Archive for the ‘Time Management’ Category
In my last post I discussed time management and the importance of looking after your health by fitting proper nutrition and exercise into your busy schedule. Today I am going to give you some tips on how to prepare some ready made meals that will make it easy for you to pass by the “Golden Arches” on the way home, have a healthy home-cooked meal instead and also save some money while you are at it.
Most grocery stores sell fully cooked rotisserie chickens in their deli department. This provides a quick family meal to go but it also offers a way for singles to prepare freezer meals without the time, fuss and muss of having to cook it yourself. All you need to do is assemble the meals in freezer containers so they are ready to reheat when you get home from work. Just pop the meal in the oven or microwave as you are heading to the shower and you are ready to eat when you are done.
- 1 Rotisserie Chicken
- Frozen Vegetables
- 2 Microwave Pouches of Rice
- Tomato Sauce
- 1 Lemon
- 1 Small Jar of Your Favorite Asian Curry or Stir Fry Sauce
- Ready-made Chicken Stock
- 1 Package Sliced Mushrooms
Assembling your meals:
- Put a pot of water on the stove to start cooking 2-3 servings of pasta
- Grab your 6-7 storage containers. I like to use the disposable foil food containers with lids because they stack well in the freezer and I can write the date and contents on the tops then just rinse and toss into the recycle bin when I am done but these containers are not microwave safe so they need to be reheated in the oven. If you want to use reusable containers make sure they are freezer and microwave safe and choose ones that can be easily stacked in the freezer and you can see through them (unless you like your meals to be a surprise).
- Cut up the chicken. Remove the two leg/thigh quarters and place them in two of the containers. Divide one of the rice pouches between the two containers as a side dish and add a serving of the frozen vegetables to each. Put on the lid and label with today’s date and “Roast Chicken Dinner”. Pop them in the freezer and you now have two meals prepared.
- Dice up all of the rest of the chicken meat. Remove all of the meat from the carcass. Don’t throw out the bones though, they can be placed in a freezer bag and pulled out at a later date to make chicken soup.
- Divide the other pouch of rice between two more containers. Add a portion of diced chicken meat to each. Add a large portion of vegetables. In a small bowl combine the juice of the lemon with a couple teaspoons of sugar or honey, lots of black pepper (to taste) and enough chicken stock to make 1/2 cup. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch and microwave until thickened stirring every 30 seconds. Pour this sauce over the contents of one of the containers and you have instant Lemon Pepper Chicken. Allow it to cool completely before putting on the lid and labeling. To the other container pour on your favorite curry or stir fry sauce, cover and label. That’s 4 meals done now and it has only taken about 5-10 minutes.
- Add a portion of pasta to 2 more containers. Add sliced mushrooms and a portion of diced chicken meat in each container. Sprinkle with garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Add tomato sauce to both and toss the contents so the pasta is well coated in sauce. Add more sauce than normal as the pasta will absorb some of it. Make sure it is completely cooled before putting on the lid and labeling with the date and “Chicken Cattiatore”. Now you have 6 meals completed. If you wish, you can just assemble the chicken, sauce and veggies to freeze and cook your pasta fresh when you prepare the meal.
- Any leftover chicken, vegetables, pasta or rice can be be combined with the chicken stock, add some spices and you have a ready-made soup that can be taken for lunches or frozen for a meal.
This same process can be done with any roast, ground meat, seafood, etc. Now that you know how easy it is to have ready-made meals there is no excuse for not eating properly no matter how busy your schedule is or how much you think you lack cooking skills.
Recently I read a study that showed that single people tend die an average of 6-25 years earlier than their married counterparts and it made me stop and wonder why this may be and how to prevent a shortened lifespan for singles. It was suggested in the study that lack of support, a balanced lifestyle and decreased social interaction may be the reason.
When you are single there is no one else to share the little tasks that need to be done on a daily basis so you tend to be busier. Learning to balance things out and manage your time more effectively is extremely important. When it comes to exercise and socializing many busy singles say they simply do not have the time.
