIME MANAGEMENT (SITUATIONAL)
The concept of time management can be somewhat misleading; you can't manage or mismanage time — time just is. So it may be better to define time management as managing what we do during time.
INFORMATION MANAGEMENT (EXTERNAL)
Input streams/incoming items: paper, e-mail, voicemails, oral requests and all the things you think of … plus social media!
Let's take a look at how you can take control of your physical and psychic environment:
INVENTORY YOUR COMMITMENTS, RESPONSIBILITIES AND GOALS.
Best practices for self-management must include a thorough capturing and clarifying of all commitments — big and small, personal and professional — such as work, side work (freelance or special projects), family, kids, civic (volunteer, etc.), religious, hobbies, home, online and others. Take a close look at everything on the list and consider: Does this give my life value? Does it further my goals? Is it in line with my priorities?
TO-DO OR TO-STOP?
Reflect on the things that aren't working and be willing to drop activities that aren't serving your vision, your family or your lifestyle. Try to eliminate at least one thing that's least in line with your life values, priorities and goals. Do this periodically and see if you can cut something else out, too. Edit, edit, edit!
From a business standpoint, you may want to consider products and services that should be quietly phased out or even discontinued immediately. Also, set boundaries — such as no phone calls after 9 p.m. or no texting during family time. Appropriate boundaries ensure a sustainable balance in life and work.
OBJECTIVE: CLARIFY. CLARITY. PERSPECTIVE.
By clarifying areas of focus and responsibility, you are facilitating a greater sense of control and gaining valuable perspective.
BUILD A BETTER TO-DO LIST.
Set SMART goals, which are Specific (what, why and how), Measurable (visible progress), Attainable (building on what you have, and/or ability to keep moving forward), Realistic (doable) and Timely (clear target or end point)
Simplify the process: Break down tasks into manageable pieces (suggestions: mini due-dates or “micro-actions”)
Use action words: review, organize, print, call, purge, deliver, complete, etc.
Avoid negative connotations: replace “deadline” with “due date,” “finish line,” “target date,” etc.
Positive reinforcement goes a long way. Have you ever had a day when you're feeling great about what you've accomplished? How about pasting a gold star at the top of that day's list? I'm sure a lot of you use notebooks or pads for written lists — wouldn't it be nice to look back on old lists and see that glorious little reminder?
Too often we forget to applaud ourselves for those things we achieve. If you're the boss or an entrepreneur, who's giving you credit for a job well done?
We all need a little praise, and a visual reminder of past accomplishments can give us a much-needed boost when we may be in the weeds.
I encourage all of you to do this: Write a list filled with things you enjoy doing. Paste it up as a reminder. Just looking at it will give you a lift!
Hopefully, you will even spoil yourself one day and put a gold star at the top of it.
Name: Elisa Delgardio, CSEP, PBC
Company: A Flair for Affairs
Address: P.O. Box 141476
Orlando, FL 32814 USA
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site: www.aflairforaffairs.com