Brilliant Time Management Advice My Grandma Gave Me

time management grannyA few days ago, I had the pleasure of chatting with my Grandma (“Granny”) on the phone and she told me what my blog needed to be about this week. Remember, no matter how many degrees you hold or how much experience you have, your grandma is wiser than you, so you should generally listen to what she has to say. That’s why, this week, I present time management wisdom from Emily’s Granny…

Make Time For Family

According to Granny, we should never become too busy to make time for family. Whether it’s a note, a call, an email, or even a visit, family connects don’t happen by accident. We have to purposefully protect time in our days, weeks, and months to make them happen.

For me, this is tough because my family is spread out all over the country. Visits are expensive and logistically challenging. Instead, I used to reserve weekends to call family and friends. Now, weekends have become hectic too ever since our little peanut, Avery, was born. So I’ve revised my plan.

Now, instead of listening to the radio on my way home from work, I use the time to call family or friends. It’s 30 minutes every day that I know will be there and it’s a great way to clear my head from work and catch up with the people I love.

Save Your Communications

Granny’s other piece of advice: save the letters people write to you. We hardly write letters anymore, and when someone takes the time to do so, save it in a special place. You may not want them now, or even next month, but years from now you’ll be glad you saved these precious communications.

Your Challenge

This week, I challenge you to make time to reach out to your family, wherever they may be. And if you’re fortunate enough to still have your Grandma in your life, write her a letter. She’d love to hear from you.

Connect with The Time Diet for more time management tips

Check out this title by Emily Schwartz: “How To Speak So People Will Buy” Public speaking book

Photo Credit: Freedigitalphotos.net

Three Time Management Hacks

time management hackI’m always fascinated with the creative ways people find to keep themselves focused and reach their time management goals. This week, I spoke with my sister, Gretchen, who shared with me three time management resolutions she had for the new year and the time management goals they were meant to achieve. (When you write a time management blog, these are the kinds of things you discuss with your family.)

Check out her interesting ways of changing her behavior. Could any of them help you too?

1. Put a book near the TV remote

Gretchen wants to find more time to read, but she knows that flipping on the TV to watch Netflix is much more tempting and convenient. Worse yet, as soon as the TV is turned on, it’s difficult to turn off! By putting her book near the TV remote, she’s more likely to use that time to read instead of binge watch House of Cards.

 2. Put the candy bowl away

We all have our Time Killers, those little things that steal our focus while we’re working. Gretchen analyzed her day and realized her Time Killer was snacking. She tells herself she’s hungry, but she’s really just looking for a distraction. To help achieve her goal of staying focused, she’s putting her candy dish away.

 3. Wear a watch

Smartphones are distracting. We know this. But Gretchen noticed that when she looked at her phone to see the time, she was consumed with email and Facebook alerts. Checking the time could turn into a 15 minute distraction. Instead, she’s going to wear a watch and avoid pulling out the phone all together.

This week, I challenge you to ask your friends and family for the creative ways they meet their time management goals. You might find a strategy that works for you too!

Give the gift of time management! The Time Diet: Time Management for College Survival on Amazon.com for $11.99

Time Management Book for Students

Time Management Book for Students

Time Management for the Holiday Season

time management for the holidaysThe year is almost over, and all of the stress, hurry, and bustle of December is upon us. A busy time like this calls for a return to The Time Diet basics. Feel like you have a million things to do before the end of the year? Pull out your list and consider these three things when you’re planning your day tomorrow.

 1. Difficulty

Remember, when everything is a priority, NOTHING is a priority. That’s why you have to categorize your tasks before you can figure out which should be your focus. While everything might be important, not everything is difficult.

Everything you do is either a Meat (difficult), Vegetable (easy) or Dessert (fun.) A “balanced diet” of each will keep you stress free!

2. Distractions

We know we do our best work when we are completely focused and free from distractions, but distractions are rampant this time of year! When you know you’ll have an hour of focused time, prioritize your difficult Meat tasks. Save your Vegetables for those times when distractions are likely to pop up.

3. Time of Day

Are you a morning person? Great! Complete your difficult Meat tasks in the morning when you are most alert. Not a morning person? Don’t fight it! Whenever you can, schedule your Meats for later in the day when you know you’re likely to be more efficient. Different people focus best at different times. Only you know what works best for you!

Remember, everything might be important, but not everything can be important at the same time. Use the basic Time Diet principles to plan your December days most efficiently!

