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Posts Tagged ‘Time Management’

8-one-change-at-a-time

With exams around the corner, it is inevitable that students and often their parents feel the pressure of managing the study time tables so as to perform well. That is also the time when time pressure, the accumulated backlog of studies and the need to overhaul one’s life suddenly begins to overwhelm all the stake holders in this game. A similar situations crop up in our life off and on and the need to overhaul our life is the one common constant irrespective of which phase of life we are in. In trying to overhaul one’s life, the cardinal mistake we make is, thinking that we can overturn all the bad habits we have imbibed over the years, overnight. Just as you and I took nine months to be born, just like a year takes twelve months to change and a day requires 24 hours to be completed before a new day begins, we have to patiently work on small changes in our attitude, style and behavior before the effects of transformation are visible.

The four essentials for transformation are:

Deciding to change – This is the first step in bring about any meaningful change in one’s life. Until one decides to change, the status quo would always seem impossible to change. Excuses, rationalization and reconciliation with the existing situation would constantly nag you into succumbing to the status quo. Decide that you need to change your habits, your style, adopt a different strategy E.g. You know you have to spend more hours studying. You will find enough reasons why you are unable to do so and rationalize your decision for not being able to change and finally reconcile that you are a mediocre student. The same holds true for those wanting to lose weight but not being able to get themselves to eat healthy or exercise.

Planning the change – Once you decide to change, the key is to spend some time planning how you are going to bring about the change and be the change you want. Many of us fail in this step simply because we visualize that implementation of the plan is impossible. If you can outline the map to achieving what your goal is, you would at least have a clear agenda to follow. E.g. Having a clear time table to study is the first step in ensuring you are able to do justice to each subject that you have to study. Those subjects requiring practice or additional study, however much you dislike the subject, must be allotted more time.

Implementing the change – This is the toughest part of the process of transformation. At this stage you are attempting to move away from all that you felt comfortable doing despite knowing the consequences, to disciplining yourself doing unpleasant things, in the hope that it will give you good results. The tough part is beginning, the tougher part is motivating yourself to continue but the toughest part is keeping the momentum going. The trick is to visualize the small changes, mentally see yourself inching yourself forward towards your goals and occasionally noting how much you have progressed and how closer you are to your final goal.

Being patient – This is the most important virtue because without it, one would be tempted to give up. Patience comes from self belief, from charting out progress and being reasonable about your expectations at every given time line. Occasionally you could be slipping as per your plans, at other times you feel your pace is slow and many times there seems to be no motivation to pursue your plans. Remember the number of times you fell of your bicycle before you managed to master it or the number of times you felt you were drowning before you learned to swim. The lure of the eventual goal must be so encompassing that you become patient enough to trudge along despite all the obstacles that come your way.

Try these:

  • Try to play a new sport or pick up a new hobby. Notice how you take time to gain expertise, despite your possible talent in that field.
  • List out 3 changes that you want to bring about in your life. Outline what is stopping you from doing it. Plan and implement the plan to bring about the change.
  • Challenge yourself to overcome a constant criticism that you often encounter either from your spouse / child/ friend / colleague / well wisher.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

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28-My dayWe would really have to search hard to find people who love Monday’s. Out of the few who do, a vast majority of them would be people who have their weekly off on a day other than a Sunday, so the equivalent for Monday for them would be the day following their weekly off. So what is that about Monday’s that gives so many of us Monday morning blues? It is not that most of us are lazy; nor is it that we do not love what we do; nor is it because we would like to do what we please without the rigors of a disciplined work life ( ask any retired person and he/she will tell you how time weighs very heavily on their hands once they retire and every day is a Sunday). So then why is that Monday’s are so dreaded? Perhaps it is because we have never visualized Monday as being something useful, something special and something to be cherished. The moment one looks at Monday as being ‘My Day’ our approach to Monday would be drastically different. Our appreciation of not just Monday but every day would be much more whole hearted and you would then learn to value and look forward to each day with greater enthusiasm.

My day provides you the following:

The freedom to utilize it – Once you visualize Monday or for that matter any day as My Day, the chores of the day are no longer burdens but a means to make an honest living by doing them cheerfully, passionately and uniquely. Yes, even everyday jobs can be fun when one viewed as a personal contribution, in a personalized style leading to a fulfilled goal. It is true that you cannot avoid what has to be done but it is equally true that you have the freedom to approach and execute the task with enthusiasm, hope and an aim to do the task well. Instead of work if you were going on a picnic on a Monday, would you yearn for Monday?