Using a day planner may be the tool you need to help you live a healthier lifestyle.
When things appear in an organized fashion in a day planner we are more likely to see them as a commitment and not overlook them. It is important to book appointments with yourself for social activities, exercise and downtime. It is also very important for you to keep those appointments and not shrug them off as frivolous. Don’t overcrowd your schedule. You have to remember that you are only one person and can only fit so much into one day.
Having the visualization of your appointments, meetings and daily tasks laid out on paper also allows you to become more efficient. For example, picking up the dry cleaning, doing marketing, picking up supplies, etc. may be able to be accomplished in one trip instead of three. This can free up some valuable time. Once you begin to organize your time so it works for you instead of against you you will then be able to fit in more “me” time to balance out your life.
Don’t forget a healthy diet. Eating well will give you the energy to get everything done so don’t skip meals or grab something from a fast food chain just because it is quick and easy. If you do not have time to cook there are many healthy alternatives. Most grocery stores sell ready-made fresh salads and hot meals. Take advantage of these conveniences.
Being late will prevent you from climbing the corporate ladder.
When asked what the number one piece of advice he would give an employee on the subject of office etiquette and career success, Peter Post, co-author of The Etiquette Advantage in Business: Personal Skills for Professional Success answered, “Be on time”. Being punctual for your work day, your appointments, and your deadlines shows respect for others and for yourself.
You want to have the reputation as someone who is prepared, organized and respectful. Being chronically or habitually late gives the impression that your time is more important than everyone else’s since you keep others waiting with your tardiness. It reflects a serious lack of organization skills and perhaps will even give the impression that you do not like your job or the person you are meeting with.
If you are serious about your career and are looking to climb the corporate ladder, the first thing you need to do is change the way you think about punctuality.
Here are a few tips to help you be on time:
- Breaking the Snooze Button habit. Getting up on time will set the pace for your day. If you are the type who likes to roll over and hit the snooze button to grab 5 more minutes of sleep then you need to either break the habit or plan for it. Place your alarm clock out of arms reach. If you have to get out of bed to hit a snooze button you are less likely to oversleep. The other alternative is to set the alarm 5 minutes earlier. This will allow you that luxury of a 5 minute snooze after the alarm goes off.
- Get ready the night before. If much of your morning routine revolves around selecting what to wear, preparing lunch or packing your briefcase you need to shift those tasks to the evening. Preparing your work day before you go to bed will free up time in the morning so you will never be scrambling to get out the door on time.
- Everything in it’s place. Having a designated place for your keys, purse, day planner, etc. will eliminate the panic and the delay the next morning when you can’t find your keys or your glasses and it is time to leave for work.
- Be a clock watcher. Many people no longer wear wrist watches because they use electronic devices such as cell phones as a means to tell time. As a chronically late person, you need visual reminders of the time so you don’t lose track of it. Buy a desk clock for your office and wall clocks for your home so you are more aware of the time. Treat yourself to a nice wrist watch.
- Set the alarm to go to bed. Being well rested is another key to having your day go on schedule. If you are tired and fatigued you are less likely to be prepared for the next day. Just like having a set time to get up in the morning, you should also have a set time to go to bed at night on workdays. Set your alarm 15 minutes before your target bed time. This will allow a few minutes to finish up what you are doing, get through your bedtime routine and get into bed on time. If your night time routine is longer than 15 minutes, adjust the alarm accordingly.
- Lie to yourself. If all else fails and you are unable to get yourself to work, meetings or scheduled events on time, you need to plan to be late. If you have an appointment at 10:00, write it in your day planner as 9:45. This will allow you a 15 minute grace period for tardiness. If you do manage to get there on time you now have a treat of 15 minutes to have a coffee or a quick call to a friend.
Being late because of a traffic jam or freak snow storm is sometimes unavoidable and your boss or your client will understand. Being late because you couldn’t find your keys or you overslept will not be so easily accepted and it may cost you that promotion.