Connect with The Time Diet for more time management tips

Three Ways to Stop Being Late

Time management lateHave trouble getting out the door on time? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. We’re all late sometimes – cars break down, emergencies come up – but it’s important to remember that when we keep others waiting, we are spending their time that could be used for other things. These three tips will help you with your punctuality!

I ran across this article this week, and while its tone is harsh, it was a good reminder that other people depend on us. Sometimes a start time is just a suggestion, but other times promptness is important. If you find yourself consistently late…

1. Calculate transition time

Add ten minutes to any commute. Sure, it may take 30 minutes to get from point A to point B, but you have to find your keys, get to the car, park when you get there…and all of those things take time. As a general rule, add 10 minutes to whatever Google Maps says.

2. Have a list

It takes forever to get out of the house or office when we’re running around trying to collect everything we need. Keep a list of the things you need to bring so you’re not trying to remember when you’re in a rush. Better yet, keep a “bring it with you” bin by the door so you have everything in one place.

3. Apologize

When you are late, apologize to the person. Say something like, “I’m sorry I kept you waiting. I hate to waste your time like that. I know it’s valuable.” Keep it short and sincere. Apologizing not only expresses your value of the other person’s time, but it sends a message to yourself that your tardiness was a mistake and shouldn’t be a habit.

Being late happens to the best of us, but recognizing your mistake and taking steps to correct it in the future will be the best steps for your time management.

Connect to The Time Diet for more time management tips

Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net

Time Management Revelation in Aisle 1

time management checkoutI’m not proud of this blog I’m about to write. In fact, I debated whether I should even share this experience with you because it makes me feel like kind of a jerk, but I have a feeling I’m not the only one who has encountered this situation. This week, I almost let my hectic schedule get in the way of my kindness to other people and I’m making a vow to never let it happen again. Here is what happened…

My Grocery Store Encounter

On my way home from work on Tuesday, I stopped by the grocery store. I had finished a long day of meetings, workshops, and phone calls, and had just picked my daughter up from preschool. I was in a hurry to get home and was irritated that I hadn’t made time to go to the store over the weekend.

Check-out Chatter

As I was searching around in my purse at the check out counter, I suddenly become aware of the fact that the cashier was trying to talk to me. “Mm…looks like you’re making spaghetti for dinner! That was my favorite meal growing up.” He then looked over at my daughter, “What do you think little one?”

Now, here’s where I’m not proud of myself. My immediate thought was: “Oh my goodness, I’m here for some pasta and butter, not a conversation. Every moment you spend making adorable small talk with my 3 month old is a moment you aren’t swiping my credit card so I can get the heck out of here.”

Mean, right? But haven’t we all felt like that sometimes?

Snapping Out Of It

I let my brain go down that train of thought for a moment until a snapped myself out of it. Oh my goodness Emily, who are you? Is your schedule really so tight that you can’t allow five seconds to smile at someone being a kind person? To engage in some small talk with a stranger?

We are not so busy that we can’t at least smile at the people we meet during the day. And if your schedule is such that you don’t have a moment for these interactions, then you have some adjusting to do.

I vow that I will be much better at taking a breath and not rushing through every transaction and conversation in my life. I’m not that busy, and I don’t want to be.

Connect with The Time Diet for more time management tips

Why Office Hours Aren’t Just For Professors

time management office hoursOffice Hours: you know, that thing you swore you’d attend in college but never really did. Professors have office hours to give students a chance to get a hold of them outside of class. How do YOU communicate to your colleagues when you’re available for questions? Why not try this…

One of my favorite things about running time management workshops is that I always learn something in the process. This week I spoke to NHS Phoenix and had a blast meeting some truly fabulous people. One man shared that he puts his availability in his email signature. For example: “I return phone calls between the hours of 2 and 4pm” or “I return emails three times a day, at 8, 12, and 3.”

I love this concept because it gives people a reasonable expectation when they can expect to hear from you, so they don’t get upset with their communication isn’t immediately returned.

If having regular hours like this doesn’t work for you, maybe giving a broad time frame would work better. For example, “I try my best to return all communications within 24 hours.” While that might seem obvious (of course we want to be prompt with our communications) it reminds people that they can’t really be upset if they haven’t heard back from you 20 minutes later.

So what are your “office hours?” Remember, people need to get a hold of you, and if you haven’t conveyed when communication is convenient to you, people will be left to guess or assume, and you know that they say about assumptions.