A reason to begin afresh – Not just Monday’s but everyday that is My Day enables me to begin afresh. The mistakes of the past, the pain and difficulties are left behind. Start afresh, see each day as having something new and fresh to offer. Perhaps it is the beginning of a new relationship, a new job responsibility, the beginning of good times to come. Notice how athletes who do not win still compete with equal vigor in the succeeding meet. They know that each day gives them a chance to begin afresh and hopefully attain their goal. Now are you going to make use of the opportunity each day gives, to begin afresh?

A chance to do good – When each day is seen as My Day each one gets the chance to bring out the best in him/ her. The best is not just in going about doing one’s duty. The chance to do good is displayed in our approach, the small actions, the feelings we express and the attitude we bring along. Nothing beats a smile to get everyone enthusiastic. Encouragement and appreciation for others do not lag behind a smile in injecting a healthy dose of goodness around us. Listening is an essential goodness that is acute short supply and every day that is My Day gives me the chance to pay attention to others who may just be seeking to vent their feelings. Of course kindness and monetary support are two extremes of goodness that are much valued too. So what good do you plan to do today?

The opportunity to prove your worth – Have you ever noticed that the person who is most missed is the one who does the most menial of jobs; the janitor, the porter, the clerk in the office, the chauffer. Is it ironic that the Chairman and the Board of Director are never really missed though apparently they are the ones who are the highest paid and wield the most power. True they perform a function that is of a high intellectual caliber but that in no way diminishes the contribution of the menial staff. So no matter what work you do, you are performing a very important task. Each new day that is seen as My Day gives each of us the opportunity to prove our worth not by being absent but by being proactive, enthusiastic and cheerful whenever present. So can you now dress smart, move energetically, carry a big smile and fee energized this Monday and every other day that you see as MY Day?

Ample moments to live, laugh and love – A day of twenty four hours is a pretty long time if you are prisoner but is rather too little when in love. When you get Monday morning blues you are a prisoner of your thinking. The moment you visualize Monday and every other day as My Day you fall in love with each day and time flies. There is an air of expectancy, there is unbridled enthusiasm, there is skip in your step, there is laughter all around and you fall in love with your work when Monday and every other day becomes My Day. So are you ready to embrace Monday and every other day as My Day? Go forth an make the most of this Monday and every other day that henceforth you will call My Day?

Try these:

  • Do you know what a Mayday signal is? Find out about it. Ensure you do not confuse My Day with Mayday.
  • Do you have a routine for each day? How do you ensure that you make the best use of each day?
  • List out 5 good things about Monday. How can you make a Monday be more fun than a Friday evening?
  • How would you cope with sudden unexpected problems that crop up and yet remain positive and enthusiastic? e.g. Just as I was about to post this blog my computer crashed.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

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Make the most of today.  Translate your good intentions to actual deeds. Grenville Kleiser

Every one is born good and so for the vast part of our early life at least, each one of us gets up with a feeling that the day will be wonderful and that there is a lot of joy for us to partake off. However when we begin to face some blips in our lives, begin to fear things, experience the pain of sorrow, failure, rejection and loneliness that is when we slowly adjust to the real world and become more circumspect and wary of each new day. Over time, depending on our circumstances and our experiences, we are either more positive or less enthusiastic when we get up each day. Yet what we do not realize is that we have the rare blessing of being able to experience HAPPINESS every single day if we can begin our day with good intentions and get going on translating those wonderful intentions into concrete actions.

The simplest thing that we all can do is SMILE…it costs nothing and as they say a SMILE is a curve that can set a lot of things straight. Look around and identify how many people you know who are around you right now who frown more than they smile. Ask yourself if you are guilty of the same and walking around as if all the cares of the world are on your shoulders? No matter what our problems are, there is nothing that stops us from smiling and spreading a little joy in our every waking hour. When we learn to smile, no matter what, we would have developed the fine art of nurturing Positive Thinking and displaying a Positive Attitude. With positivity within us we can take on the most mundane or the most challenging tasks and do a great job of executing it. No day is ever wasted then for we actively seek out opportunities to participate in.

To ensure that we can translate good intention into action, the most important thing is to have a whole list of good intentions. This means that one has to actually think up and list out varied tasks that you can take up and contribute too meaningfully. It could be personal tasks, social tasks, voluntary work, It is equally important that we put deadlines to the tasks or we would succumb to the common malady of procrastination. It is also vital that we realize that we need to take on those tasks that we are capable of and not bite of more than what we can chew. Our ego is often a stumbling block that will hide this reality from us. Equally essential to be aware of is our tendency to simply do tasks that are easy, oft repeated, non challenging and tasks that can be easily delegated. Learn to delegate or we would do a lot of tasks and not get any satisfaction because we have not grown in the process.

