Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant
Location: Santa Rosa, Calif.
As we’ve talked about play and focusing on the rights things this week, I’d like to close out our conversation by mentioning a few ways to use your time as effectively as possible.I can’t help but think of the phrase in some book contracts that states, “time being of the essence” the author must meet his or her deadlines because so much hangs in the balance for the publisher.
Time is of the essence for all of us, isn’t it? Here are a few tips for our time:
- Limit your options. You know how overwhelming it can feel to go to the grocery store knowing you need to buy bread,but when you reach the bread section, you’re faced with a veritable buffet of options. French, sourdough, wheat, white, rye, sliced, unsliced…That’s true for our days as well. We have so many options of how we will spend the dear coin of our time. Might I suggest you limit your options? Rather than looking at all the possibilities, focus on the ones that you know will lead to accomplishing your goals. That might mean not watching TV in the evenings, or foregoing the temptation to spend a few hours reading the newspaper.
- Know you can’t do everything. Isn’t that a refreshing and liberating thought? If you start the day trying to get it all done, you’re defeating before you begin. Stop believing you’re a multi-tasker. Studies show we all suck at it. What we’re actually doing is switching from one task to another at a rapid pace. Instead, focus on the next thing on your to-do list.
- Use a calendar. Every morning transfer your to-do list onto your calendar, apportioning realistically how long each task will take. And add some breathing room in your calendar for interruptions–important items you didn’t plan on that need to be added into your day.
- Give yourself breaks. Pause at regular intervals throughout the day to ask yourself, Am I doing what I need to be doing? This reality check keeps us from straying too far in a time-wasting direction. Emails, Facebook and Twitter are inherent magnets that, once they pull us in, are hard to push away from. Set specific amounts of time every day for each of these entities and know why you’ve prioritized them as you have.
Using these simple concepts will help you to close out your day with the knowledge that, time being of the essence, you’ve used yours well.
Now, let me confess that I wrote this blog because I need to follow my own advice. I’m mumbling, Physician heal thyself. Spending my time wisely is perhaps the biggest challenge of my day because I have such a variety of tasks to complete: attending to each client, attending to each publisher, paying attention to what’s happening in publishing news, staying in the social media game, thinking about how to make our agency work more efficiently and creatively, writing blogs, staying up with what each agent in our agency needs, planning the next business trip, catching up from the last business trip…I feel like I’m back in the grocery store’s bread section just writing all this.
What time-is-of-the-essence concepts are working well for you? I can use all the help I can get!