Time Management

Flip a Coin to Decide? No way!

June 1st was National Flip a Coin day – but that’s a way I’ve ever used to make a decision.  Have you?  Did it work out?

 

 

Natl. Flip a Coin Day

Natl. Flip a Coin Day

 

For me, I like to make lists of whatever I’m doing. When I need to make a decision, I make a different type of list – the Ben Franklin Close.

What’s the Ben Franklin Close?

Ben Franklin close is about looking at an item and deciding it’s plus or minus values.  I prefer to think of it as Pros and Cons in two separate columns.  But there’s more than just Pros and Cons.

Weighing In

You could have an item that has more “weight” = it means more to you than another item.  Those items deserve more “points”.  So on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest, rate the item’s weight to you. 

Be careful to weigh each item individually and not against anything else you have listed.  Here’s a really simple example.  You’re going to balance your checkbook, but the question is do you do it today or another day?  

This example shows you that another day would be better.  You have other things to do.  This is a very simplistic example, but it gives you the idea that something could have high ratings on both sides – Pros and Cons. 

 

   Item:   Balance checkbook today?

  Pros    Rate Cons Rate
 balance off – want to reconcile   8  other priorities   10
need to do before automatic bills come in

  6

enough money to cover auto. withdrawals    9
 more time today   7  can do another day   8
Total   21    27

Next time you need to make a decision that isn’t coming quickly,

make a quick chart listing the pros and cons, but rate them too!

 


 

 

Accomplish More Together

Last weekend we had 32 degrees and 7.5 inches of snow in north Scottsdale AZ. My husband actually measured how much snow was on top of a low dividing wall.  I felt like I was back in Chicago looking at a white winter wonderland as the large flakes fell softly to the ground.  In the 14 years I’ve been in this house, it’s been our fourth snow, but this one was the most and lasted more than overnight.  If you drove just 8 blocks south, there wasn’t even a drop of snow on the ground!  You could only see it on the top of the mountains. When we drive north towards our house, we always watch the temperature gauge on the car as it drops about 10 degrees from the main city, but rarely down to freezing.

As my daughter said, she didn’t have to take Max and Miles several hours north to play in the snow – just 40 minutes to Grammie’s house!  After a few sled rides over the back patio, we all went into the side yard (the only place with grass) to play in the snow and build a snowman.

My Fairy Garden buried under 7.5 inches of snow

The snowman was a group accomplishment. Max and Miles (7 and 3)  brought the snow over to our snowman location.  Padding the snowman into shape was mostly from the adults because the boys kept trying to put bulky pieces on top and the snowman would break apart.  That was mostly because the rain on Sat. with the cold temps had made the snow more like ice than fluff.  I really knew it was hard-pack when Max threw a snowball at me — it hurt.  As I suspected, the next day I had a black-and-blue mark on my hip.

Next:  Make the snowman look like more than a mountain of snow!

Since the snowman needed to look like one, we added features to our “mountain”:

  • The arms came from some red poles that were used for a game of horseshoes.
  • The face and buttons came from small rocks the boys found on the ground.
  • The gloves were donated by my daughter.
  • The hat was donated from Max since he had a hood.
  • I didn’t have any carrots, so I used an orange bell pepper for his nose.

I think the bell pepper was better than a carrot – more like a nose!


All in all, we had a grand time.  But it wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t all have the same goal – to build a snowman together. The boys couldn’t have done it themselves, as evidenced by their bringing huge pieces over and toppling half the body several times.

It only happened because there was a common goal and we collaborated.  We helped each other from carrying the snow, to padding it down, to adding the features.  When you collaborate, you not only get different ideas (the bell pepper nose and pole arms with gloves), but you also have more fun. 

What project are you working on that you could collaborate on with others?

New Year – 3 Tips to Move Forward

How are your New Year’s Resolutions Going?

Goals at New Year's Eve Party
Friends Toasting New Year’s Eve

Did you make New Year’s Resolutions? Are you progressing? Some unknown person named Jan. 17th as Ditch Your New Year’s Resolutions Day. I don’t think you need to ditch them yet. It takes 30 days to make a habit. If you didn’t get going on your resolutions, it’s okay to get moving forward now. And if you did get going but aren’t moving along, here’s some ideas to re-activate your goals.

Success begets more success.

First, most resolutions are way too big, and you will miss the mark if you just go after the big goal itself. You can usually find several smaller goals within that one big goal. Chunking resolutions/goals down into smaller ones let’s you see more progress. More importantly, you have this sense of accomplishment of the smaller goal, and that makes you want to continue. Success begets more success. For example, your goal to drop 25 pounds won’t happen in one week so you’re smaller goal might be 1-2 pounds a week instead. When you accomplish 1-2 pounds a week, you feel better than only looking at the bigger goal of not reaching losing 25 pounds. When you steadily lose 1 pound a week, that sense of achieving your goal is the motivation to keep going.