Perhaps a large number of us can now identify with the reality as to why at end of day many of us are not really enthusiastic or happy about the day gone by. The answer lies in the realization that the enormous potential of the day that was available to us to execute our good thoughts and deeds were not utilized by us. In most cases because of lack of planning, lethargy, inept handling or sheer casualness we have botched up the opportunities. In extreme cases, let alone utilize the opportunities we may have actually gone on an ego trip and fouled up things in sheer spite, desperation or anger. When we have wasted our day instead of just regretting it, ask if you flashed enough smiles around to charge yourself up. If not, focus on that first and soon you will be energized enough to proactively get involved in the opportunities that come your way.

Remember: The three hardest tasks in the world are neither physical feats nor intellectual achievements, but moral acts: to return love for hate, to include the excluded, and to say, “I was wrong”.”Sydney J. Harris

Try this:

  1. With Christmas around the corner, list out the gifts you need to buy and the greetings you need to send, With the new year around the coroner there is no better time than now to making your new year resolution list. By this time next year, check out how effectively you implemented your New Year Resolutions
  2. Form the habit of jotting down your to do list and update the work done regularly. Practice taking on challenging tasks, delegating mundane tasks and learn the art of clubbing tasks so that you can be even more productive and make the best use of each day by translating your good intentions into fruitful action.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog   www.poweract.blogspot.com

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He who begins many things finishes but few. Italian proverb

Multitasking is the buzz word that sets the cat among the pigeons in this fast paced world. The ability to do manifold work of varied nature is considered a key differentiator when selecting a recruit and yet this can also be the bane of the work place. While people may be adept at a variety of tasks it is obvious that he/ she will be excellent in some tasks and reasonably good in others and perhaps passable in a few. The trouble though is that human beings are prone to mistakes of omission and commission and so the effectiveness of the multitasking can be just about average. More importantly, there is a tendency to start working on many tasks and leave almost all of it partially done by the time deadline has arrived.

Many a time we are under the mistaken delusion that without us nothing can happen and as a result we end up poking our finger in every pie. We enthusiastically jump into every new challenge with gusto and bravado, little realizing the commitment and complexities involved. No sooner we hit a road block our enthusiasm is dampened, our gusto is diminished and our self belief takes a beating. Thereafter we give only cursory attention to the task just enough to show involvement but not enough to take it to its logical end. There are some of us who just cannot say no and so go on taking new assignments. Many of what we take on is half hearted. The other tasks are not our forte and what is really our core strength can get marginalized in the process. At the end when we take stock of our achievements we are left frustrated that our potential has been wasted and there is very little left to show as achievement.

It is the procrastinators who have the biggest problem for they always have a perennially unending list of tasks all in various stages of urgencies that create a chaos in their lives. It is a catch 22 situation where their tardiness expands their list of tasks and the huge list of tasks in turn terrifies them and so the quality of output is dismal, leaving behind a trail of unfinished jobs. Finally there are those people who are terrified of delegating any tasks for fear of someone usurping them or taking credit for the tasks. The end result is that they end up getting involved in menial work, unproductive work, focus on jobs they are comfortable with and their critical jobs are then handled in a rush thereby leaving gaping holes in it and completing it in a shabby and unbefitting manner.

The way forward to ensure that we are not overburdened with useless, futile and unimportant jobs is in classifying all the jobs into jobs to be done by me, jobs to be delegated and sundry jobs that can be taken care of by others. This classification is tricky for there is a matter of judgment to be exercised and that comes out of experience and practice. It is also a good practice to focus on the toughest tasks and get it out of the way so that the anxiety and pressure associated with it is mitigated at the earliest. Our mind is then free to focus on other relatively easier tasks. Putting deadlines and breaking major tasks into smaller sub tasks can also help dramatically. Without deadlines tasks have no seriousness attached to it. The deadline also helps us focus more vigorously and push ourselves to completing whatever is on hand.

