Category Archives: Time Management

What do you do when you see the orange cones?

A joke here in South Dakota is that in the summer the state bird is the Crane. As in ‘construction crane’. It is so true!

We need to utilize the nice summer days to get the bulk of construction completed. In particular, the roads. It seems everywhere I go in Sioux Falls or on the Interstate there are those beautiful orange cones. When they come into sight I know I’m going to be sitting awhile.

I always have 3 choices:

  1. Stay home and not go anywhere
  2. Drive my normal route and go through the construction which will make the drive at least twice as long.
  3. Learn a new route to avoid construction.

They are all valid choices. But, here are the issues with #1 and #2: If you choose one of those it can be extremely frustrating and it will seem like you are going nowhere. At least with #2 you eventually get there but with #1 you never get to your destination.
I like #3. Learn a new route, see a part of the city that is just 1-2 blocks off the main road, and have no frustration.

In fact, I love #3!

These choices are true in your life as well. If you want to make changes and live a fuller and richer life there are 3 choices:

  1. Do nothing
  2. Keep doing the same things over and over and never get different results.
  3. Learn a new way to live

Again, I love #3!

  • Do you want to eat healthier but buy the same food at the store?
  • Do you want to grow your business but spend 1/2 the day on Facebook?
  • Do you want to fit into a different size of clothing but are not implementing movement into your daily routine?
  • Do you want to have positive, encouraging friends but keep hanging out with the negative nellies?
  • Do you want to start new habits but never get past day 3 in implementing the new habit?

 

I could go on and on but that list is not particularly fun to read!

I’m going to assume you want to choose choice #3 for your life. Great!

Pick one area in your life (career/business, family, relationships, faith, health, personal growth, finances, or home environment). Now decide what one small thing you can change.

Could you?

  • Drink more water
  • Walk up and down your stairs 3 times
  • Set a timer for Facebook
  • Reach out to someone who always makes you feel better and set a date to get together
  • Put a new habit in your calendar as a recurring appointment
  • Decide on a time each day for meditation or devotions
  • Organize a small kitchen drawer
  • Read an online article on a subject you are passionate about

See, it’s not that hard!

The challenge I see is even keeping up with small changes. It can be so easy to go back to the same route.

Let today, Wednesday, July 26, 2017 be your dividing line in the sand. No more of the same – it’s time to learn a new route.

I love helping in every area of life but in particular self-care. Very, very few people are taking the time for themselves.

The results are stress, low self-esteem, exhaustion, etc.

Let’s turn this around.

Join me this Thursday, July 27 at 11 AM Central (Noon ET, 10 AM Mountain, 9 AM Pacific) in my Clear the Desk Movement Facebook group for a live presentation on Self-Care Sanity.

Put the date and time in your calendar and then pop into the Clear the Desk Movement page at that time and I’ll be there live.

Not a member of the Clear the Desk group yet? Go to the page and ask to join.

I will not only give you tips and actions steps to have self-care be a part of your normal routine but also invite you to join me for 90 days in my DESIRE Personal Empowerment Program.

Post-It Notes, really?!

30post-it-notes-planning

 

Have you ever planned what you wanted to do that day only to find at the end of the day you did everything BUT what you had planned?

I was visiting my amazing friend, Theresa Rose, in Minneapolis. She showed me a unique way to know what you want to do each day and stay on track. Very unique. Using Post-It Notes!

She has a home office and in her office is a fireplace with 5 tiles at the top. She takes unique colored post-it-notes and labels them: Marketing, Sales, Network, Social Media, Admin, Book, etc. She then looks at her calendar to see if she has a speaking event that week. If she does, she puts a ‘Job’ Post-It Note on the day’s tile. Then she takes her other Post-It Notes of tasks she wants to accomplish that week and puts them in the ‘am’ or ‘pm’ spot on her tiles.

She can just glance at the tile to know what she needs to do. Genius!

So, of course, with her blessing, I did what she did! I used the cupboard theresa-computerabove my desk and there are 6 doors. Perfect. One for each day Monday through Saturday.

Now I know exactly what to do every day.

Theresa also has a very cool way to make sure she does what she says she’s going to do. She puts a bright-colored Post-It Note on her computer that says, “Back On Track”!

Do you need a new way to look at your week? If so, give the post-it-note thing a try!

That little voice

Is there anything that you can think of that you wish you had gotten done already?  Is it bugging you?  I’m assuming the answer is ‘yes’!

addi-alex-slideYou may think when you leave your office you leave the unfinished tasks in the office but you are wrong.  Everything that is uncompleted comes home with you in your mind and can weigh heavy on your shoulders.  As you’re playing catch with your daughter that ‘little’ voice in your head is saying “You shouldn’t be out here. You should be back at work finishing _____.”  When you are at the park with your grandchildren and you are thinking about the half-finished craft project at home. When you’re out on your date night with your spouse you may be thinking about the report sitting on your desk and not fully ‘be’ on your date.  This does not feel good and can cause real problems.

What’s happening is procrastination and it is very common – you are not alone.

Procrastination is living life with the brakes on as you tell yourself “I don’t have time for this,” or “I don’t know how to do this so I’ll put it here for now.”  You constantly stop yourself.  But whenever you put ‘something here for now’ you are simply postponing and when you do that your ‘little’ voice will go into overtime reminding you of what you haven’t gotten done.  It’s interesting that it rarely reminds you of all the great things you’ve done!

