Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Time Is An Illusion

My daughter starts school next week and my thoughts (as incoherent as they are) turn to what I'll do with all the "free" time I'll have. Since being laid off last year (exactly one year tomorrow), I've spent most of my days taking care of my daughter, surfing the web, making lunch, doing the laundry, helping my wife with the technical side of her jewelry business, looking for freelance projects and starting up my Tai Chi school I suppose my days won't change too much, except my daughter won't be here, but they do need to change.

Why, you ask? Easy, I'm not progressing and attaining my goals like I want. I do waste a lot of my time on the internet. Not really mindless surfing, but in reading email, searching for information and twitter (O.K., that is mindless :-)). I don't watch a lot of TV, except during football season. The TV I watch is targeted (just a few shows), but I sometimes will sit on the couch at night mindlessly watching TV. Lately, I've been trying to catch up on my email during this time.

I read an article today from Michael Masterson on How to Allocate Your Hours for Maximum Productivity. I've heard his theories before on Time Management in prior articles and books from him. I've also read Dan Kennedy's book No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs. He has a ruthless approach to Time Management which may seem draconian at first, but do make a lot of sense.

Kennedy and Masterson both have great tips for managing your time. The biggest time management tip both authors espouse is not reading your email first thing in the morning. What you should do first thing in the morning is something that takes you closer to a long-term goal.

Today, I found myself reading Masterson's article (delivered via email) and realized that I've spent the morning reading email and not doing anything on my To-Do list or anything that will get me closer to any of my goals. What is the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results! Certainly something needs to change if I'm to reach any of my goals.

With my daughter attending kindergarten next week, we've been getting up earlier (and going to bed earlier) so we can get to school on time. So, while I acclimatize both my daughter and myself to our new schedules, I pledge to practice better Time Management. I plan to do this by practicing some of my favorite Time Management tips.

Here are my top 5 Time Management tips that I pledge to practice daily:

  1. Do not read your email, or any type of web surfing, first thing in the morning. Save it for the end of the day.
  2. Put no more than three things on your To-Do list. Anything more and you'll be overwhelmed and may not do anything.
  3. Do the most important thing on your To-Do list first. As Brian Tracy puts it, "Eat That Frog."
  4. Work out or exercise first thing in the morning. Get the blood flowing! It's what your brain needs to have a productive day.
  5. Get up early. So you can exercise and spend time on the things important to you.
There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of Time Management tips. I've decided to work on these five for now.

Recommended reading:

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