Friday 6th October 2017
By Michelle Hammond
The wonderful Peter Thomson shares his insight in to ‘The 8 BIG PROBLEMS’ and “How to Avoid Them And Squeeze More Life Out of Every Single Day”. This article will help you to get more done, more easily, more effectively – each and every day of your life.
Before he gets into those SEVEN BIG PROBLEMS and more importantly how you can easily avoid them let him make a very important point…
“There is NO such thing as– Time Management!”
Yes – you and I and everyone else for that matter cannot ‘manage’ time. Time just happens!
The ONLY action we can ever hope to take is – to manage ourselves and the use of probably our most precious asset (and when you think about it) our irreplaceable asset – time itself!
As you read through these SEVEN BIG PROBLEMS and the solutions to them you’ll put yourself into the ranks of the high achievers who simply get more done, make more money and enjoy more of what life has to offer.
Once you’ve read through them – please take a few moments and read the article by Arnold Bennett – I’ve included it for you at the end.
So let’s get started shall we?
“It’s ticking and it’s never coming back!”
Big Problem #1: Thinking that procrastination is bad!
You see – successful people, the really successful people in life, in all fields of endeavour are in fact great procrastinators!
Yes – they’re great at putting things off.
However – and this is the rub…
They ONLY put off tasks and actions that either are ‘low pay-off’ items or are not in alignment with their written and auditable goals.
The usual type of procrastination (I’ll do it later, I’ll leave it for now, I’ll get round to it some other time) is, of course, not what you and I want to do.
We DON’T want to put off the tasks that are ‘high pay-off’ items or take us towards the accomplishment of our dreams, aspirations and goals.
Anyone suffering from this ‘thief of time’ is doing so because they may well be struggling to understand the REAL difference between ‘urgent’ and ‘important’ actions.
And this’s because…
They don’t have written goals for the important areas of their lives. Without goals – it simply isn’t possible to work out whether a task is important or urgent. Those tasks in alignment with our goals are important (and often urgent) – some other day-to-day ‘stuff’ may be only urgent because those tasks are part of someone else’s goals!
“If you don’t have your own goals you’re probably part of someone else’s goals!”
1. If you do NOT yet have goals – set them!
2. If you have goals but haven’t kept them up-to-date – update them!
3. Carefully consider whether any task is urgent or important
4. Put off anything that doesn’t take you towards your goals
5. Avoid procrastinating important actions – ‘do it now’ wherever possible
6. Take control of your time
7. Remember: It’s ticking and it’s never coming back!
Big Problem #2: Failing to use a ‘constantly-prioritised’ Do list
Trying to progress through the day, particularly a working day, without some form of list of actions to be taken simply isn’t going to work for the vast majority of people.
OK – so there are some individuals who manage their lives by doing whatever comes to mind – but they’re unlikely to be the high achievers.
Just having a list of actions isn’t good enough. You and I need to put the list in order of importance. Which action shall we take first, which second and so on?
Once we’ve completed the first task – BEFORE – we start the second one – it’s a good idea to check that nothing has happened to change the priority of the list.
If it hasn’t – great! Carry on with item 2. If it has – then pause; scan the list again and decide which item NOW has the highest priority.
1. Create a Do List for every day
2. Prioritise the list
3. Do item #1
4. Before doing item #2 – check the priority
5. And so on through the day
6. Remember: It’s ticking and it’s never coming back!
Big Problem #3: NOT allowing for ‘thinking time’ -(especially at work)
Because, for most people life is a busy experience, then it’s very easy to get into the habit of being busy – doing stuff! Any stuff!
And yet for everyone I know (and I’m sure that this is true of you too) we’re paid for what we think about as well as what we do!
And you know what…
I’ve always found that the doing I did was invariably more effective when I did some thinking before the doing. Rather than just doing the doing without thinking the thinking!
You do know what I mean don’t you?
For just a moment…
Think back over the week and try to recall when you stopped ‘doing’ for a while and spent some time, some focused time – just ‘thinking’. Can you remember any occasions of doing that in the last 7 days?
If you can – then brilliant! Congratulations! You’re one of the few.If you can’t then perhaps that might be a self-administered ‘wake-up’ call to think about thinking!
Let’s get something straight…
I’m NOT suggesting we spend so much time thinking there isn’t any time for the doing – no of course not. We don’t want to start suffering from the ‘paralysis of analysis’ do we? What I am suggesting is you put ‘thinking’ high up there near the top of your daily and weekly plans.
When a group of climbers decide to scale a mountain peak – they don’t just meet up at the foot of the mountain and start climbing. They think it through and plan the ascent meticulously – true? They think it – before they do it!
When a pilot and crew want to fly to any destination – they don’t just have the plane filled with aviation fuel – they plan everything – they check everything before they start. They think it – before they do it!
And I’m sure…
You can think of many other examples of this idea – can’t you?
Big Problem #4 NOT allowing for ‘learning time’ – (especially at work)
Here’s a great expression:
“The world will belong to the ‘learners’ whilst the ‘learned’ will find themselves perfectly prepared for a world that no longer exists!”