Connect with The Time Diet for more time management tips

3 Steps to a Lighter Calendar

Time Management Light CalendarDid you give your calendar a Spring Cleaning? It’s easy to get stuck in a time management rut when it comes to obligations that consume our day. Sometimes we end up doing things just because we’ve always done them, not because we get any enjoyment or useful result from our actions. This week, I challenge you to give your calendar a good purging. You only need three steps:

1. List Out Your Activities

Sometimes we don’t realize how much we do until we list it all out in one place. Compile a list of all the things on your calendar. Include things like work, family commitments, networking groups, organizations you belong to, classes you attend, etc… Next to each activity, list the realistic time commitment it requires. For example, if you attend an hour long yoga class once a week, your realistic time requirement might be 2 hours when you factor in travel and shower time.

2. Look for the Results

What do you get out of each activity? The answer might be anything from “a paycheck” to “enjoyment” or “fitness.” If the “What do I get out of this?” question is difficult to answer, consider whether that activity has overstayed its welcome on your calendar. Our priorities and needs shift over time. If an activity is no longer providing enough of a benefit for the time you put in, why does it still take up valuable space in your schedule?

3. Find the Least Important

We assume that we’re only supposed to cut unimportant events from our calendars, but sometimes we complete an activity inventory and everything still seems important. In this case, you have to find activities that are least important, or least important right now. Just because you want to do something doesn’t mean you have time to do it. Life requires choices and stretching yourself too thin diminishes your enjoyment of the other things on your schedule.

Make re-assessing your priorities a regular habit so activities don’t linger on your calendar longer than they remain useful and worth it!

Connect with The Time Diet for more time management tips

 

Photo Credit: Freedigitalphotos.net

How To Make Time To Network

Making time to Network“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” We’ve all heard that phrase before and understand why it’s important. Networking can get us a job, an internship, more business, new business, and expand our professional circle. But who has the time? Cultivating new relationships seems time consuming and when we’re already busy, it seems like one extra thing that can’t fit in our schedule. Try these three tips for more effective networking:

1. Network everywhere

A 3 day conference, a weekly networking lunch, or a monthly mixer are all great ways to meet new people, but if your schedule is tight, network wherever you are! Talk to the person sitting next to you on the airplane, chat with the person in front of you at Starbucks, or say hello to that lady you always end up next to in your 7am yoga class. Networking in an informal setting is a time-saving way to meet new people.

2. Follow up

When you take the time to meet new people, unless you also make room in your schedule to follow up with them, you’re not maximizing your effort. I recently attended a workshop with business coach Mary Cravets, who pointed out that unless you make time to follow up, you haven’t actually made time to network. Reach out to the people you meet with either a quick email, note, or phone call. This isn’t the time to say, “…and by the way, can you help get me a job?” This is the time to lay the foundation for a relationship that you’ll keep up over time.

3. Be patient

Networking doesn’t produce results overnight. If you don’t see results right away, don’t assume your networking isn’t working. Be patient. Building relationships doesn’t take a lot of time all at once, it takes a little bit of time consistently over a while.

Networking is an important skill that requires practice. What steps will you take this week to expand your network?

Connect with The Time Diet for more time management tips

Did you know that Emily is a public speaking coach in Phoenix? Get that standing ovation next time you speak.  Learn more

The Busy Addiction and What I Plan To Do About It

Time Management BusyYou know how sometimes you read something and feel the author is speaking directly to you? That’s how I felt this week when I read a blog post called “Busy Isn’t Respectable Anymore.”

In it, the author explains that we glorify the word “busy” as something to be proud of, and it needs to stop. This particular quote stuck with me: “Busyness was just another addiction I clung to so I could avoid things that made me uncomfortable.”

The Addiction

Being busy is an addiction? Oh my goodness, he’s right! And just like any other addiction, it doesn’t happen over night. We become addicted to “busy” as we slowly convince ourselves that it’s our only option. We’re stressed and become focused on constantly doing something instead of purposefully being productive. We get caught up in quantity at the sake of quality and let go of the idea that it’s ever OK to be caught doing…nothing.

The Challenge

Well, I for one am going to accept his challenge of not answering the question: “How are you?” with the answer: “Busy.” I am not going to let that word define me, and I hope you won’t either. We all have a lot of things going on in our lives, but why should we let the sheer volume of things be the focus? Instead, I’m going to focus on being productive. I’m going to focus on enjoyment. I’m going to focus on the slow instead of the fast.

It’s The Time Diet equivalent of remembering to savor the bites you take instead of mindlessly shoveling food into your mouth. So readers, I hope you will take time this week and in the coming year to move beyond the “busy” in your schedule and reconnect with what really matters in your life. It’s a challenge I plan to undertake with you!

Connect with The Time Diet for more time management tips