Getting Control Of Your Work-Life Balance
Maintaining work-life balance is not a simple task in today’s working environments. If you feel like your life is just “eat, sleep and work”, then chances are your work-life balance is off kilter. There are specific strategies you can implement to help you decrease the stress of work overload.
5 Strategies to Restore Work-Life Balance
- Explore your options with your employer. Perhaps the option for flex hours is available to you. Being able to control the work hours can make you more available to participate in non-work related activities in your life. Another option may be a compressed work week. You could work four 10 hour days instead of five 8 hour days. That will give you one more day off per week to fit in social activities or downtime to help restore balance and de-stress.
- Just say no. Learning to tactfully say no when someone wants you to make a time commitment, whether it is job related or socially, is important. You do not need to feel guilty about making it known you are at your max when it comes to taking on new projects.
- Learn to leave your job at work. Although the technology is in place for most of us to carry on our work day at home, it is important that you leave work at work and concentrate on your home life when you are at home. Keeping a separation and distinction between the two is a very big step in restoring your work-life balance.
- Eat your veggies and get your sleep. One key factor in being able to manage a healthy balance between work and home life is making sure you are taking care of yourself. Eat a proper diet, get enough exercise and make sure you get enough sleep. You can’t expect to perform at your peak levels if you are neglecting your body. Make time every day for physical activities such as walking, yoga or cycling. If you have a friend who will also participate with you that is even better.
- Make a date with yourself. Scheduling in free time to your calendar is a must. In order to be more productive at your job, you need to have a proportionate amount of downtime to just relax, have fun and socialize.
Get help with restoring your work-life balance if you do not seem to be able to get control yourself. Everyone needs a little help now and again. Consulting a life or career coach or a mental health professional will help you turn your chaotic life back into a more fulfilling life where you are able to pause, take a breath and enjoy being you.
I came across this article by Michelle Jayes that discusses the three main benefits of better time management for an online income business and thought it was so good I wanted to share it with you because she shares many of my beliefs.
We have all heard at one time or another about the benefits that can be derived from better time management. This is a subject that is discussed by every self-help authority and successful entrepreneur, and it applies equally whether you are running an online business from home or if you own a bricks and mortar business.
The question is whether you have ever considered why you should spend any time on learning better time management skills and if it is worth your while to invest in them? The truth is that for anybody who has battled to manage their time better, it certainly is.
Here are three of the main benefits of having better time management skill:
1. Being in Control!
When you are able to manage your time more effectively, you have better control over your life. By planning your daily activities before-hand you will have more clarity and be more aware of what you will need to do, and in what order so that you can get it all done.
When you plan ahead of time and work out what time needs to be allocated to each task, you will immediately be relieving yourself of a lot of unnecessary pressure as you will understand what you need to do and you don’t have to waste time worrying and trying to remember each thing, all that has to be done is to work systematically through your list.
The advantage that you gain from this is that you will feel far more confident about completing your tasks and reaching the goals you have set.
2. Less Stress Means Greater Productivity?
When one works to a plan that is set out for the day, there is immediately a feeling of being less stressed as you know what is required and you have a plan to follow and this leads to being more productive, which in turn leads to a greater sense of job satisfaction. You are also able to enjoy what you do and will feel much happier.
Another benefit is that when you are more productive you achieve more in a shorter space of time and will end up with more free time on your hands. This is time that you can devote to your family, friends or just chill out and do something that your really enjoy.
3. Enjoying more Free Time;
When you learn to control the amount of time that you take on a daily basis to complete the tasks required for your online income business, you will have more free time to spend doing things that are important to you that are not connected directly to your business.
It is absolutely necessary to have some time to relax and get rid of excess stress because if you fail to do this chances are you will become less productive and the quality of your work will suffer. Even people who believe that they can perform better under pressure actually only produce good results if the stress is short lived.
A small amount of stress can force a person to focus and concentrate on a task and this can be a good thing, but too much stress will eventually affect their health and their work will deteriorate in quality. Being able to have some free time in which to relax and enjoy yourself is essential for your health and the success of your online business enterprise.
