It’s About Time ...the clock is ticking!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have fond memories regarding my formative years. For one, I never missed a meal. Due to my father’s excellent cooking, I looked forward to gathering at the dinner table.  Dad made the best fried chicken in town. It was his claim to fame. Neighbors enlisted him to cook his special dish for every party on the block.

One day I breezed through our kitchen as he worked on a batch of golden fried poultry. My father looked up from his task and asked me to stay so that he could teach me this culinary art.

I smiled, and politely declined thinking there was plenty of time to learn trade secrets from this home chef. As it turned out, the clock ran out. I did not respect time.

I have a friend, let’s call her Kelsey. She never arrives anywhere on time but comes prepared with an excuse, sometimes creative, sometimes reasonable, often quite lame. Kelsey does not respect time.

My cousin Jimmy has been known to totally blank out on appointments. He claims he practices calendar management, but on occasion admits to losing track of the moments that lead to hours. Jimmy  clearly lacks a respect for time.

 

 

 

Valuing Time

What’s my point? My friends and I are guilty of disrespecting the one thing that stops for no one, time. The late author and motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, aptly sums it up for us:

“Time is of more value than money. You can get more money, you cannot get more time.”

At some level, we can all gauge of how much time is worth. If this article were about time management, or work life balance, I would direct you to a website to help you track and gain productivity. But, today, that is not my message. I’m talking about respecting time.

Time Analysis 

Right now, do a deep dive on your treatment of time. In fact, it might be helpful to drop down to the bottom line. How much time do you think you have left on this earth? Perhaps, 20, 30 or 40 years? Maybe more, maybe less?

As you contemplate time, quiz yourself. What exactly do you want to accomplish in the years remaining? Are you on the right path? Given the limited supply of your banked hours, how can you manage your time to live life filled with happiness and peace while adding value to those around you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those are personal questions only you can answer.

Time to Change

I will never have the opportunity to learn the art of frying chicken from my favorite chef. Life dealt a difficult lesson, but it taught me to revere the clock.  Value your time and the time of others. Remember, it’s a limited commodity.

 

Thanks for reading. Please leave your comments. I love hearing from you!

Getting Procrastination Out of the Closet

Starfishes on the beach

While unpacking my bags after a lovely beach vacation I opened a closet to put away some belongings. The joyful carefree mood I carried back from the coast instantly evaporated as I viewed the tangled mess of shoes and disorganized clothing. When did this happen I wondered? I always prided myself on maintaining a wardrobe where pristinely pressed clothing arranged in color hues hung neatly in the walk-in while my shoes obediently sat below in tidy rows. Okay, I’ll fess up. I had no reason fake surprise. I’ve been procrastinating over organizing that closet for several months.

The word procrastination stuck in my craw like the stray sandal I discovered wedged between a pair of black pumps. Typically I am not prone to delaying action items on my “to do” list. Scrolling through my memory of months past, I realized it took me forever this year to organize tax documents for the accountant. Several other recent instances came to mind where chores remained undone until the eleventh hour.

As a life coach I realized I needed to do some heavy duty self-coaching before my newly developed procrastination habit adhered itself to me like duct tape on a leaky beach ball. My concern was not why I recently fell behind. I’m human and occasionally succumb to bouts of rebellious laziness. My sole concern was instituting the fix.

Klebestreifenzettel auf Holz TIME TO START

I immediately invoked the ten minute rule. Experts at “Psychology Today” recommend a “five-minute rule,” but I knew 300 seconds wasn’t going to cut it. I positioned the timer and spent the full ten bringing some semblance of order to the wayward shoe jumble. Feeling a bit better about the closet fiasco, I knew the next step was setting a completion date. I reviewed my schedule for Monday and slotted in another 45 minutes to complete the job. Knowing that carrot motivation works better than the stick, I promised myself when the wardrobe reflected perfection I’d treat myself to a new beach cover-up, AFTER I compiled a stack of gently used items and dropped them off in the donation box. Had I resorted to self-bribery? Yes, but for a good cause.

Word quotes of STOP MAKING EXCUSES AND START MAKING CHANGES on colorful sticky papers hanging by a rope against blurred wooden background.

Are you blatantly ignoring a chore? Make time to tackle the job, even if it is just ten minutes a day. Reframe the outcome and sweeten the pie. Organizing the overloaded and unkempt garage means you could hold a garage sale. Just think what you could do with the proceeds!

 

Confessions from A Reformed Procrastinator

Seize The Day Concept
The bumper sticker I encountered this morning had a sobering effect on me. It read, “A year from now you may wish you had started today.” Definitely an effective wake-up call for procrastinators.

Looking back through the years, I clearly remember a time in my life when I sabotaged my success by putting things off. I overcame the procrastination syndrome after graduating from college. Numerous nights spent pouring over textbooks in last minute preparation for exams cured me. Never again do I want to experience that kind of desperation. In fact, I am sometimes plagued by dreams where I find myself sitting in my dorm room drinking coffee at 3:00 AM worrying about getting a passing grade as I frantically review my lecture notes.
Girl with stack color book .

Occasionally I may slip back into dragging my feet on action items, but for the most part I cured that negative habit. In my coaching practice, I work with clients on making behavioral changes leading to increased productivity.

Why do people procrastinate? There are multiple reasons ranging from fear of failure, or poor time management skills to mistakenly believing you work better under pressure. Sometimes the problem is just plain boredom as in the case of a geology course I was once forced to take. You can relate, right? Being forced to accomplish something in which you have a zero interest level, can cause a delay in getting to end zone.

Did you know that procrastination is bad for your health? Putting things off on a consistent basis can elicit a huge price tag in terms of physical ailments. Recent evidence found procrastinating college students contracted more flu, colds and gastrointestinal problems than those who planned ahead. According to a study done at Carlton University, in Ottawa, Canada, students who put things off were more likely to eat poorly, sleep less, and drink more than students who do homework promptly. Procrastination also results in stress, anxiety and nagging guilt.

Whatever the reason, the good news is procrastination is a behavior, and one that can be changed. In my coaching practice, I work with clients on making behavioral changes leading to increased productivity. If you fall into the category of continual task avoidance, read on.

To change your behavior, start by becoming a master scheduler. Begin with your “to do” list. As soon as a task, like a term paper or important financial report is assigned, relegate it to the master list. Next, schedule it on your calendar. Break the task into smaller parts setting deadlines for each segment.

I highly recommend tying the dreaded task to reward. If you’ve spent the morning doing research for your paper, treat yourself to a special lunch.

Making some immediate progress, even a minimal start, diminishes the dread procrastinators experience. My go to mantra is “beginning is halfway there,” or as Aristotle put it: “Well begun is half done.” Remind yourself a delay in getting started offers temporary relief at best. If you are still dragging your feet, fast forward to the consequences of waiting until the 11th hour.

Gain confidence by starting today. Think of one project you’ve been putting off, perhaps it’s getting rid of all the clutter in your garage. (I hope my husband is reading this.) Set a timer and dedicate one solid hour to the job. When the bell goes off you will be inspired to kick the habit.