How I Kept My Time Management Resolution Even When I Wanted to Quit

time management resolutionIt shouldn’t shock you that my New Year’s resolutions are usually of a time management nature. Last year, my resolution was to write my fourth book: How to Speak so People Will Buy.

While this was challenge in itself, I had a few additional hurdles to overcome. The subject matter was different than previous books, I was also finishing my dissertation, and, oh yeah, we had a baby! I’m proud to say that on December 30th, two days before my “deadline” I received my first shipment of the books in the mail. Here is how I met my goal:

 1. Ask for help

I usually like to do a lot of the formatting, editing, and graphic design layout on my own before handing it over for final checking. Not this time. I asked a fabulous graphic designer to layout the cover, and asked my wonderful husband to be my extra set of eyes on the rough manuscript before doing the “official” edit. Did it mean giving up a little control? Yup. Did it save a tremendous amount of time? Absolutely.

 2. Break it up

Whereas previous books received whole weekends of work at a time, I didn’t have that luxury this year. Instead, most of the work was completed in 90-minute segments. I used to tell myself that I needed a whole day to write, that I needed to be “in the zone” all day to get anything done. It’s amazing what you’re capable of completing when you take away your excuses.

3. Always be prepared

My computer followed me everywhere this year. If I had an extra 30 minutes in my day, that was another bit of book work, no matter where I happened to be. On a plane, eating lunch, waiting at the doctor, etc…Instead of scrolling through Facebook to pass the time, I pulled out the book.

I’m not going to pretend that this process was easy, or that I similarly completed ALL of my time management goals, but this one I was particularly committed to. My time management books started when I noticed that had a lot to offer in terms of solutions to the productivity problems of others.

Why?

As I started my speaking and coaching business, I began to meet a lot of other business owners and sales professionals. I quickly realized that being brilliant in your field didn’t necessarily mean having the public speaking skills to present information most effectively. Again, I knew I could help people and was committed to bringing this book to life!

And now, I’m happy to say, it’s done!! So if you ever need to speak about your business to others, I hope you’ll check it out. Here’s what one reviewer had to say:

“I’ve been a business owner for more than 12 years and speaking with confidence is critical for success. Emily’s tips on how to be a more proficient, interesting, and engaging speaker will completely transform your approach to speaking in front of any group.”

Dorothy Wolden
President, National Association of Women Business Owners, Phoenix Chapter.
Gravity Web + Design

Get it on Amazon today!

Public speaking book

Photo credit: Freedigitalphotos.net

Why Santa Claus is an Excellent Time Manager

Time management santaIn a few days, millions of children will anxiously wake up and rush to the Christmas tree to see what Santa brought for them. It’s a good thing Santa is an excellent time manager so he can ensure everything is finished on time! Here are three time management lessons we can take from the jolly man in red:

1. He makes a list and checks it twice.

Notice that Santa’s naughty and nice list doesn’t consist of multicolored post-it notes carelessly strewn about the North Pole. He keeps everything organized in one place so he can easily find it.

2. He delegates

Santa could try to make all those toys himself, and thus ensure that they were all made his way and to his standards, but then he wouldn’t have time for those important administrative tasks, like list-checking, travel-planning, and cookie-eating. Santa delegates effectively to his team of elves to make sure everything gets finished efficiently in time for Christmas.

3. He thinks outside the box

Imagine how much longer present-delivery would take if Santa had to fuss with keeping keys to each house and letting himself in through the front door! By using a more creative approach, the chimney, he’s able to speed up his process and finish it all in one night.

Now, some would argue that if they had 364 days to prepare for one project, they’d be great time managers too. Point taken. But regardless of what your job is, I sincerely hope that you are taking time to slow down and enjoy your family and friends this Holiday Season, and are ready to work efficiently and productively in the new year so you can always find time to relax and enjoy the important things in life.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from The Time Diet!

Did Santa bring you time management help this season?  Check out The Time Diet: Digestible Time Management for $12.99 on Amazon.com.

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The Multi-Tasking Myth

Popular Time Management BookAs 2012 winds to a close, I am proud to release my third book in The Time Diet series: Digestible Time Management.

Make this the year you actually enjoy your weekends because you’ve finished all your work by Friday afternoon. Learn why Time Killers are making your work take longer, your to-do list isn’t helping you, and a simple re-ordering of tasks could save you hours of time. Pick up your copy on Amazon today for $12.99 and check out this excerpt below:

“The Multi-Tasking Myth” from The Time Diet: Digestible Time Management

“One of the things that makes Time Killers so dangerously invasive is our obsession with multi-tasking. We are trained to think that not only is it OK to do multiple things at once, but it’s desirable. We think it’s fine to be on the phone while answering emails, or creating a meeting agenda while cleaning our desks, because in today’s fast-paced world, if we’re only doing one thing, we’re simply not doing enough!

Multi-tasking is not as glamorous as it appears. There is no substitute for focus. When we try to complete multiple tasks at once, something is going to suffer, be it quality or time of completion. Remember what your mother told you: Chew one bite and swallow before taking another.  The same is true with tasks in your Time Diet.

It is an art to manage multiple projects at once, but you do so most effectively by focusing on one at a time. Switching haphazardly from task to task, never concentrating long enough to accomplish any of them, is one of the worst Time Killers of all.”

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Tackling the I Don’t Wannas

There is something tremendously freeing about finishing something you don’t want to do. It’s as though a weight has been lifted from our shoulders and we suddenly feel so much more in control of our time management. The problem, however, is mustering up the motivation to actually finish these tasks, especially when no one else is checking up on you.

I’ve been putting off starting my next Time Diet book (this one is for teachers!)  I had everything planned and outlined, but I had been coming up with every excuse in the world to avoid sitting down with my computer and actually starting the first chapter.

A few days ago, I finally sat down and said, “OK, I’m not getting up from this desk until I have three pages finished.” It was tough, but I did it, and when I was done I wanted to shout it from the rooftops! I was so proud of those three little pages.

My Summer Plan

This has now become my summer mission. I was a little intimidated about summer’s rapid approach. I have no “boss” in the summer. If I don’t finish enough work every day to keep me on track with my goals…nothing happens. Nobody checks up on me and tells me to work harder. It takes a tremendous amount of self-discipline to stay motivated and I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be up to the task.

Now I have a goal: Six days a week, I will write at least 3 pages in my book this summer.

Here are three things to keep in mind as you’re planning to tackle your own “dreaded” task.

1) State Your Plan

I just publicly stated my plan of writing 3 pages per day this summer. I could have kept this goal to myself, but then I’d only be accountable to me. Now, I’m also accountable to all of you. Get a friend or family member on board with your plan too.

2) Set Aside Time

Saying you’ll do something is only half the battle. Saying specifically when you’re going to do it turns a goal into a plan. As you’re crafting your schedule for the day, don’t just add your task to the end of your lengthy to-do list. Set a specific time that you’re going to work. Think of it as an appointment with yourself.

3) Recognize Excuses

When you don’t want to do something, it’s very easy to start making excuses. Learn to recognize when you’re doing this and stop. Making excuses is easy. Finding a way is rewarding.

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Check out The Time Diet’s latest video. “The Best Graduation Gift Part 2”

Blog Photo Credit: David Castillo Dominici