Design Your Time

clock 2I thought this post was interesting because it refers to ‘designing’ your time, rather than ‘managing’ it.

Because we all know that we don’t manage time…it’s still 24 hours a day, no more, no less.

What we really manage are our decisions about how and where we spend our 24 hours.

The post refers to breaking tasks into quadrants and I’m a big fan of that.  And perhaps there are a few other things mentioned that aren’t new…because there really isn’t anything new in time management….except our tools and how we use them.

So take a minute, read the post, and see if you can design something that helps you begin to design the day-week-month-year-life you want!

Motivation and Environment

motivation 2I’ve started exercising and watching my food…again. 3 other friends were interested in doing the same thing so we started a private group online.

Today I ran across this post entitled Motivation is overvalued. Environment often matters more.

The 3 things the author lists under ‘How to  design a better environment’ are spot on.

So I have…

  • Automated – Anything and everything requiring decision points.
  • Removed whatever physical roadblocks existed  – Lay my clothes out the night before and found the closest gym .
  • Planned – Got organized about measuring progress (a Fitbit, My Fitness Plan app, etc.).

Works like a charm.

You can take a similar path when it comes to improving your productivity. Ya just gotta wanna!

Why not start now?!

Your Awareness and Your Outcomes

3 dotsIn this post, the author defines 3 levels of knowing  as…

simplicity

complexity

informed simplicity

 

I wish I’d read this post a couple weeks ago when working with an executive team.

Why? Because the questions I received and interaction that ensued demonstrated an awareness of the simple, fundamental principles involved with improving their time management skills. Statements were something like…’We already know that’.  Great. I’m happy they’re familiar with these simple, fundamental principles.

Were they using the principles by applying their knowledge?

‘Well…not really.  I/we started and then got sidetracked’.

This is about the time I share the concept that organization and time management principles are simple, but not always easy to apply…in part because they may feel a bit complex.

‘Ah, yes!’ they nod.

‘Perhaps we should get started?’ I ask.

Yes…they agree.

Now we’re ready to get down to the business of informed simplicity in hopes of helping them make change.

So in the future I think I’ll just talk about the 3 levels of knowing and how informed simplicity is where we all need to end up!

The Choice of This or That

choice

What we eat can either help us or break us down.
Ellie Shepley, Wellness Coach

What you think can either ‘empower or disempower you’ .
Tony Robbins, self-help guru

Successful originals take extreme risk in one area and offset them with extreme caution in another.
Adam Grant, The Originals

I alternated between extreme deprivation and extreme indulgence.
S
omeone talking about their weight struggles

It’s all about choice, isn’t it?

Focused On The Wrong Foot

Zumba_1

I decided I needed more exercise (!) and wanted to try something different. So I began going to a Zumba class which is basically exercising to music.

There are many different types of Zumba…cardio, Gold, aqua…but I decided to go to just a regular class.  The music in my class was Latin and HipHop. I was new at this and I didn’t know the steps so to catch on I watched the instructor.

Try as I may, I just wasn’t getting the hang of a certain step. I’m a pretty coordinated person and can easily pick-up steps…except, it seemed, this one. Hmm.

So I kept fumbling around and after the third class I realized that for whatever reason, on this particular step, I was watching the wrong foot. I should have been looking at where my foot was planted, rather than watching the foot that was kicking in the air. Hard to describe but I’m sure you get the idea.

Once I realized I was focused on the wrong thing I shifted my focus and began rockin’ the step.

Then it occurred to me…isn’t that kind of how it is when we focus our time on the wrong thing. It seems all up-hill and very frustrating until we realize we just need to shift focus. We do that and voila!  It all seems easy peasey.

Lesson learned.

Desire Paths in Time Management

walking path

The other day I watched a TedTalk on the design of walking paths. This topic itself doesn’t fascinate me…it was the underlying message about walkers who take shortcuts. I picked up on a phrase the speaker used…Desire Paths. This is where ‘design and user experience diverge’.

When do you think about taking a shortcut? Usually when it seems faster and frequently when it seems easier and sometimes when it seems a better idea at the moment. OK…pretty common. But sometimes this type of reasoning doesn’t work well when you apply it to time management.

Unless it’s some type of emergency situation, you may take time management shortcuts that in the long run actually cost you time and stress. It’s where the ‘design and user experience diverge’. What the heck am I talking about?

  • You need to do something important. But you’ve taken shortcuts towards other things that seem ‘important’ but are really only ‘urgent’. And that desire path sidelines you from working on your priorities.
  • Because of that shortcut now you have to do something that’s important. You’re behind the eight-ball.  All kinds of shortcuts crop up with many of them producing more stress.
  • And then there are the times you want to do something. But a series of shortcuts (excuses/delayed decisions/poor planning, etc.) have already cropped up and uh-oh…now you can’t do what you really wanted to do because your time got used up.

Maybe it’s time to identify your desire paths and shortcuts and think about getting back to the original design…? Just sayin’.