Well the menu split between this site and my DavidNashBlog.com fiction site is now complete. This menu system is still a bit crowded, but at least it now clearly spells out what I want to talk about in the non-fiction world. People who are interested in my fiction writing can grab the link to get quickly to the other site.
Today I’d like to take a minute to discuss productivity. I’ve commented on it a bit in the past, but I have begun a new book on how to take control of your time and make your life more meaningful and enjoyable. But, I believe that good ideas should be shared. So I’ve opened a section on this site where I’ll hit on some of the key points and insights from the book.
Today’s topic is one that I never see in any of the time management books I’ve read. Time tradeoffs.
Time is unlike any other resource you have to manage. You don’t get back a single moment. There are no do-overs. The moment arrives, it passes and it is gone. Right now, you (like every other person on this planet) are using every single moment of every single day. Think about it. You are not going to magically create an extra half hour in your schedule to write a bestseller, or get in shape, or start a new business. You are going to trade it for some other thing you would normally do.
One of the biggest mistakes I see people make in trying to “reschedule” their lives and “become more productive” is thinking they can add to their schedules without giving something else up. And, unlike a decade ago, we don’t have a lot of “odd moments” during the day where we can pop in progress on a half dozen projects we added to our schedules in the heat of New Year’s resolution fever.
So this year, I have a couple of simple suggestions to make you more successful in completing your goals.
1. Look at all the projects you currently have committed yourself to. All of them. Write them down! Look at the number. Does it look like you could get them all done? Most likely you would need to be cloned a half dozen times to accomplish them all.
Now, how many of them could be shelved for a year and nobody would know but you? Notice I’m not saying you have to give them up; I’m saying could they wait a year? How about six months? Give yourself that time. Clearly renegotiate the goals. Make a list. Write down that you will revisit those goals in January 2016. Put it right in your calendar.
2. Next, look at all the projects other people have committed you to. How many could you renegotiate? How many could you hand off to subordinates? How many simply should not be on your plate at all? Get rid of them!
Pay attention to people who are using you to accomplish their goals at the cost of your own. Perhaps it is time to stop blindly taking on every task they ask you to do?
If your boss wants you to do a new project ask him which current project he wants put on hold. If your schedule is full, (and you know it is) don’t half do jobs, make your boss give you additional resources or put some of your other projects on hold. A few of these renegotiations and you might find that you have a lot more respect around the office, and you will be getting more quality out of your workday.
3. This is the hard one. How many projects are you carrying around that you really don’t want to finish, but just feel that you started on them and need to get them done?
The worst type of project is the one you start for yourself and never quite find the time to do. Be honest with yourself. Every promise you break to another person lowers your self esteem and your belief that you can get the job done. But, promising yourself and hiding the fact that you are not getting it done is TWICE the damage.
Put the projects that are not getting done on the “to be reviewed in a year list” or if you have the strength, and it is time, let them go. I usually encourage people to put them on the list for a year if they are unsure. It is much easier to let go of a plan to learn to take scuba diving lessons after it has sat for a year and you can see how much progress you have made on other goals. In fact, sometimes it comes off the shelf and you do it.
If you start by performing the three tasks above then you will find that you can get a lot further with your goals for the New Year.
You can’t lie very well to yourself. If you don’t have the time for a new project, deep down you know it. So the first step in any successful new project should be to give yourself the time to accomplish it.
I have a new motto for this year. You are welcome to use it.
“I don’t have excuses… I get the job done.”
Here’s to a Happy and Successful New Year.