Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A New Year, A New Old Strategy

I read somewhere that you can only keep so many balls in the air…… actively keep up with x number of friends, businesses you like or hobbies, work, and family. I’d say this is the modern take on you can only keep so many irons in the fire. But I have to say I think it really is true. The actual number may vary from person to person but I know that personally, for myself, the more I use social media sites, the older forums I used to visit get less and less attention. The more groups on FB I become a member of, the less I use Wind Dancer’s page. And if by some wild miracle I do manage to keep up with all of that, my family misses my face.

I like my family, my kids are on that verge of taking flight and I don’t want to miss out on what little time I have left with them in our little nest. So I’m thinking a little streamlining is in order. Not so much a cutting of anything... I Like, REALLY like, the circle of friends, family and acquaintances I have managed to surround myself with.

I just need to get back into the habit of managing my time a little better. I had a pretty good routine going for awhile and I seemed to have slipped back into old habits - actually, I think I overloaded my plate a little and haven’t quite figured out how to juggle it all. I need to categorize and prioritize and schedule. Oddly enough (or Coincidentally?) I’ve had several e-mails arrive lately touching on this very subject. I know it’s January and I usually do this in late August or May, I’m either early or late but that doesn’t really matter. What needs doing, needs doing. And as evidenced by my recent e-mails, doing in January just means I have lots of company in the doing, right? Right!~

It wasn’t that long ago - or maybe it was - my morning was cup of coffee, get the kids off to school, hit the gym, second cup of coffee, quick pick up around the house and THEN e-mail etc. Book keeping and Errands before picking kids up. I could sit and make while they did homework and we could talk about our day.

Look at how productive that was! I’m pretty sure a very large part of all that productivity had to do with all the energy I had from morning work outs….. not to mention the set schedule.

The nice thing is when we built the house we included a gym - once I finish cleaning up my studio (I still have several items that need relocating) I am moving on to the gym! I've managed to fit in some morning work outs. It’s been awhile but it has really felt good to get moving again. As does that little burst of energy that comes along after a workout. I think I just might have it back on track in no time!

To reinforce what I had just typed - serendipitously, this showed up in my e-mail…….

5 Morning Rituals to Keep You Productive All Day Long

Most of us work long hours: 40, 50 or even 60 hours each week. But chances are, given distractions like online entertainment, office snacking habits and ill-designed time management, we're only churning out high-quality work a portion of each day.

Here are five practical steps to incorporate into any morning routine to optimize your time at the office and maintain productivity all day long:

7 minutes of exercise. Yep, not 10 -- just seven. Why? It's short enough that it won't impact the rest of your morning routine and long enough to shake off any residual sluggishness from the night before -- including that extra glass of wine.

There are endless fitness routines to turn to, but the one I like best is called the 7 Minute Workout (and yes, there's an app for that). In just seven minutes, it works all major muscle groups with 12 total exercises.

Start your day out green. Sure, we've all been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it's pretty easy to reach for a bagel, bowl of cereal, egg sandwich or cup of yogurt to get your metabolism going.

While all of these options are fine choices once in a while, you'll be shocked at the morning lift you can get from a green smoothie. And healthy juicing requires less time in the morning than toasting a bagel and slathering it with low fat cream cheese.

I go quick and easy, blending (for about a minute): one apple, one banana, one orange, a handful of spinach, half of a cucumber, any juice or coconut water on hand, a few cubes of ice and some flax seed. It's cheap, easy and energizing.

Pick 3 wins for the day. While you're waiting for that smoothie to blend, get ahead of the evening's conversation with your significant other -- you know, the one that starts, "How was your day?"

Decide on the three things that you'd like to accomplish in the next 12 hours in order for you to feel like the day was a success. Sure, not every day will be an epic win, but strategizing in this way will help to move the ball forward.

Block your calendar to achieve wins. One of the most common mistakes people make at the office is not turning to-do lists into time-bound, effective project lists. I've found that people who have mastered this hack are far more likely to deliver tasks on time.

It's simple: For each of the big things on your list, block off the amount of time on your calendar that you estimate the task might take -- and then add 33% more time just to be sure.

If a project is multi-day or has dependencies, break it up into digestible chunks. Use one block to plan and a second or third block to accomplish.

This simple method will help hold you accountable and immediately help you refocus on the tasks you've prioritized when you do get distracted. Too often, we let one distraction steamroll an entire morning -- now you don't have to let that client email derail you from your winning plan for the day.

Power up after lunch. Take the 15 minutes right after lunch to refocus on the day -- a kind of professional meditation. Get away from your computer, turn it off, go sit in a conference room and determine what you have on tap for the rest of the day.

Think about how the list you set in the morning is shaping up. Are you ahead of schedule? Behind schedule? You'll find that these 15 minutes help you identify how you got derailed, what's causing you distractions and help you to rediscover a rhythm to be productive all day long.

Give this simple formula a try for a week and I think you'll be pleased with the results. Here's to a more productive 2014!

I don’t remember who posted it or from what group/subscription it came but here’s the link:


Have a great day, Week, Month, and Year!

Thanks for stopping by today!

See ya next time!

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