And isn’t it just so true!
You and I and everyone else who wants to succeed in life – whatever we might mean by ‘success’ – MUST BE – life-long learners. The pace of change is accelerating – life is moving quickly – we must keep up.
How much time do you allocate each day, or week or month to improving your knowledge, your skills and your ability? Is it enough?
Whatever you do commercially – then it is ESSENTIAL that you keep improving, keep learning, keep discovering how to do what you do – better, faster, more effectively.
• Read books
• Listen to audio programmes
• Attend seminars
• Ask colleagues
• Model successful people
• Keep learning
1. Be aware that you get paid for ‘thinking’ as well as for ‘doing’
2. Add ‘thinking’ time to your Do List
3. Allocate ‘thinking’ time in your diary or day planner
4. Do more ‘thinking’ before you do more ‘doing’
5. BUT: Don’t allow the ‘thinking’ time to become so extended that you don’t take action – after all… “Action… is the Key!”
6. Have a knowledge gathering plan
7. Allocate time (every week) in your diary of day planner for learning
8. Allocate time for practice and improving your abilities
9. Be a life-long learner
10. Remember: It’s ticking and it’s never coming back!
Big Problem #5: Wasting time on non-productive actions
How many meetings he’d been to, how many miles he’d driven, how many reports he’d written – and yet the majority of those journeys and meetings and reports were totally unnecessary! He was confusing busyness with business.
“Don’t confuse busy-ness with business!”
You know you – better than anyone else knows you – and you also know the actions you take which are the ones that really make a difference to your life.
The actions earning you the level of income you want, the actions that get the job done! The actions you (and only you) can do – making your business or your career the success it deserves to be – don’t you?
So here’s the question…
Are you doing ONLY those actions?
Or are you allowing yourself to get involved with doing so many other bits and pieces that could easily be delegated to someone else or simply left undone?
Here’s a really simple solution for you:
1. Get 3 pieces of paper and write (or type) the letters A, B and C on them.
2. Place them on your working area at the start of what you believe will be a pretty standard day
3. Every time you complete a task, any task or action – put a tick on the appropriate piece of paper. How do you know which is the appropriate piece?
A The tasks you know are the actions that you must take
B The tasks you need to take but aren’t the ones that really take you towards the achievement of your goals
C The tasks you know you shouldn’t have done – and actions that could easily have been delegated to someone else – or were a complete and utter waste of your time
At the end of the day – analyse
How many ticks are on each piece of paper?
You’ll then easily know where you’re spending your time – and the solutions.
Now of course…
If you’d like to change the description of A, B and C – go ahead – make them totally relevant to you, your actions and your life.
If you have the self-discipline to do this for several days – each month – and take action with what you discover – you’ll soon have your time under control and be far more effective than ever before.
1. Before doing anything – question yourself as to whether or not you need to do it or if it could be delegated or even left undone
2. Create those 3 pieces of paper and carry out a regular analysis of your daily actions
3. Take action with what you’ve discover through that analysis
4. Avoid being busy just for the sake of it
5. Concentrate on high pay off actions
6. Remember: It’s ticking and it’s never coming back!
Big Problem #6: Being an email junkie!
OK! I have to admit it – if I’m not careful I can be an email junkie too. It’s just so easy to get into the habit of checking email all day long – or having some form of ‘You’ve got mail’ pinging or appearing.
Here’s an idea to try…
If it’s ESSENTIAL that you need to be IMMEDIATELY contacted by email – then naturally this isn’t for you. However – if you’ve found yourself at times ‘chained’ to your email – then try this and see what happens:
1. Check your email first thing in the morning
2. Then close your email programme
3. See how long you can hold out before checking it again
4. Open your email programme and see just how many ‘urgent’, ‘must read it now’, ‘must do it now’ emails have arrived
5. Learn from the experience!
6. Close the email programme
7. See how long you can hold out
9. Learn from the experience!!
10. Learn from the experience!!!
11. Remember: It’s ticking and it’s never coming back!
Big Problem #7: Allowing too many interruptions
The biggest challenge you and I face when we allow ourselves to be interrupted is starting again from precisely where we left off.
You’re playing tennis. You’ve swung the racquet back and you’re just about to swing forward to connect with the ball. As you start the forward swing you’re interrupted – so you stop and deal with that disruption. Now to get back to where you were at the point of the interruption you’d have to swing back again to create the momentum of the stoke wouldn’t you?
That can happen mentally as well as physically.
Apart from email ‘pinging’ which we’ve just discussed – here are some other interruptions that can get in the way of managing yourself through time:
1. Drop in visitors
2. Phone calls
3. The mail arriving
4. Scatterbrain thoughts
5. Colleagues with a ‘quick’ question!
It is essential you and I set up systems preventing these disturbances to our thoughts and action.
