Monday, August 29, 2011

3 Secrets & 3 Tips to Effective Time Management

Does anyone know the secret to time management? I think I have figured it out. In a discovery process, looking for what's actually manageable and what is not, I realized that time itself is NOT manageable! That's right. In fact, time manages us and not the other way around. Time is indifferent to our needs or agendas. It passes as it would whether there is chaos, productivity or lack thereof. Time as it relates to our human activities is influenced by the moon and the sun and other known or unknown elements far beyond our reach and control. Here are three secrets & tips to more effective time management.

Secret #1. We are not powerful enough nor resourceful enough to manage time. It is no wonder that we keep feeling a sense of failure when we try to manage time. So, shift your view from "time management" to "life or work management.” Let’s examine more closely what it is that we are trying to manage when we seek to "Manage Time." I put this question to a group of 65 GSOA staff and volunteers who attended my Mindful Time Management Workshop. Their responses included: Our tasks, events, life, week, agendas, work, kids, juggling, headaches, etc. Several moaned about never having enough time in a day to do the things they had to do. So, then what does time have to do with it? Other than meeting some imposed deadlines, time is of no relevance to our moment to moment experiences in life. Also, it is important to consider that we constantly react to what we perceive to be real as opposed to what is actually happening.

Secret #2: By aligning ourselves with the reality of what is taking place from moment to moment, we can actually find more time than we need. This means that many events occur during the day that if we saw them for what they were and not through our interpretations of these events, we might realize we do not need to engage or respond to them all. Hence, saving ourselves a lot of wasted time. Additionally, how we choose to spend our time is the key to managing our lives properly, effectively and with full satisfaction. And then there are the things that happen that are, or feel as though they are, out of our control.

Secret #3: Recognizing our time wasters, time savers and obstacles and properly working with them can create as much space and time as is needed in order to be successful.

Three Tips to create more time and space:
A. Create More Time: That's a good one you might be thinking, but how do we do that? Here is how: Develop a list called: Time Waster

Here are three examples of a list of 20 Time Wasters
  • Talking too much. Telling long stories to make a minute point - just because we want to prove we get it. Instead we could say, "I get it." or "I understand." and leave it at that.
  • Obsessing over past events. This is a big one, and we don't realize how much time we waste by repeatedly thinking or talking about what has passed over and over.
  • Disorganization, spending too much time looking for files on our computer, in our closet, in the kitchen, on our desk, etc.
How much time can you save by just adjusting these three things? For some people it could be hours.  What else wastes your time?

B. Create More Time: What? Isn't this the same as part A? Yes, but it's different. Create another list called: Time Savers.

Here are three examples of a list of 20 Time Savers:
  • Aim instead of Blame. How much time do you waste by looking for someone or something to blame when something is not going your way? Stop, get over it. Unless it is to make corrective actions, move to solution and intention rather than spending time defending yourself or persecuting others. Accept what's your part. It helps others accept their part instead of defending their case.
    • Set clear boundaries with those who tend to interrupt you in the middle of projects. And that goes for your own distractive mind. Figure out how much uninterrupted time you need and communicate it firmly and with kindness. Again, that goes for your own distractive mind as well. Keep returning your attention to the task when you are distracted.
    • Take mindful breaks. Breaks are definitely time-savers. Mindful breaks help replenish both mental and physical energy. Mindful breaks mean taking time to walk away from the task to feel your body, pay attention to your emotions and get in touch with all kinds of urges that drive you. Even a few moments of doing so will help you complete tasks without feeling overwhelmed. To learn more about mindful breaks visit:

    How much time can you save by adjusting these three areas?

    C. Know your obstacles: Obstacles are both internal and external phenomena that get in the way of reaching our goals and desired outcomes. Some of these obstacles are manageable and some are not. Create two lists that identify and distinguish the manageable from the unmanageable. Be realistic. Let go of what you cannot manage and tend to what you can.