Time management is one skill that generally gets overlooked or put on to the back-burner to be learned at a later date. This is a mistake if you want to not only make a success of your online business but also if you want to be able to enjoy the results of having made a success of it. It is well worth your time to develop these skills for the benefits you will gain.
If you enjoyed this article by Michelle Jayes then visit her website www.online-income-business.com for more great ideas and business opportunities and sign up for her free newsletter.
I hope that you will put this information on time management to good use. Feeling a little stressed is okay as long as you still feel in control. Lose that control and it will feel like your whole world is in a tail spin and nothing seems to get done.
Step 1: Master Your Morning
• Make a To-Do list.
• Focus on time management.
• Complete one task at a time.
• Discipline yourself to follow through on your task to completion and avoid interruptions.
Step 2: Develop Goals for the Week
• Keep a notebook on your desk to jot down upcoming tasks.
• Develop a short-term and long-term goals list.
• Get out of the habit of having sticky notes all over your desk, computer, etc.
Step 3: Stop Procrastinating
• Choose your best time of the day to complete tasks.
• First, take care of those tasks you dread the most. After you are finished you will see it wasn’t that bad after all.
• Set deadlines for yourself and commit to them no matter what.
Step 4: Prioritize Everything
• Use colored folders to locate files quickly.
• Start with your most time sensitive tasks.
• Arrange tasks in order of deadline.
• Don’t forget to enter the deadlines on your calendar.
• If someone gives you an assignment don’t forget to ask for the deadline.
• Learn to say “no”. If you know your schedule does not permit another task on your list then you should make it known. Is there someone else who may be able to assist you?
Step 5: Organize Your Desk
• Begin your day with a clean desk. Take off anything that is not work related.
• Place needed tools on your desk such as stapler, tape dispenser, paper trays, etc.
• Try to keep up with your filing on a daily basis. Discard duplicate documents according to your company policy.
• Clear your desk each day before you leave the office.
Step 6: Limit Office Interruptions
• Remove candy dishes from your desk and out of view. (Discourages co-workers from stopping by to get a snack.)
• Your work area should not face the door where you may be visible and an easy target for interruptions.
• Should you have an important deadline and experience constant interruptions find a vacant office to escape.
• Ask co-workers if you may get back to them once you are finished your deadline.
• Place your phone on do not disturb and listen to your voice mail and e-mail while on a break.
Step 7: Conquer Your E-mail
• Turn off the sound of your e-mail notification.
• Schedule a time to preview e-mail. It is not necessary to constantly check your e-mail messages unless you are expecting one.
• Set your e-mail view to auto preview.
• “Go Green” Don’t print messages unless you have to.
• Read e-mails once, take action and then move the message to the appropriate folder.
• Review outgoing messages for grammar and spelling mistakes.
Step 8: Manage Your Phone Calls
• Place a call log by your phone.
• Keep your voice mail greeting current.
• If you have a receptionist have them screen your calls.
• Schedule a time to return your calls in order of importance.
• Gather documentation you may need prior to returning the call.
• Always be prepared to leave a voice mail. It is better to leave a voice mail instead of having someone take a message. You then have the opportunity to provide details on the voice mail.
Step 9: Delegate Tasks
• Review your task list and decide which tasks can be re-assigned.
• Focus on those tasks that need more of your expertise.
• Make sure you explain the tasks well to the person for which you are delegating. Remember to include the deadline.
• Delegation is a form of motivation for others.
• Document the employee you have given each task including the deadline.
• Once you have given the employee the assignment don’t micro-manage.
Step 10: Plan Productive Meetings
• Review the expenses for the meeting. Would it be more productive to send a PowerPoint in an e-mail?
• Is the meeting necessary? Is it going to provide useful information?
• Gather all the pertinent information for the meeting:
o Time frame
• Appoint employees to participate in the meeting.
• Send out a reminder to participants prior to the meeting.
• Develop an agenda for the meeting.