1. Let colleagues know you’re working on something important and do NOT want to be disturbed
2. Re-direct your phone or activate your voice mail messaging system
3. Close your email programme
4. Place an ‘A’ Card on your work area saying: “Please Do NOT Disturb”
5. Set the amount of ‘time’ you’ll work on the task in hand – and stick to it
6. Create focus on the task: Before starting – write out a list of the benefits you’ll enjoy by completing the task
7. Be assertive – without being aggressive
8. Remember: It’s ticking and it’s never coming back!
Bonus Solved : Bog Problem #8: Working in a cluttered environment
If you work at a desk and it’s loaded with paperwork, reports and general mess – then your peripheral vision will continually notice the ‘mess’ and nag you to deal with it.
And what’s worse…
You’ll tie up ‘mental processing power’ trying to ignore it.
The most important computer we use is not our lap top – but our NECK top computer. It needs to be virus free, not clogged with unnecessary programmes, not overloaded with icons on the front screen.
It must be able to process and operate at its optimum level – and that’s impossible with ‘junk’ and clutter getting in the way.
1. Clear your working area
2. Set aside a day to totally de-clutter every area of your life (work area, home, car – everywhere!)
3. Reward yourself when you’ve done it
4. If you have paperwork that needs dealing with – then put it away or ‘out of sight’ while you deal with the task at hand
5. Clear the front screen of your computer
6. Remember: It’s ticking and it’s never coming back!
Please read this – it will change your life!
Some years ago a friend sent me an article by the famous author: Arnold Bennett. Bennett is probably best known for two of his books: “Clayhanger Trilogy” and “The Old Wives’ Tale” The article was called: “How to Live on Twenty-Four Hours a Day” and was first published in 1910.
Having removed it from my ‘time management’ file and having read it I’d originally planned to write my own version of the piece for you but on reflection decided to share it with you in its original form.
One word in the piece – Consols – was unknown to me – but I found out that it’s an abbreviation for: consolidated annuities, British government securities without a redemption date and with fixed annual interest. Ok with all that said – here with thanks to Arnold Bennett is the article which I believe will have you looking at your use of time in a totally different light.
“How To Live On 24 Hours A Day”
It [time] is the inexplicable raw material of everything. With it, all is possible; without it, nothing. The supply of time is truly a daily miracle, an affair genuinely astonishing when one examines it. You wake up in the morning, and lo! Your purse is magically filled with twenty-four hours of the unmanufactured tissue of the universe of your life!
It is yours. It is the most precious of possessions. A highly singular commodity, showered upon you in a manner as singular as the commodity itself!
For remark! No one can take it from you. It is unstealable. And no one receives either more or less than you receive.
Talk about an ideal democracy!
In the realm of time there is no aristocracy of wealth, and no aristocracy of intellect. Genius is never rewarded by even an extra hour a day. And there is no punishment. Waste your infinitely precious commodity as much as you will, and the supply will never be withheld from you. No mysterious power will say:-
“This man is a fool, if not a knave. He does not deserve time; he shall be cut off at the meter.”
It is more certain than consols*, and payment of income is not affected by Sundays.
Moreover, you cannot draw on the future. It’s impossible to get into debt!
You can only waste the passing moment. You cannot waste tomorrow; it is kept for you. You cannot waste the next hour; it is kept for you.
I said the affair was a miracle. Is it not?
You have to live on this twenty-four hours of daily time. Out of it you have to spin health, pleasure, money, content, respect, and the evolution of your immortal soul. Its right use, its most effective use, is a matter of the highest urgency and most thrilling actuality. All depends on that.
Your happiness – the elusive prize that you are all clutching for, my friend! – depends on that.
The supply of time, though gloriously regular, is cruelly restricted.
Which of us lives on twenty-four hours a day? And when I say “lives”, I do not mean exists or “muddles through”.
Which of us is free from that uneasy feeling that the “great spending departments” of his daily life are not managed as they ought to be?
Which of us is not saying to himself – which of us has not been saying to himself all his life: “I shall alter that when I have more time”? We shall never have more time. We have, and we always have had, all the time that there is.
WOW! You can see why, having read it I decided to use it in original form can’t you? What a superb piece of writing – one that I could only ever hope to emulate.
So with that all said…
Are you and I really using our time to the full?
Do we realise – fully realise the message contained with the article and the ideas contained within this SEVEN BIG PROBLEMS report?
Are we grasping with both hands that ‘precious commodity’ and not allowing it to silently slip unnoticed through the busy fingers of our days?
Perhaps a moment or two –even an hour or two of reflection upon these ideas will refocus our minds, refocus our thoughts and refocus our activities to ensure that each valued moment is recognised for what it is – irreplaceable – and we use it to the full.
If such was truly possible – then we could rightly say – we are truly in control of our time!
This Report was Written By Peter Thomson “The UK’s Most Prolific Information Product Creator” and Peter has given his expressed consent to share it here with us at SpaBusinessSchool.com.
Download Peter Thomsons eBook: Time-Management! – The 8 Big Problems… “How to Avoid them and Squeeze More Life Out of Every Single Day” from SpaBusinessSchool’s: Professional Membership Portal.