Is Work First Play Second Always Best?

time management funNow that I have a kid, I’m constantly Googling for parent advice. (How people survived before Google, I do not know.) I stumbled across the article  “How I Limited Screen Time” about a parent who lets her kids watch as much TV as they want as long as they do their work first.

First Impression

My first thought was, “Yes! This! A thousand times this!” because that’s how I was raised. I’ve played the oboe since I was in 5th grade and I had to practice before I did anything else during the day. 8:00am trip to Disneyland? I guess you’re getting up early because you have to practice first.

Then I thought about it some more. I wonder if that only worked for me because I’m a morning person. I don’t love getting up early to get my work done, but I also DO my best work in the morning because I’m alert and focused. What about people who aren’t alert and focused until the evening? Would they get their work done faster and better if they did it later on when they are more focused?

 Are You a Night Owl?

I know I’m supposed to provide answers in this blog, but I suppose this one is more of a question. I will continue to abide by my “work first, play second” mentality because it has worked so well for me, but if my daughter grows up to be a night owl, I’m not quite sure what I’ll do!

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A Golden Rule of Time Management

Time Management golden ruleThe ability to say no is a skill we all need, but knowing when to say no can be even more important. This week I was reminded of one of the golden rules of time management that keeps our schedules trim and our minds focused. Here is what happened..

Saying NO

At a board meeting last week, one of my friends informed everyone of a really cool business opportunity that came her way. We were all impressed and congratulated her, until she mentioned that she wasn’t going to take it because it didn’t fit in with the mission and focus of her business. If I was impressed before, I was amazed now.

Saying no is hard. We’re trained to say yes to everything because we never know where things will lead, and at the very least, it’s a good thing to add to the resume. But after casting a wide net of opportunity, we need to focus in on the things that are most important to us, and that means saying no to the things that aren’t.

Time is a valuable resource and every moment we spend on something beyond our focus is one moment we can’t spend on the essential activities that will propel us forward.

Think of It Like Shopping

If saying no is still difficult, think of it in terms of money and shopping. If you were out shopping and saw a pair of pants you loved, but they didn’t fit, would you still buy them? Probably not, because you’d rather use the money to buy something that does fit and that you’ll actually wear. Think of your time in the same way. You have limited time and need to save it for the things that best fit  your focus and priorities.

Remember this golden rule of time management: if everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority.

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When Getting Sick Isn’t In Your Schedule

Time Management when sickThis week I decided it would be a good time to get sick. I carefully planned for it in my schedule so that no plans would be disrupted and everything would still be accomplished….

Right. Because that happens. Sick never comes at a time that would be “convenient,” it happens right in the middle of a hectic day when you just don’t need one more thing to go wrong. Here are three tips to deal with your to-do list when your health just isn’t happening.

1. Pick What You Won’t Do

When we get sick we have to accept that try as we might, we simply won’t be able to do everything we hoped for. We then have a choice. We can pick which tasks we will let go so we can focus on having energy to do the important ones, or we can allow the illness to decide for us.

I made the mistake of trying to do everything starting with the first appointment on my calendar, even though the events later in the day were more important. By 3:00, the illness decided I was done being productive. Oh how I wish I had rested in the morning so I would have had a tiny bit of energy for later.

2. Ask For Help

We never want to be “that person” that is a burden on our colleagues, but I assure you, unless you’re calling out every week, your co-workers would rather pick up a tiny bit of extra slack for you than have you come in and contaminate the whole work space.

Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help when you need it. Have you ever said “no” to a sick colleague? Exactly.

3. Acknowledge it Early

Sometimes we try to ignore sickness and “power through it” hoping if we don’t acknowledge the obvious, it will somehow go away. Recognize the early signs of sickness and start taking better care of yourself right away.

We like to think that we can wish away a cold or a stomach bug by simply never taking our nose away from the grindstone, but it’s far better to take a step back now than be stuck in bed later.

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