There are a lot of great books about procrastination but I’ve discovered as a ‘recovering procrastinator’ a simple cure if you do it!

The next time you pick up a piece of paper that is a reminder of an action you need to do and you are SO tempted to put it back on your desk for later – STOP – put it back up to your face where you can see it and ask yourself “What is the next one thing I can do?”  Just one thing.  Figure that out and do it.  Yes, right away! When that is done ask yourself “What is the next one thing I can do?”  Do that and keep going.  Sound simple?  Yes, but it works. You will be amazed at how quickly the task gets done (much faster than you think) and how wonderful you will feel about yourself.  No more little voice!

Another tip that helps me is to set a timer for 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break.  pinktimerYou can do anything for 25 minutes! If you focus on just one task, there’s a great chance that when the timer goes off the task is done or very close to being done.

Pick one thing right now that you’ve been putting off. Figure out what is one thing that you can do toward this task and do it.  Then keep going by doing the next and then the next.  Let me know how great you feel!

 

 

Tickle your way to productivity

I was thinking about my systems in my office that keep me sane and productive. Sane being the most important!

What makes me crazy is trying to get a lot of different things done at one time (which never works) and realizing later that nothing got done.

Sierra Exif JPEG

The system that keeps me most on track and helps me to get things done on time is my Tickler File. This is an age-old system and it never fails me.

The Tickler File is 31 folders for each day of the month and 12 more folders for each month.

If I want to make sure I get a project done by the 12th, I put my notes for that project in the 10th. On the 10th I pull out my notes and get to work knowing I’ve got plenty of time to get it done.

If it’s something that needs to be done in a future month I put it in that month’s folder and it’s there to remind me when I need it.

I hope this sounds really simple; because it is.

I think that we complicate things way too much now days. We have all of these great electronic devices and apps but do we really use them?

It may be time to go back and make things simple.

A few years ago I wrote an article on how to use the Tickler File System with Action folders. You can access the article here.

What will you tickle today!?

Want to set up the Tickler File System in your office?

tickler-file-systemYou can Google ‘Tickler File’ and find one online or you can get my complete Tickler File System here. My system includes a CD on “How to Get Rid of Your Paper Piles…Once and for All!”

Priceless!

What are you putting off today?

Check out my guest post at Keeping it Personal

Is it time for you to take charge of your day?

Have you allowed your e-mails to be in charge for too long?

If you are like most people the first thing you do in your office is check your e-mails.  I used to be the same way and when I did that I would let the inbox rule how I started my day.

I had far more important things to do but I would brush those aside as I dealt with e-mail after e-mail thinking I was getting important stuff done…but just kidding myself.

In the May, 2012 Success magazine there is a great article by Mel Robbins called “Take Control of Your Day”.  She says “If your first act when you wake up is to check for texts or e-mails, then someone else sets your priorities before you’ve had breakfast.”

Mel’s solutions:

  • First thing when you get to your office is to do a brain dump for 5-10 minutes. Dump everything you need to do on paper.
  • Highlight the top 3 things that matter most to you. Doing this will make sure you start your day by focusing on what is most important to you.
  • Go to your calendar and find a 30-minute block of time to take of these 3 items. It doesn’t have to be first thing, but sometime today.
  • Now you’ve taken control of your day and NOW you can open up your inbox.

I’ve been doing this and it has changed everything.  Am I tempted to look at the e-mails? You bet.  But now I’m in charge of my day and not all the e-mails.

One thing that I do differently than Mel teaches is that after I do my brain dump I ask “What will I do today to reach my Optimistic Number of $___________?”  My Optimistic Number is the amount that I want to book every month in my business.   I look at all the projects, ideas, and to-do’s and highlight the 3 that will make my business grow.

The biggest difference between entrepreneurs who make it and those who don’t is their confidence.  Build your confidence by setting your own priorities each day.

The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. 

~~Stephen Covey

Now is your time. 2012 IS YOUR YEAR.

Just start…please!

When you look around your home or office are there things unfinished?

I’m going to assume the answer is yes!  You are not alone.

Procrastination is a huge issue for many.  When you live with procrastination you live life with the brakes on.  Not a great way to live.

The things that are unfinished in your life weigh you down wherever you go.

If you find yourself often thinking “I wish I had completed that project before leaving work.” Or, “I wish I had planned what to have for supper today a lot earlier.” Or, “I wish I had finished ________ before I started __________.”  These thoughts stay with you day and night.

The good news is there is a solution.  And, it is amazingly simple.

  • Set time in your calendar for a ‘things I’m putting off’ brain dump
  • Print out my procrastination sheet  
  • On the day of your brain dump write on the left side of the form everything that is unfinished
  • Pick one, just one
  • Ask yourself “What is just one action I can take toward this project?”
  • Write it on the right side of the form
  • Keep doing this for all of your projects
  • Go back and pick a project and DO what you wrote down
  • Then ask “What is the next thing I can do?” for the project you picked
  • Do it
  • Keep going on that project
  • It’s done!  Move on to the next one.

If you truly focus on one at a time you will be amazed at how quickly the projects get done and how amazing you feel

I’d love to hear what you are going to work on first!  Let me below in the comment section. I can’t wait to celebrate with you as you finish what you’ve been putting off!

ElizabethHagen.com  •  605-310-5764  •  Elizabeth@ElizabethHagen.com

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