Remember: “Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.”  Alexander Graham Bell

Try this:

  1. Recreate the school science experiment by taking a piece of paper and using a magnifying glass to let the suns rays pass through in a concentrated form to ignite the paper. This will help us realize the power of focusing and also transport us to the good old days.
  2. Make it a practice to write down your thoughts and list out the tasks to be done. This means that you always carry a paper and pen and /or ensure they are always handy.  It would also help if you use a daily or the appointment function in your mobile phone more efficiently. To begin with make it a practice to make a birthday list of as many people as you can and wish them without fail. This is a routine but effective task that cannot be delegated.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

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I must govern the clock, not be governed by it. Golda Meir

Often we are victims of our own folly and nothing makes it as crystal clear as our own approach to managing our own affairs. The primary problem relates to how we make use of the time at our disposal. Far too often we squander it, other times we live in dread of it, occasionally we make a determined effort to use it effectively and in rare cases we do manage to stick to our plans and use our time fruitfully. There is of course the oddball who becomes an extension of a clock and lives life by the tick tock of the clock one who neither stops to smell the flowers nor pauses to smile at a child. Amidst this rigmarole, individually, each of us at varying times has danced to the rhythm of the second, minute and hour hand but rarely  been able to keep time and hence became an ungainly sight.

No one can ever complaint that time discriminates for time is available to every single living being in identical measure without fear or favor. Time is thus the one resource that is freely available, in ample supply and yet remains an enigma. We have attempted to understand it by studying the movement of the sun and carved out 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night, we have studied the climatic changes and  classified time into seasons, by developing calendars we have attempted to capture in broad slots of 12 months and 365 days and finally through  sheer resourcefulness we have developed both the analog and digital clocks to track the nano bits of time. Unfortunately while al our attempts to track time have succeeded we have not mastered the concept of time and therefore end up feeling frustrated that we haven’t utilized the time available to us fruitfully.

The concept of time management can be simplified to read as Organize, strategize and prioritize. To be organized means to have all our requirements identified, sorted and kept handy. ‘ A place for everything and everything in its place’ would  encapsulate the whole gamut of being organized.  To strategize would involve outlining our long term and short term goals, preparing a blueprint for achieving those goals and having alternatives in hand if the need to bypass arises. It is prioritizing that is the bugbear of many simply because it involves choosing between alternatives and this is easier said than done. Human nature being what it is, allocating priorities is not a mere rational act but is a deeply emotional extravaganza. This implies that the usage of time is highly personal and an individual decision that cannot be carved in stone. Herein lies the problem and the solution as to how to govern the clock.

My writing this blog at this precise moment is a choice I have made just as you reading this at this moment is because of the choice you made. Some could argue that this is neither the time to write nor the right time for you to read but ultimately it is the priority that you have allocated that determines your choice.  Let me thank you for having prioritized well because if you didn’t read this, I would have been wasting my time. You must also take a moment to pat yourself on the back for having prioritized well  for after reading this you must be rejuvenated and charged up to organize, strategize and prioritize the rest of your day.

Remember: Don’t count every hour in the day, make every hour in the day count.”

Try this:

  1. Identify people amongst your family/ friends/ well know personalities or situations that you find yourself in for whom the following is applicable. (I have attempted to give you an example each in brackets)
  • “Time is
  • too slow for those who wait – (an expectant mother)
  • too swift for those who fear –  ( a convict on death row)
  • too long for those who grieve – (a student who has flunked and has to appear again)
  • too short for those who rejoice – ( a medal winning sportsperson)
  • but for those who love, time is eternity. – ( a passionate painter)
  1. Try timing the following to make you more aware of time
  • The time taken for a cup of water to boil
  • Time spend by you on doing a routine unpleasant task
  • Time spend by you talking on your mobile phone
  • Time spend by you in being critical / finding fault with others/ being negative

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

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The most important thing in our lives is what we are doing now.

For every human being, time is the most precious resource for the simple reason that it cannot be replenished. Time lost is lost forever and since it is said that time is money, every second lost is money lost. Viewed differently time lost is actually opportunity lost; for grabbing opportunities is possible only when they present themselves at the right time. Does this mean that the time we waste in gossip, watching TV, sleeping or idling away are a frivolous waste of time?  The answer to this depends on our priorities. Sleep is mandatory but oversleeping is criminal. Similarly watching TV to relax and unwind is excellent use of time except when we become a slave to the TV. Yes even gossip is a social need to bond and possibly let out steam. This brings us to an interesting conclusion, that what we are doing now is the most important thing for us.

