Getting a Hold of Your Time – Finally

7:32 am

This week I had 3 meetings where a significant amount of time was spent on how everyone is overwhelmed with work and information. People are wading through emails and phone calls and not able to get to the really important work.

Time-management expert Brian Tracy has created a book that reminds you of the only way to do it in Eat that Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time (Second edition, revised and updated with 2 new chapters)

The advice is only 117 pages long and it took me less than an hour to read. But what a valuable hour. Reminders to plan ahead, prioritize and write everything down, among other things, gave me a little breathing room in an otherwise frenzied week. After all, in these meetings, we all had confessed to getting into the habit of putting out fires and moving on to the next crisis, without making time for all of the other stuff awaiting us.

So what else can you do to stay on top of your to-do list?

Here is what he had to say about “the law of forced efficiency”:

“The average person in business today, especially a manager in the age of cutbacks, is working at 110 to 120 percent of capacity. And the jobs and responsibilities just keep piling up. We all have stacks of reading material we still have to go through. One recent study concluded that the average executive has 300 to 400 hours of reading and projects backlogged at home and the office.

What this means is that you will never be caught up. Get that wishful idea out of your mind. All you can hope for is to be on top of your most important responsibilities. The others will just have to wait.”

And while this might sound pessimistic to some, I think that it brings with it a sigh of relief. We can’t do everything put before us, so just do one thing at a time and do as much as you can.

The women I talked to this week were feeling immense guilt about not taking proper care of their clients, but they couldn’t possibly give 120% to all of them equally all at the same time.

So knowing that we can let go of sometime allows for the room to work on the big stuff. And for me, that was a revelation.

In this age of getting our information on the net and receiving a ton of emails that can seemingly demand our immediate attention, Tracy’s voice was one of utter calm and soothing tones.

I really needed the reminders and will make sure to revisit them the next time I open my email to over 200 messages or have 4 pieces due on the same day.

I am sending this book to one of my friends that I met with this week. And I’m thinking of getting a couple of copies and sending them to the other women as well.

I think we need all the help that we can get. And now that I have followed his 21 ways (almost all of them… it’ll take awhile to get back in the habit) to get more done in less time, I am off to mail this book to my friend and write notes of comfort to the others.

Ahh. That feels good.

And it’s only going to get better.

Tomorrow I tackle my inbox.

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