• Avoid distracting elements such as phones and intercoms.
• Conclude the meeting on schedule.
Do you have enough time to do all the things that you really should be doing today? Or, like most people, do you find yourself laboring under a mountain of “to dos”, never getting through it and then find that you simply haven’t done some of the things that you really wanted to or should have done? Are you a slave to others’ demands at work? Are you trying to juggle job and family responsibilities and finding that you’re getting neither done properly? Are you one of these people who has to take home work at the weekend to “catch up”?
One of the biggest problems with the modern pace of life is that we don’t seem to have enough hours in the day to get everything done. One of the most frequent questions that I am asked, when I propose that people slow down, “smell the roses” and give themselves the space and time to be inspired is “are you seriously suggesting that I slow down when I don’t even have the time to do what I’m supposed to be doing at the moment?” Yes, I am – we all need to give ourselves extra time to do the important things and let the things that you should not be doing just pass us by. How much time are you wasting on stuff that should never be given your attention in the first place? How many emails do you read that you shouldn’t bother reading at all? How many emails do you receive that don’t require your attention – as you know, particularly in large organizations, the majority of emails you receive are either not worth reading or shouldn’t have been sent in the first place – how many emails in large companies are CCed to everyone in existence in what amounts to compulsive ass-covering! And how many of us get a kick out of feeling important because of the number of emails that we have to deal with?
Many years ago, in the days before mobile ‘phones or emails, a good friend, the Executive Chairman of a well-known company, went through a difficult divorce which left him, one Friday afternoon following the final court hearing, with sole custody of two children aged 9 and 11 years. That Sunday evening he decided that his children were his first priority. He called his fellow Board members and told them that he wouldn’t be in on Monday – for three months! Three months later, he arrived back to an office piled high with paper (remember, this is pre-email), left the office again, returned with a roll of trash bags and dumped every single thing. Of all the paper in that room, only one issue came back to bite! The moral of the story – he spent most of his time on things that did not require his attention.
Not only do we allow others waste our time, we’re experts at wasting our own time. How much time do you spend on negative gossip – the sort where you revel in others’ bad news or misfortune? I will readily admit that chit-chat is useful – we often learn important things at the water cooler that we’d otherwise never find out. But negative gossip is a waste of your time and energy. How much time do you waste wallowing in the bad news on the inside pages of the newspaper – who murdered, assaulted or raped whom? Not only is this a waste of your time, it actually confirms to you that your normal “not-too-bad” life is OK! How much time do you waste surfing the ‘net or joining groups on Facebook like “I’s sick of people cheering every time I go out on my balcony”?! How much time do you waste channel-hopping at night? How much time do you waste thinking negative thoughts, worrying, imagining the worst scenarios? How much time do you waste bitching about work colleagues, maneuvering or jockeying for position in your organization instead of doing what you’re paid to do?
Cut out the crap and you’ll find that you’ve got lots of time to do the important things – with some left over for a little reflection, meditation, self improvement and, most importantly, to do some of the things that really turn you on. How will you know what’s crap and what isn’t? Well, a clear and present mind is as sharp as a razor’s edge – it knows the difference between something worth doing and something that you should simply let pass. Indeed, a clear and present mind is the one sure way of ensuring that, not only do you cut out the crap, but that, while you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, you’re fully doing it.
In other words, you should fully do one thing at a time. The female of the species often says to me “but what about multi-tasking” (perhaps, as modern neuro-psychology progresses, we’ll find out that this gendered ability is more myth than fact – but that’s another day’s work)? Well, when you’re multi-tasking you might be doing three things in one minute. That means, perhaps, one thing each twenty seconds – that means that, for those twenty seconds, you fully attend to what you’re doing.
Life is made up of moments – each moment a unique opportunity to fully do what you’re doing, to fully focus on that moment and to disregard the things and people that have a habit of diverting us from the opportunity of the moment. The opportunity? To live life to the full, be fully present, be more effective, more productive and more turned on, moment to moment. When you do that, not only will you get all the important things done, you might just find that there are even more important things that the universe can do for you.
