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The pace and intensity of our lives, both at work and at home, leave several of us feeling like a person riding a frantically galloping horse. Our day-to-day incessant busyness — too much to do and not enough time; the pressure to produce and check off items on our to-do list by each day’s end — seems to decide the direction and quality of our existence for us.
However, if we approach our days in another way, we can consciously change this out-of-control pattern. It only requires the courage to do less. This may sound simple, but doing less can actually be very difficult. Too often, we mistakenly believe that doing less makes us lazy and results in a lack of productivity. Rather than, doing less helps us enjoy what we do achieve. We learn to do less of what is extraneous, and engage in fewer self-defeating behaviors, so we create a rich life that we truly feel great about.
Just doing less for its own sake can be easy, startling, and transformative. Imagine having a real and unhurried conversation in the middle of an unforgiving workday with somebody you care about. Imagine completing one discrete task at a time and feeling calm and happy about it. In this book, you will see a new approach. The approach is equally useful for our personal life and our work life. In fact, the two hemispheres of our work and personal lives constantly reflect on and affect one another, each changing and/or reinforcing the other.
Every life has awesome meaning, but the fog of constant activity and plain bad habits can often obscure the meaning of our own. Acknowledge and change these, and we can again enjoy the ways we contribute to the workplace, enjoy the sweetness of our lives, and share openly and generously with the ones we love. Less busyness leads to appreciating the sacredness of life. Doing less leads to more love, more effectiveness and internal calmness, and a greater ability to accomplish more of what matters most to us.
How To Accomplish More In A Fraction Of The Time
Getting Results Super Fast Through Prioritizing, Leveraging And Focus
Chapter 1: Prioritizing
Not everything in life can be a priority. Many important things will compete for attention over your lifetime, but there are not enough hours in anybody's lifetime to give attention to everything that could potentially be a priority.
Determining your basic priorities is a key exercise in moving toward more efficient use of your time. Your basic priorities provide a means for making time choices, helping you decide where it is important to invest yourself and where you are able to let go.
Setting priorities is a matter of deciding what is very important. In this case, "important" means significant to you. What activities and roles give your life meaning? These are the components of your life where you would like to succeed the most.
Not everything in your life can be a priority. Many important things will compete for attention over your lifetime, but there are not enough hours in anybody's lifetime to give attention to everything that could potentially be a priority. Determining your basic priorities is a key exercise in moving toward more efficient use of your time. Your basic priorities provide a means for making time choices, helping you decide where it is important to invest yourself and where you are able to let go.
On a daily basis, you also have to learn to set task priorities. Prioritizing tasks includes two steps:
• Recognizing what needs to be done
• Deciding on the order in which to do the tasks
How do you determine what work needs to be done? For the most part, it relates back to your basic priorities. To be efficient in your time use, you have to weed out the work that does not fit with your basic priorities. Learn to say "no" to jobs that look interesting and may even provide a secure sense of accomplishment but do not fit with your basic priorities.
You also have to be able to separate out the tasks that require busywork that tends to eat away at your time. Many tasks that fill your day may not really need doing at all or could be done less frequently. Task prioritizing means working on the most significant tasks first regardless how tempted you are to less significant tasks out of the way.
Certain skills help in using time effectively. Most of these skills are mental. While it is not necessary to develop all of the skills, each contributes to your ability to direct time usage.
Time sense is the skill of estimating how long a task will take to accomplish. A good sense of time will help you be more realistic in planning your activities. It helps prevent the frustration of never having quite enough time to accomplish tasks.
To increase your time sense, begin by making mental notes of how long it actually takes to do certain routine tasks like getting ready in the morning, running a load of laundry or delivering your child across town to baseball practice.
Goal setting is the skill of deciding where you want to be at the end of a specific time. Goal setting gives direction to your morning, your day, your week and your lifetime. The exercise on deciding your lifetime priorities is a form of goal setting. Learn to write down your goals.
If you are like most people, goals are just wishes until you write them down. Keep your goals specific, as in "weed the flower beds in front of the house" rather than "work on the yard." Keep your goals realistic or you will continually be frustrated by a sense of failure.
Standard shifting is adjusting your standards as circumstances change. Your standards are what you use to judge whether something is good enough, clean enough, pretty enough, done well enough.
Perfectionists have very high, rigid standards, and they have trouble adjusting to the changing demands or circumstances of their life. Develop the ability to shift standards so you can be satisfied with less than perfect when your time demands are high, instead of feeling as if you are somehow falling short.
Time planning is outlining ahead of time the work you need to be done in a specific period. Sometimes time planning is as simple as writing out a "To Do" list to ease you mind from holding on to too much detail.
At particularly stressful times, the "To Do" list may expand to include a more specific calendar of when tasks will be done. While a detailed time schedule can be too confining to use all of the time, it is a good way to take the pressure off at exceptionally demanding times.
Recognizing procrastination is a skill in itself because procrastinators can do an incredible job of hiding their procrastination from themselves. Procrastination is needlessly postponing decisions or actions.
You might disguise the procrastination response with an excuse like waiting for inspiration, or needing a large block of time to concentrate with your full attention, or needing more information before tackling a project.
It takes skill to differentiate between procrastination excuses and legitimate reasons for delaying a decision or action. Without the ability to recognize when you are, procrastinating there is little chance of overcoming this immobilizing habit.