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Friday, May 16, 2014

The Nice Person's Guide To Ruthless Time Management 05-17

The Nice Person's Guide To Ruthless Time Management

“How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon.
December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?” –Dr. Seuss
Most of us fantasize about getting a few extra hours each day. But the truth is that even a dozen extra hours in our day would be of no use to us unless we change our attitude. And if we just change our attitude, 24 hours in a day is more than enough.

But how are we to change our attitude? Adopting these mantras is crucial:
1. “I’m willing to disappoint others.” In other words, you simply have to start saying no to others’ requests. Sorry, I know you came here looking for practical tips that would be easy to exercise and that wouldn’t let others down. But bear with me through the unpleasantness: This is like looking at a deep wound long enough to realize that a small bandage won’t get the job done.
Just remember: If the time fairies waved their wands and gave you an extra 12 hours daily, your situation wouldn’t improve. In fact, you’d just sink into a bigger quagmire–because all those bossy and inconsiderate people would feel more entitled than ever to beg you to attend additional meetings, drop them off at airports or join various task forces.
You can thwart others’ agendas—and with a little practice, you can do it nicely and with a smile. And then you’ll finally be free to go where you want to go, do what you want to do, and be the person you want to be. And saying no isn’t as hard as it seems. Try variations like “Hmm, I can’t commit until I see what else I have going on that day” or “I’d love tobut” or “Maybe you should ask Ralph instead, he’s just standing there like a dummy.”
2. “I’m willing to miss my flight. There’ll be another one.” 
The most successful leaders I know consistently run late, usually without apology. They’re more willing to miss a bus or flight than to scurry after it while waving their umbrellas in the air.
Missing a few flights now and then is more important to your ability to be strong in your life than constantly, barely making every flight before the attendants secure the doors. It will also give you a chance to refuel emotionally while the world temporarily carries on without you. 
“Why should the lord of the country flit about like a fool? If you let yourself be blown to and fro, you lose touch with your root. –Lao Tzu
Resolve to stop scurrying. Be present. Being present and staying in the moment has the effect of slowing time down. If you listen to star athletes making the jump from high school to college or college to the pros, they often talk about a moment when “everything begins to slow down.” That’s usually when they’ve finally disciplined themselves to do what they must do without anxiety or fear of the future.
3. “I’m a temporal innovator.” That’s 21st century management-speak for, “I’m creative, resourceful and productive while other people are just laying around, spinning their wheels.”
“The most time I waste is usually sitting in boarding areas, waiting for flights,” says T.J. Sullivan, a busy figure on the national college-speaking circuit and CEO of the CAMPUSPEAK speakers bureau.  “I make that time more productive by entering all the addresses I’ll be using in the coming days into my portable GPS. It saves me lots of time when I’m actually on the ground, driving from place to place.”
Saying thank-you to clients is a part of the job that many in his field don’t attend to properly. “Sometimes, the thank-you and follow-up notes can get back logged,” Sullivan says. “I always carry a dozen or so postcards in my bag, with postage already affixed. I can write those notes anywhere, anytime, dropping them at the hotel front desk on my way in or out.”
In the end, we can’t actually manage time; it flows at pretty much the same speed regardless. But we can manage ourselves, which changes our perception of time.
And, for people who are too nice, there’s no way around it: You need to be ruthless about protecting your schedule and your priorities and your agenda … because no one else will. It’s not their job to look out for your plans.
No, life isn’t fleeting. As the Roman philosopher Seneca noted: “Life, if well lived, is long enough.”

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