Reward yourself.

Second, add another motivator — Take small rewards as you accomplish each step. If you lost 1 pound, have a 1-pound reward. If you organized one drawer, have a reward for that, not just one reward when you organize all your files or your whole office or the whole bedroom – those are bigger goals and get bigger rewards.

Make a list of small rewards that you could take like a cup of hot chocolate or hot apple cider (vs. your usual coffee), or a sweet treat, or reading a novel for 30 minutes. (Don’t do this last one at work unless it’s lunch time.)

Sweet Tray
Copyright Stock Unlimited

Chart it

Third, keep a chart of your progress as you accomplish each step. You could use a spreadsheet or even a handwritten list like: Week 1 small goal = 1 pound, and check it off when you have accomplished it. The same goes for week 2, 3, 4, etc. Reward yourself when you accomplish the 1 pound and don’t reward yourself if you don’t complete the small goal.

Make 2019 your best year ever!

Deliberate Practice

Did you know that you really need to do more than just repetition to make a significant improvement? On Toggl’s blog, (a time tracking service) Kat Boogard wrote about a technique called Deliberate Practice. She quoted Jeff Cobb who said “Deliberate practice is designed around improving performance, rather than sheer repetition. ” That’s why you don’t remember shortcuts you have done more than once, because it wasn’t focused concentration to remember it. Check this article out. You don’t have to be a member to read it, but you might want to check toggl out.

Naps can Rejuvenate you

Should you take a nap during work days?  Good question.

You wouldn’t want visitors, or even your boss, coming into the office and seeing you with your head down.

So your choices would be an empty conference room or private office. Or your car if it’s not too cold outside.

If you’re a home-based business, then it’s easy to go into your bedroom.  In either case, you might want to set an alarm on your phone to wake you at a certain time so you don’t nap too long.

Personally, I do work better in the morning and at night.  My downtime is the afternoon.  I feel rather slow and sluggish  in the afternoon and find it harder to concentrate which is why I try to do something routine like data entry in the afternoon.  Focusing and thinking are better for me in the morning or evening times.

So it would seem that I might want to nap in the afternoon and re-energize, but I haven’t really tried it.  The few times I’ve napped in the daytime it was because I had a bad night the night before or I was sick.

Michael Hyatt  references some major people who were nappers:  Edison, daVinci, Einstein, and JF Kennedy, and

Helen Sanders (Health Ambition) describes power naps and how they work.  Very interesting article, especially on how you have to wake before you go into deep sleep.

 

Maybe next time I’m tired in the afternoon, I should try a short nap.  It just might rejuvenate me to make better use of my afternoons.  Do you nap?  If so, how long?

 

 

Read Michael Hyatt’s nap article here:    Naps are Rejuvenating

and be sure to check out Helen  Sander’s article on how power naps work.

Here’s to sleeping –  I mean napping!!

 

Eileen

 

 

 

 

 

 

When is the Last Time you Took a Break?

“Summer time, and the living is easy”.         ( Sung by Ella Fitzgerald)

          “Summer time, and the living is slow. “       (my words)

 

Summer time.

It is hot outside in the US.  A time when we’re lazier because of the heat, and a time we considered “break time” from age 5-22.      (no school = play time)

 

With the advent of technology, you would think we would have more time.  However, our To Do Lists just keep getting longer,  and    l  o  n  g  e  r

and  ….    l      o      n     g     e      r.

 

We can’t just keep pushing and pushing.  Our minds need a mental break during the day, and our a complete break once in awhile to really recharge.  In fact studies show we can be more productive when we take breaks.  That’s why there are new “break” techniques like the Pomodoro method:  Session: Work 25 minutes, break 5 minutes.  Repeat.   After 4 of these work sessions take a longer break of 15-30 minutes. The whole point is to break up the work day by taking a break.

 

We need longer breaks to really recharge.  It’s something we rarely do.  This could be anything from a week’s vacation to a weekend getaway to just an hour bike ride.

 

 

 

Can’t get away?  So here’s some ideas for you, even if you can’t take a vacation.  And some of these you can even accomplish during your workday.  Take your pick, but recharge yourself!

 

Change Your Scenery.

If you can’t take a long vacation, at least go somewhere that isn’t a store – preferably in nature, even a park or a historic site.  Relax and enjoy the change of scenery.

 

 

Read a novel.   

You don’t have to read it all at once; you can break it up over the course of a week or two.  I often carry a paper book with me (or read an electronic  book on my cell phone) while waiting anywhere:  doctor’s offices, riding as a passenger in our car, or while my husband shops at hardware stores!!!

 

Play your favorite game.

If you don’t have someone to play with you, try a game of Solitaire or even Boggle against a timer.

 

Keep a puzzle book handy. 