    Contact us for a Three 3 Hour workshop and learn How to Resolve Your Time Management Difficulties Through Mindfulness:
    For other mindfulness at work workshops visit:

    9 Tips To Improve Management

    1. When evaluating your strategic plan, be sure to understand if you took your orders from your organization's mission statement or from the chaos of the environment.  This is one of the most crucial elements missed by organizations who dont' feel as successful as they want to be and it applies to any size organization, even  to a one man or one woman show.  Our mission is to Optimize Success and Wellbeing.  Everything we do must support this mission.
    2. Take time to discover your employees' and your own natural Talents and Strengths.  This way you can engage in and be involved in what you all do effortlessly.  When you love what you do and do it effortlessly, you won't want to stop, you won't get tired and you won't complain about not enough pay or benefits.   Studies show that focusing on natural strengths results in happiness and fulfillment, which increase quality of work and level of productivity.
    3. Be sure to include training needs in your evaluation.  Often companies provide performance reviews and focus on positive or negative behavior and outcomes, but  they often forget to offer any training or ways to improve the skill or behavior.  First you must use a systematic way to evaluate them properly in order to have a clear and accurate picture of areas of need for improvement. Our consultants work closely with Strength Finder tests and provide mindfulness training to optimize your employees' utilization skills of their Strengths.                                                      
    4. This one will never get old.  Practice mindfulness meditation daily to enhance your mental and emotional clarity, feel calm in the midst of chaos and improve all your results.
    5. Develop a Mindful Time Management Process.  That means figuring out what elements cause you to waste time and other valuable resources.  These could be too many distractions, lack of attention, lack of direction, or lack of healthy boundaries etc.
    6. Before you spend valuable time, money and other resources to invest in social media, take the time to understand Social Media, its relevance and how effective it can be for your type of business.            
    7. Understand new laws that impact employee privacy protection in regards to Social Media.  i.e. Moreno v. Hanford Sentinel, Inc., 172 Ca. App. 4th 1125 (Cal Ct. App. 2009) (no cause of action for Invasion of Privacy where information was posted on a Myspace page).
    8. Create Social Media Policy that clarifies boundaries for the type of Social Media activities that impact your business negatively.  This can include controlling the use of company sponsored sites.
    9. Unite your Vision with all your stakeholders.  Everything in this world is connected. Find those connections and create a link to other people's or organizations' vision.  Your chance of success will increase dramatically if you can create alliances to share resources with one another.
    Our trainers at Mindful Business Institute are mindfulness practitioners and expert in shaping the mind and views of your employees so they can work stress-free and productive.

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    What Can a Person Do When They Hate Their Job?

    Every day I encounter someone, a student, a friend, a client or a family member who complains about either their job environment, job stress, or the people they work with and/or the type of work they do. Some come right out and say it, "I hate my job." Others may not be so frank but secretly harbor hatred and resentment. And there are those who tell themselves, "Be happy you have a job."Here is what to do if you or someone you know is one of these people:

    FIRST, Take an inventory of your thoughts, feelings and your experiences by practicing your daily mindfulness training.  How? Take a few days and just observe everything about your job and account for any small pleasant and neutral moments. Notice if there are moments when you are actually having fun, laughing or enjoying a deep conversation with a coworker. Notice those moments when you smile at a favorite picture on your desk. Notice the moments when you are doing so well and are focused and feeling good about your work. It may be while you are helping a customer, or simply typing a report, or doing some research on-line. Notice those moments when you take a break, or walk away to get some fresh air (a must do regularly) and also those moments that are just neutral, no hardship, no pain, no stress, no rapture, simply OK.

    SECOND, Add up all those pleasant and neutral moments and see if these types of moments actually make up most of your time at work or very little of your time at work. Be willing to see things as they are and not as you believe them to be with one blanket statement or as you'd like it to be.

    THIRD, Distinguish between the absolute idea, "I hate this job,"or "I hate the boss," or "I hate my coworker," or "I hate this office," or "I hate my shift." etc. and what is true in each of these moments. You may actually find that not every moment is a miserable moment and not every moment has to be pleasurable for you not to be hating or resenting it. Sometimes we hold onto anger, negative feelings and discomfort for a long time simply to prove we are unhappy. Believe me, it is better to be happy than to stubbornly prove you are not happy.

    FOURTH, When you bring awareness to what is actually happening each moment as opposed to what you believe to be happening, you can also see issues and areas of discomfort that are real and that you can actually do something about. Often our mind misjudges a situation and creates a much bigger version of it. Learn to make your problems smaller so you can solve them. Then re-asses them and see if you still really hate your job.

    If you find doing this inventory difficult attend our Mindfulness At Work Classes to train your mind to be more discerning and wise so you can expand your chances at success, happiness and contentment. Practicing mindfulness daily will enhance your mood, your choices, your strategies, your relationships and your overall happiness.
    For more tips on Mindfulness practice visit:
    Providing Mindfulness At Work training to your employees can reduce the  loss of important resources such as time, money, supplies, and prevent the failure of expensive projects.  Practicing mindfulness can enhance the quality of your employees' performance, communication, attendance,  attention / presence and overall well-being.   Contact us for mindfulness training To Optimize Success and Wellbeing at: Or  Visit: