Part TWO of TWO

“The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” — Samuel Johnson, 18th century poet, essayist, and journalist

  • Invest the time and take the courses to learn how to use the time saving features on all the technology you use.

  • Start every project or activity by asking, “What’s my objective?” or “What outcome am I looking for?” I find investing the time to clarify chapter or presentation goals and preparing a detailed outline is time extremely well spent. I keep pushing at and coming back to “What am I trying to say here?” or “What are my main points?” I can sometimes spend as much time on this focusing work as I do on the writing. But I always feel the final work is clearer and of higher quality because of this investment.

  • Learn how to lead effective meetings. Poorly run meetings cost you and everyone else an enormous amount of precious time. There are few excuses for not starting and finishing on time, not having clear meeting outcomes and agendas, not keeping discussions on track, not minimizing disruptions, or not handling conflict effectively. It’s a skill issue. Improve yours and you’ll free up time for everybody.

  • When I worked in an office 30 minutes from home, I would work at home until 9:30 A.M. then head in. That way I could avoid traffic and reach people in my time zone in their offices from my cell phone in the car.

  • Do your most demanding creative mental work during your peak performance time. If you’re a morning person, do it then. If you’re a night owl save it for that time.

  • Learn how to say no.

  • Don’t allow people on your team to “delegate up” to you. Develop them, guide them, empower, and energize them. But don’t do their work for them.

  • Break big jobs into little pieces and set small, incremental goals. Terry Fox was an inspiring young Canadian who lost his leg (and eventually his life) to cancer. To raise money for cancer research, he ran over 3,000 miles on an artificial leg. He ran a marathon (about 26 miles) a day. When he was running, his short-term goal was “to run to the next hydro pole.”

  • Don’t overdo planning and prioritizing your time. Use strategic opportunism in your daily work. Often chance encounters, unexpected visits, or unplanned phone calls present small, but significant, opportunities to move a few steps closer to your vision. Most of those events can’t be planned. If they’re dealing with important issues, pursue them. If not, move on. But don’t let a rigid schedule or plan bind you too tightly. It’s all the more reason to prioritize your day. If you only get two things done on today’s “To Do” list, make sure it’s the two most important.

  • Setting personal breakthrough goals that are well beyond your current character, ability, or habits is to set yourself up for failure. That’s why crash diets and so many New Year’s resolutions fail. Build a series of small wins and new habits that gather momentum and confidence to keep you moving forward.”

Establishing goals and priorities, getting organized, and managing time is about balance. In A Better Way to Live, personal effectiveness author, Og Mandino, puts it all in perspective: “Any goal that forces you to labor, day after day and year after year, so long and hard that you never have any time for yourself and those you love is not a goal but a sentence. . . a sentence to a lifetime of misery, no matter how much wealth and success you attain.”