I love Word Searches.  I’m not so good at Crosswords or Sudoku, but maybe you are.

I keep a Word Search book in the car at all times; I never know when a few errands with my husband turns into 3-4 hours I didn’t know about.

 

Color or Paint.

Coloring books are now for adults too.  Try one!  And if you don’t want to buy one, pick up a kid’s coloring book.  Or maybe you like to paint – even if it’s paint by numbers or water color. (The joy of being a grandma and having kid’s art activities.)

 

Go for a walk or a hike.

When’s the last time you paid attention to the birds or flowers in your area? Take a walk or hike and consciously use your 5 senses to see the world around you.

 

Be sporty.

Jog, run, swim, golf, play tennis, shoot some basketballs, ride a bike, skate, ski, play baseball or football or soccer, or go canoeing.  (What do you say for Archery – shoot an arrow?)

 

Work on a hobby.  (Somehow that sounds like an oxymoron —  Play at your hobby.)

Do you like to draw, paint, knit, sew, write poems, garden, do woodworking, build models?  When’s the last time you played at your hobby?  (The picture below is my hobby.)

 

Take a nap!!

 

Whatever you choose to do,

take a Break Today —

maybe even 2 or 3 breaks!

 

Comment and tell me what you did to Take A Break today!

And I hope you took some breaks for the 4th of July Holiday weekend!

Do you know your Why?

 

Your goals may fail because you have no reason to accomplish them.

Ask yourself, “Why?”  

Goals and your why?

 

Why do you want to do this?

 

The reason, your Why?, could be to do something:

  • for you
  • for your family
  • for a relative
  • for a friend

 

It could also be:

  • for your business or career
  • for your finances (to make money)
  • for your health
  • for your personal development
  • for relaxation or entertainment
  • for your spiritual growth

If you want to lose weight, you need a reason, a WHY?

  • Do you want to look stunning for a wedding?
  • Do you want to look good for your HS reunion?
  • Do you want to look great this summer in your bathing suit?
  • Do you have health issues that suggest a diet like diabetes, heart, or kidney problems?
  • Do you want to be healthier to prevent health issues, especially hereditary ones?

If there’s no reason to achieve something, you won’t do it.

If there’s no reason to achieve something, you won’t do it.  A compelling reason gives you more motivation to achieve the goal.  It may be as simple as “My boss asked for it.”  (The compelling reason being that you want to keep your job or hope for a promotion!) or it may be as simple as  “I can’t stand looking at that pile.”

 

 

The answer to WHY? will also tell you

that some items on your To Do List do not need to be done.

 

 

Chunk your Goals

Last month we discussed the fact that New Year’s, or even winter time, may not be the right time for you to set goals   (see Have Your Goals Already Derailed Off Track?)  Yes, it still may really be right for you, especially if you love the quiet of winter, but for most people winter time is not an energetic time to set goals.

If you do tend to set goals in January, why are they not working?

 

Person walking in snow –  Copyright Stock Unlimited

  1. We already discussed that you may not have been in a serious frame of mind (especially if you made your goals during a New Year’s Eve party)
  2. We also said winter may not be the right season for you to create goals.
  3. Another reason is that you didn’t break them down into bite sized pieces – chunks.

Most goals are too super-sized.  That’s what a goal is – something big to strive for.   Therefore it needs to be broken down into pieces you can truly handle – chunks.  You don’t eat a whole cake at once.  You take a chunk of it – one slice at a time.

Do you remember the Chunky candy bar?  It is small –  1.4 oz   I did a google search and was surprised to see that it is currently sold at Walmart, at least online.  I don’t know if it is in the store.  They even have a King size version.  To me that is just a total oxymoron–a King size bar of a Chunky candy!

Anyhow, each of your goals can usually be broken down into smaller parts or chunks. If you look at your goal as a series of steps forward, they are easier to achieve.  When my daughters started training for their first marathons, they had to run a block first, then a mile, then a couple of miles, 5 miles, 10 miles, etc.  They didn’t suddenly run a marathon, which is 26 miles. In the same respect you have to chunk down your goals into bite-sized (whatever size works for you) steps until you can achieve your big goal.

Chunks don’t have to relate to each other and they don’t have to always increase, but they often do.  For example, a typical New Year’s goal is “to lose weight.”  If you want to lose 30 lbs. you won’t lose it in one day and maybe not in one year.   You want to chunk it into sub-goals and then chunk the sub-goals into smaller action items which are also chunks. Two major chunks of losing weight, sub-goals, are diet and exercise.

Diet Goal

Cakes – Copyright Stock Unlimited

If your first sub-goal is to adjust your diet, you might begin by cutting out eating cakes.  Then you might cut out ice cream.  Next you might cut out cookies.  Those are chunks- pieces of a larger item – in this case diet.  And diet is a piece of losing weight.

