Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Time Management for Manic Moms - Week 2: Where did all my time go and please can I have it back?

Time Truth 2: To save time you must first know how you spend it

The Champagne Lifestyle

  • your time really is more on a par with champagne and caviar than fizzy water and dry bread. You want to become a bit more careful about what you do with it.
  • On the whole we are terribly careless with our time and don't treat it with respect it deserves. We just lose it here, there and everywhere, then wonder why we haven't got any left at the end of the day.
  • Benjamin Franklin once said: " If time be of all things most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality, since lost time is never found again."
  • once lost time is gone forever

The importance of knowing where your precious resources are going
  • if you value something you don't want to waste or lose it. Unfortunately, unless you can identify where all you gold dust's going, how can you possibly save it?
  • Time Truth Two: "To save time you must first know how you spend it." You have to be able to account for every minute, every spec of gold dust.
Where are you precious resources going?
  • the lamentable truth is that most of us have no idea how the 24 hours we get everyday are spent
  • If you don't know how much you've got and where it's going, how can you expect to get more?
  • very often minutes and seconds can seep away from your life, unnoticed
  • they're stolen from you when you repeatedly do things that you really don't have to do
  • just like a dripping tap, many of us let our time dribble down the drain without
We have to know what is taking up all our time in our everyday lives. We might be thinking that we are wasting only a few seconds or minutes at a time. But lost seconds and minutes add up to hours, days, weeks and months. 

Sometimes we wonder how hours pass by so fast without having to finish any of the chores we have planned to do. This maybe because we suddenly thought of another task which was not planned and it took most, if not all, of our time during the day. In my case, I can say my distraction is the internet. I used to sit in front of the computer from  morning till dinner time, trying to squeeze in some chores for a few minutes, then back to the computer I go. Only when hubby sort of gave an ultimatum that I finally realized how much of my time was consumed in front of the computer.

Key to Time Management - the fundamental and overwhelming truth is that you can't manage time. We cannot stop it or train it. What we can do is learn how to manage our use of time. Use CHOICE and FOCUS as the basis for getting what you want. We cannot manage time but we can manage the series of event that we choose to focus on as we pass through time.

Based on the suggestion above, what we can do is to know what our main focus is/are (chores, to-do list, goals) and concentrate on finishing the list as planned. We don't make our to-do list just for the sake of writing them, right? Although I have to say, sometimes I do get side-tracked!

The book suggested to use the tool "Eye of Time" to help use know what we are focusing on and what we really want to focus on (yes, there is a difference). It's drawn like our eyes - 3 round shapes, small, medium, large, one inside another. These shapes represent our Near Focus (the activities that are right in front of our face), Far Focus, Peripheral Vision and Blind Spot.

Doing the eye of time exercise, you can determine whether you are focusing on activities that really matter to you, or are important in your day to day life. Then you can ask yourself " Do the activities you focus on reflect what is of value to you?"

Eye of Time Life Focus
- draw 4 concentric circles divided into 8 equal parts (like a pie chart). The 8 parts represent areas in your life : career, fun/leisure, family, friendships, environment, romance/partner, money, health / fitness

Eye of Time Value Focus
- draw 4 concentric circles divided into 8 equal parts (like a pie chart). The 8 parts represent the important values you have in your life: eg. integrity, fun,. personal development, honesty, assertiveness, courage, creativity, friendliness, spirituality, energy, independence, loyalty, determination, hard work, generosity, happiness, playfulness, perfection, reliability, punctuality, optimism.

Top 10 Drips from the Tap of Time
These are the activities which take most of our precious time. Which one are you guilty of doing?
  1. watching tv (guilty!)
  2. unnecessary phone calls and talking on the phone for too long
  3. drop-in guests
  4. waiting in queues with nothing to do
  5. reading newspapers and magazines (unless you have something important to check that is a good use of your time)
  6. constantly checking email/reading junk mail
  7. looking for things you've misplaced (papers, car keys, etc) (Guilty)
  8. unnecessary chit chat and gossip in the playground and other places (sometimes guilty)
  9. worrying about things you cannot control (I am definitely guilty!)
  10. time struck in traffic
  11. returning home for things you've forgotten
  12. cleaning up after others (guilty!)
  13. coffee, tea and cigarette breaks
  14. thinking about doing things rather than doing them (guilty!)
  15. compulsively sorting mail and paying bills (guilty!)
  16. surfing the net (super guilty!)
  17. childcare with no breaks
  18. endless trips to the shops for things you've forgotten
  19. saying yes to tasks you should have said no to
  20. being a perfectionist (super guilty!)
In order to determine your "drips" and be able to "control" them, the author suggested a time log (drip diagnostics) to be done in 5 days. The log includes info like 
- time activity started,  
- activity, 
- how are you feeling? what is your mental, emotional, physical state? (tired, stressed, distracted, relevant observations)
- interruptions
- duration in minutes

At the end of the week, summarize the results of your daily log. Calculate the time spent on each activity. Check where your time is leaking out - "Where am I spending time that is costing me dear, because it's denying me the opportunity to do something else?". Then think of what things you can do differently next week to plug your leaks and gain more time.

Actions for 2 weeks:
  • Complete your Eye of Time (10mins)
  • Complete your Life Focus Eye and Values Focus Eye (20mins)
  • Fill out your Drip Diagnostics log (ongoing days 1 to 5)
  • Identify your top ten time leaks (10mins)
  • Identify 6 things you can do to plug your time leaks (10mins)
  • do the 6 things (this will save you time)
  • Give yourself the gift of an extra hour. Choose something to do in your hour. Commit to doing ti and put everything in place to make sure that it happens (10mins preparation + your hour).

  • To save your time you must know how you spend it.
  • Like the backs of your earrings, lose time and you'll never find it again.
  • The key to time management is choice and focus.
  • If you want to get more done, stop and consider what you focus on during your day. If what you are doing isn't productive, choose to focus on something else.
  • Does what you focus on reflect what is important to you?
  • If not, work out your values and choose to focus on activities that reflect them.
  • Write down everything you do for a week, then gaze in wonderment at how much time you've wasted doing thing that aren't important to you.
  • Choose to eradicate the things that are wasting your time and replace them with things you'd rather be doing.
  • Give yourself a fabolous reward for finding extra time in your life.

  1. Have a list of phone calls you need to make, then fit them into spare moments. 
  2. Keep a mini sewing kit handy for those emergency repairs.
  3. Always put the cordless phone back on its base - or stick to a corded one.
  4. Negotiate some working from home time to cut down on commuting.
  5. Invest in a timer or stop watch, then set time-limits for a particular job and stick to it.
  6. Send texts and emails to large groups to save time on phone calls - particularly if you're prone to chatting.
  7. Buy a sound-activated device for your keys - think how much time you've wasted over the years looking for them.
  8. Keep a well-stocked medical kit with essential supplies, thermometer, etc so you're not rushing around in the middle of the night trying to find a 24-hour chemist.
  9. Never be kept on hold. Agree a time to ring back or leave your phone number and a message.
  10. Put the children's school uniforms out the night before. Even better, get them to do it.
  11. Record programmes to watch later, cutting out the adverts.
  12. Tumble-dry clothes on the low hear setting until the washing is just dry. Get the washing out while it's warm and at it's most co-operative. Place each item on a flat surface and smooth out with your hands before carefully folding it to be put away.
  13. Buy a sound-activated device for your keys - think how much time you've wasted over the years looking for them.
  14. Record programmes to watch later, cutting out on adverts (we are actually doing this)

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