The question for most of us now is how to ensure that we do only the most important thing with our time. The trick is to be pragmatic in allocating priorities. Being pragmatic involves knowing what we want to achieve, having clarity on the reason we are pursuing that goal and ensuring that the priority does not rob us from leading a quality lifestyle. Setting goals will help us focus on what we have to achieve. SMART goals vis. Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bound goals are what we must set for ourselves. Getting clarity on the compelling need for us to pursue that goal is much more tougher. This would involve us asking some hard questions about the potential benefit of the goal, the effort result payoff and the influence the attainment of the goal has to us personally and to society at large. E.g. Doing a Ph.D after retirement would be a worthwhile goal to pursue, provided we leverage that qualification and learning. Doing a Ph.D just to keep ourselves occupied would be a very poor goal to pursue.  The final question that we need to honestly ask is Are we pursuing a goal and allocating a priority purely for our own self gratification needs? Will the goal we prioritize seriously disturb our family life, our social life and our own personal life?

Why are we so ineffective in managing our time? A large part of that blame rests purely on our shoulders. While there are external time wasters over which we have limited control like telephone calls, meetings being called by seniors, being kept waiting despite having appointments etc. the real culprit is our own personal tardiness and casualness which we can really control. The two biggest culprits that make us ineffective time managers are Procrastination and Decision making.  There are other contributors too like personal disorganization, poor listening skills and our inability to say NO to any time commitments that come our way. The way out is to be aware of these time robbers that we are personally responsible for and either through training or a disciplined approach we have to over come them.

When we are sure that what we do now is what is the most important thing our conscious is at peace, our efforts are rarely in vain, there is a sense of achievement and most importantly we would never have any regrets in life.

Remember: “Don’t count every hour in the day, make every hour in the day count.”

Try this:

  1. Prepare your own SMART goals. Make it exhaustive and where ever possible break down large goals into smaller goals with target dates penciled in. Prioritize the list in order of importance and urgency. Ensure you read it frequently and act on it daily. Review your day before going to bed and plan the day before you begin work in the morning.
  2. Attempt this Priorities Test
  • Five things are happening in your house at the same time. In which sequence would you solve them?
    • The telephone is ringing!
    • The baby is crying!
    • Someone’s knocking or calling you from the front door!
    • You hung the clothes out to dry and it is beginning to rain!
    • You left the tap on in the kitchen and the water is already overflowing!

(View the next post in www.poweract.blogspot.com for an interesting interpretation of your time priorities. Ensure that your own answer to the above is kept at hand when going through the interpretation.)

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

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Nothing is worth more than this day. Johann von Goethe

Too often we put a very high value on money and the worldly goods / possessions that money can buy. We blissfully ignore the reality that intangibles like strong family ties, harmonious relations ships and a clear conscience are far more valuable, for money can’t buy these. Yet much more valuable than all this is the moment; this very moment and the day that is formed by all the moments strung together.

The beauty of today lies in its uniqueness for each person. Although it is available in the same identical measure to every one yet it has a unique DNA that makes it so different and so special for each one of us. No two days are ever the same and when we are happy the hours fly by and when we are sad and forlorn, time almost ceases and never seems to move. The morning brings hope, the night rest and depending on how we used the opportunities of the day, we will either sleep well or sleeplessly toss and turn, feeling miserable that we can not turn the clock back.

A good day is one when we have attained all we set out to do, a day when we are blessed with good tidings and moments of bliss and ecstasy. To make every day count and become invaluable we need to realize that we have to plan our day. No doubt there will be numerous changes and adjustments required during the course of the day but the end goal will rarely change or remain unattained. Planning enables us to clarify our goals, put in place an action plan, visualize the rewards and work purposefully towards our goals. Every goal we achieve is a victory for our spirit and spurs us to redefine our goals, take up even bigger challenges and helps us realize our full potential.

While goals give us direction and a target to guide our efforts, the day itself gives us ample opportunities to grow rich in spirit, widen our horizons, expand out circle of friends, bond intimately with our family and experience the mercy and blessings of GOD. Today is yours NOW, cling tightly to its bosom and drink amply from its bounty; for tomorrow is another DAY.

Remember: Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dream. Kahlil Gibran

Try these:

Analyise your day in time slots of 1 hour each. Write down what you do and how you spent your time. Do this for a week and you will find a pattern. Examine how much how time was fruit fully spent and how much was wasted. Ask yourself if a lack of planning and not having a goal contributed in some way to not using your day properly.

When you visit your doctor or dentist and you are forced to wait till you are called how do you spend your time? Do you do something meaningful or just while away your time frivolously? Does the same thing happen when you are waiting in the airports or railway stations and there are delays or do you plan something specific to take care of time available when there are delays?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com 

You are also invited to visit our weekly Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

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