Exercise goal

Exercise – Copyright Stock Unlimited

Another sub-goal might be to exercise:  first 5 minutes a day, then 10 minutes, then 20 minutes, then 30 minutes, and then an hour a day.  Those are all chunks of the sub-goal exercise, which in itself is a chunk to the big goal of losing weight.

Diet and exercise may or may not be done together.  While you might focus on one and not the other, both diet and exercise are sub-goals of losing weight, and each of them could be broken down into smaller chunks to help you achieve the big goal of losing weight.

So the next time you have a goal, chunk it!

What’s your goal that you’re working on and what chunks did you create?

Comment below.

 

Eileen

PS I have foot surgery on Tuesday, so I may take a little longer to respond to comments this week.

 

Have your Goals Already Derailed Off the Track?

Have your Goals derailed off track?

Have your Goals derailed off Track?                                                (Yes, it’s my village train.)

 

If you have already fallen off track, don’t be surprised.  It may be because it’s not the right time of year for you.  In fact I don’t really recommend you set goals at this time of year.  Why?

Why NOT to set goals in January

The main reason is because most goals are set at a New Year’s Eve party. So they aren’t really thought out. Instead they are a quick answer to someone’s question – “What’s Your New Year’s Goal?”  Answers like “Lose Weight” or “Make more money” or “Stop smoking” are typical.  Most of the time it’s not even a new goal; it’s a repeat of last year’s goal.

 Why is it often a repeat of last year’s goal?

  1. Chances are it’s repeated because it wasn’t accomplished last year.  So it’s the same goal.   …    In fact it’s probably been the same goal  for the past 10 years!   
  2. The other reason is because it’s the easiest response to give.  No thinking is necessary –and that’s the problem with New Year’s Eve goals. No thinking is necessary.  Being at a party is not the time to plan your goals.  You want to do this by yourself, when you are serious about what you really want to achieve and can set aside planning time to set realistic goals.

No Thinking is Necessary.

The second reason to not set goals in January is the weather.  Let’s think about January.  For most of the nation, it’s a very cold — think below freezing temps. It is also a very  dreary time of year.  That doesn’t conjure up a good time to sit and reflect about goals.  Goals should be something you desire and really want to achieve.  It’s hard to be energetic about achieving something when all you really want to do is sit by the fire, stay warm, and see the sun again!

Goals should be something you desire and really want to achieve.

So When is the best time for you to set goals?

The best time to set goals is not winter time for most people.   It is spring or fall, whichever makes you feel better.  Some people like spring because things are changing.  Birds are back and singing.  Red and yellow tulips reminds us that spring is here.  There may even be a spring to your step as you shed your winter coat and enjoy the beautiful colors of spring flowers.

Other people prefer Fall when the summer heat has disappeared and the cool air makes them feel more energized.  For them the changing colors of the leaves add splendor to the world and the cool, crisp air energizes their thoughts.

Winter Goals

Now there are people who do like to set winter goals.  For them it is a time to be alone with their thoughts.  They do some really serious thinking about their goals and their life because of the fact that they are indoors.  They find this time of year slower-paced and since they aren’t as busy, they can reflect on the past year and decide how they want this year to progress.

Samuel  (name changed) is one such person. He sells greeting cards.  His big season is the end of the year with holiday cards.  So once his sales are done, he has some time to kick back and seriously map out his goals for the coming year based on the past year’s performance. He is the perfect example of someone who relishes the quiet, indoor time of January and can set real goals now.  If you’re like Samuel, go ahead and set your goals in January.

 

So what time of year do you think would be best for you to set goals?  Are you truly a Winter goal setter?  Or should you be a Spring or Fall goal setter? I prefer Spring when I feel more energized and Fall as a second time for new goals.

 

 

 

 

Energize Yourself – Jump Start your Fall Goals!

 

fall-yellow-leaves

 

With so little time left in the year, ask yourself –

 

“How am I doing with my

Goals for 2016?”

 

There are 2 different ways to look at the rest of the year:

 

1. We are in the last 100 days.

Did you realize we are in the last 100 days of the year?

There is still a little less than 100 days to complete whatever your

New Year’s Resolutions were. That’s 1/3 of the year still to go and

plenty of time to get things done before the winter holidays.

 

2. The New Year starts this week.

The Jewish New Year starts now because it is the Fall Harvest.

The Jewish calendar revolves around the seasons, and starts in the fall.

If you are Jewish or not, would a new start, a new year, be good for you?

 

Whether you are considering it as a new beginning or completing 2016,

the cooler weather often brings about more energy than the summer

heat wave and will give you a much needed jump start

to doing more in the fall than you did in the hot summer weather.

 

So which is it for you –

  • the end of the year

OR

  • the beginning of a new year?

Either outlook should push you forward with new momentum.

 

Jump past the summer heat and jump into the Fall energy!

 

What are the goals you are currently working on?  Let us know.

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