Willie Horton, an Irish ex-accountant and ex-banker, has worked as a success coach to business leaders and sports people since 1996. He moved to the French Alps in 2002, from where his free weekly Self-Help video seminar is sent to thousands of people worldwide. His Online Personal Development Self Help Workshop is used all over the world, clients say it’s life-changing. Info: http://www.gurdy.net
Overcoming Procrastination – Part 1
Almost all of us are guilty of procrastination at one time or another but when it becomes a habit and interferes with our progress or productivity it can be a harmful habit. When we recognize that it is just that, a habit, we know that these behaviors can be changed with a little coaching and guidance.
Definition of Procrastination: the habit of putting off or delaying or deferring an action to a later time.
For many people, there are underlying reasons for procrastinating. In this series, I will discuss them and help you find the motives behind your behaviors and offer advice on how to overcome them.
Information overload can lead a person to putting off a task. Your mind can only process so much information before it begins to feel overwhelmed and unmotivated to take any action.
If this seems to be your problem, here are some simple solutions to beating that over-worked and overwhelmed feeling when presented with a task.
- Write down the benefits of completing the job and assign yourself a small reward for following through to completion.
- Break the whole thing down into smaller steps or tasks. Performing the task in smaller increments will allow your brain to process the information and workload one step at a time and it will relieve the stress when you can see it as a series of tasks instead of one big job.
- Write it down. Many of the reasons people feel overwhelmed are because they think “I will never remember all of this”. Put it on paper and keep it handy while you work.
- Check it off. Check off each one of the tasks as you complete them. This will boost your motivation and it will give your mind a visual of the progress you are making.
- Enjoy the benefits and rewards you have earned!
Set aside time to really enjoy your accomplishment and the associated rewards. Do not spend that time worrying about the next task you will be presented with. Clear your desk, clear your mind and just celebrate a job well done.
By recognizing just how good it feels when you finish, you will soon begin to associate THAT feeling with any new tasks instead of the apprehension that you have experience in the past when presented with a challenge.
Career Coaching – Time Management
If you are a career oriented individual setting goals should be a routine you are very familiar with. Reaching those goals is another matter. Time management is a challenge that many people struggle with.
You know the path you want to take. You know what you have to do to reach your ultimate destination in life. You just need to learn how to prioritize and focus on implementing the steps you have set out for yourself. There are not enough hours in the day to work on everything at once. Trying to do it all at one time will cause undue stress and will actually be counter-productive in the long run.
The old saying “The hurrier I go the behinder I get” applies when you have set a pace that is impossible to maintain over a long period of time. Be realistic in what you can comfortably accomplish. Remember that life is a journey and it should be a pleasant trip. I like to think of goals as ladders. If you have 5 ladders that you are trying to climb all at one time you will climb one or two rungs on the first one,hit a bit of resistance,jump off and climb one or two on the next. If you continue on this course of action you will never reach the top of any of those ladders. Instead you need to choose one ladder and climb it to the top before tackling the next one.
Take a good look at your ladders. Decide which ones require immediate action and which ones require ongoing attention. It is possible to tackle more than one at a time but only if they are related or do not conflict. For example, if one of your goals is to continue your education by taking a 10 week night class you could combine that with your goal of becoming more physically fit by walking at least part of the way to class. These two goals do not conflict and are very doable without causing more stress. I would, however, not consider adding a goal to attend a weekly networking event to the mix. This might interfere with the homework you may need to complete and create a feeling of being overworked.
Remember to keep your life in balance. You have to schedule in some downtime for relaxation and recreation. This is just as important to your success as hard work is. Maintaining relationships with friends and family, performing well at work and striving to improve yourself and your situation is a great balancing act that requires careful coordination. Do not allow your focus on one area to upset the balance of your life as a whole. If you are having difficulty managing your time or prioritizing your goals a life or career coach can help you achieve your goals while keeping your life in balance.