Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Time-consuming (02/24/11)
TITLE: Investment Strategy
By Kim Hamlin
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We all have 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, and unless you’ve invented something I’m not aware of, we can’t change it. Time management is a myth. You can’t manage time, you can only manage you. In America, we don’t take much vacation, about 10 days per year. If you are self-employed, that number is less. Wouldn’t you like to spend about 40% of the time you have control over, doing something meaningful? Here’s the roadmap:
1. Get a notebook, a small one you can carry in your pocket or purse. When you spend time doing something you didn’t have to, write it down. This would include watching television, surfing the Internet, chat rooms, phone calls, waiting in line, staring into space, etc. Do this for a week and try to factor in how much time was wasted due to procrastination and lack of planning. Could time have been saved if you had not put that item off or if you had planned better? Think about it, it’s important. Don’t skip this step. It’s critical, if you love your time.
2. This is the fun step. Write down all the things you LIKE to do. It doesn’t matter if its reading, fishing, scuba diving, walking, hiking, sunbathing, yodeling, etc., write it down. Don’t hold back, even if it’s something that you don’t think you will ever get to do, write it down anyway. Now, look at your list…it’s a wonderful list, isn’t it? Until now, time to do all those things was a fantasy. All that’s about to change.
3. Get out another sheet of paper. I know, but this isn’t paper-saving advice, that’s another article. Now is the time to organize your have-tos. We all have to make phone calls, some of us really need to be on the Internet sometimes and we all need down-time (the part where we stare into space). The trick is to schedule it. It may seem ridiculous at first, but it works. When you think of something that you feel you have to do, don’t do it. No, write it down! See, what happens is, if you keep this list of all the things you have to do, you can combine them. For example, if you are waiting in line at Starbucks (a necessity for some of us), you can potentially knock out two phone calls, depending on the line and the ineptitude of the service. Make a promise to yourself that you will never leave your house to do just one thing. Look for opportunities to accomplish more in the same amount of time.
4. Review, review, review. It’s important that you review your list of have-tos with your list of the things you like to do. It’s motivating and constructive. What will start to happen is you will free up blocks of time. It won’t be significant at first, but then it becomes a happy obsession. You will start to see patterns. It’s only through these exercises that your pattern starts to emerge and then you can take hold of it, wrestle it to the ground and tie it down. That may be a bit extreme, but you get the point. Once you start to see a pattern, you can start to sneak some of your like-to items into your have-to list. Slowly, but inevitably, you can have a name-changing ceremony for your have-to list. I now call it the master list. Then, the like-to list becomes only a planning list. This is just where you keep the items at until you fit them into your Master.
This is the way I managed to get in the things I love to do into the hours that are eaten up by the things I have to do. It takes planning and prioritizing, and it’s not fun at first. But, it’s important if we want our lives to be more than eating, sleeping and going to the bathroom. We have two choices; we can master our time or let it continue to master us.
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