Here’s some questions for you:
Are you always busy and have no time?
Do you find it hard to be productive?
Can’t seem to balance your work and life?
Do you control your day or do you simply react to it? Or to put it another way—how often do you feel like all you did was keep your head above water?
Nodding along right now? You’re not alone.
And how well do you set meaningful career goals (for yourself and others) AND execute on your plans effectively? Are you satisfied with the professional progress you make every year — or do you feel stuck in the “same old”?
Regardless if you are a business professional, college student or a stay-home parent, time management is an essential skill to learn. Not only does it makes you more productive and helps you get work done, it reduces your stress and makes you feel less overwhelmed.
In my own research for the ways to effectively manage time for continual felt sense of ease, calm, and joy and actual high productivity I looked far and wide. I read the works of successful CEO’s, behavioural experts, Budhist monks, yogis, and even USA Army snipers!
I wanted to free up a lot of my time, so I could start to enjoy things I like to do, but had no time for, and do the projects which had to be postponed time and again, simply as it seemed there was not enough hours in a day, week or even a month to do it all.
Fascinating information poured from the book by Carl Honoré In Praise of Slowness, a book that tries to bring back the artful style of “slowness” in our cult of speed. Honoré examines how we can channel our minds to a more productive path when confronted with information overload.
“These days, even instant gratification takes too long,” Carl Honoré joked to a roomful of TEDTalk audience.
We live in a time of information overload, but our brains simply haven’t evolved fast enough to take advantage of the avalanche of data, a problem all the more urgently relevant today. In his book, Honoré writes:
Evolution works on the principle of survival of the fittest, not the fastest. Remember who won the race between the tortoise and the hare. As we hurry through life, cramming more into every hour, we are stretching ourselves to the breaking point.
Do you work consistently on the two or three things that will help you advance in your career, or do you often find yourself “busy” or fighting unproductive behaviors?
If you are like most people (including myself), you’d probably admit that there is sometimes room for improvement in executing on your most important goals.
So I went to improve myself – and I studied this subject deeply, here are some of the masters who inspired and educated me – Call Newport, an associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University, an expert and author of six books on effective time management; Brian Moran, an industrial ecologist and university lecturer who works inside organisations in the areas of culture, values and ethics, Tony Crabe, a business psychologist, author and consultant with companies including Microsoft, Disney, News Corporation; Greg McKeown, a public speaker, leadership and business consultant, and author…. To name a few…
So where do we start?
Sensory overload and poor management of time
We complain about the lack of time, yet we constantly seek stimulations that detract us from our main goals. Living in an age saturated with stimulation in all it’s forms – “media-drenched, data-rich, channel-surfing, computer-gaming age” — it becomes a chore to focus on anything longer than 30 seconds.
Data from all sources confirms this, but the question remains – what to do with this apparent lack of time and the sense of overwhelm, and being constantly behind, never having enough?
Drop into the present moment
I loved the SLLS tips from the ex-sniper turned office worker. In his former life, he was trained to go into a dangerous area, collect reconnaissance, and get out without ever being seen. This was the hardest part of the job, staying completely invisible while moving from point to point with 75+ pounds of gear in extreme weather, while being completely exhausted. It requires a tremendous amount of focus.
And the fatigue, discomfort, and the racing thoughts are all distractions that can throw you off your focus and your projected cloak of invisibility that keeps you alive.
When the external stimuli would take over and he began to lose focus on his priorities, he’d practice
SLLS: Stop, Look, Listen and Smell
Stop what you are doing. Look around. Listen to your surroundings. Smell your environment.
The purpose of this practice is to take a time out and refocus. This allows you to stop reacting to the external stimuli, be mindful of your environment, and focus on what really matters.
Yes, it works. It helped him be invisible as a sniper. And later on, at his desk job, he discovered that it helped him regain control of his workday when all he was doing was reacting to emails and other people’s priorities.
One particular day, he was attempting to get down to business and accomplish several hours of important, but monotonous work. It was crucial he completed it that day, but his mind was struggling to stay focused, and his attention bounced around from other people’s conversations to his phone to anything but what he needed to do. Time for a SLLS break! After five minutes of stopping and refocusing with SLLS, he was able to sit down with resolve and accomplish his work.
Very akin to Buddhist mindfulness practise!
So, how do you use this trick to immediately make an impact and help you regain control of your workday and personal life?
Set a recurring alarm on your phone for every two hours, between 8 AM and 8 PM, that simply says “SLLS.” This is your cue to take a SLLS break. Stop whatever you’re doing, look around, listen to your surroundings, and smell your environment. Whether it’s for 30 seconds or five minutes, take as long as you need to regain clarity on the present moment.
By doing this you’ll stop the reaction cycle and be able to focus on the present—allowing your mind to breathe and enter a higher state of thinking where you decide what’s important and worthy of your time. You’ll regain mindfulness and purpose by taking back control of those elusive thoughts that usually escape you during stressful moments.
The every-two-hour alarm is just a starting point. Practice this until it’s a habit, then turn off the alarm. Use this trick whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed, when you’re just reacting to the world around you, and when you want to take control of your day and your life.
How to plan your day and your week effectively
Ability to effectively plan your day, so that you are actually accomplishing what you set out to do, is one of THE MOST VALUABLE SKILLS you can have in life. In personal life and professional lives, as well as in our society.
IF YOU MASTER THIS SKILL, YOU’LL ACHIEVE EXTRAORDINARY RESULTS, and you’ll feel amazing!
Join this amazing workshop and learn skills that will help you utilise time EFFECTIVELY and get the RESULTS you want and need.
- Uncover your obstacles
- Learn HOW not to fall prey to activities that drain your time resources
- Learn exactly HOW TO CREATE EFFECTIVE PLANNING SYSTEM
All of the registered participants will have the access to the recording of the LIVE call, as well as tip sheets and bonus materials to help you plan your time effectively.
These tools will help you free up a lot of time, so that you can start to enjoy things you like to do, but currently have little or no time for, and do the projects which so far had to be postponed time and again!