“I don’t have time.”
“I would totally do that if I had the time.”
“I know it needs to get done. It’s just finding the time to do it.”
“There just isn’t enough time in the day.”
“I just need to make the time to get it done.”
Have you ever said any (or all) of those phrases or heard them from someone you know? I’m willing to bet that 100% of the people that read this will say “YES”.
As I was thinking about my blog topic for this week, I focused on what I could share that would help people who took THE TIME (sensing a theme here?) to read this and it reminded me of something that I list in the Summary section of my LinkedIn profile: “Organized – My desk, my work, my email inbox, my car, my closet, my home….you name it, it’s organized. And I LOVE helping other people get organized.”
So why am I organized? I firmly believe that the more organized you are, the less STRESS you have in your life, the more TIME you have to do the things that you want, and the HAPPIER you will be.
That’s it. That’s exactly why I do it. I don’t know too many people that don’t want the same thing, but they just don’t know how to get there. Follow this formula:
ORGANIZED + TIME – STRESS = HAPPY
Take a look at this list and I challenge you to implement AT LEAST ONE of them in the next 2 weeks. It won’t be easy; you are changing years of bad habits. If you need help, ask someone around you or schedule some time with me to help you get control of your life again.
1. Plan Ahead – My wife Missy and I used to have that same, old, tired conversation that so many people have night after night…”What do you want to do for dinner?”. It got old for both of us. So we decided to change it. We put our heads together and now, before heading to the City Market and grocery store each weekend, we review our calendars (see point #2) for the week, see when each of us will be home for dinner, and plan the menu for the entire week. Problem solved. Stress reduced. Time saved. Happier.
2. Put It On The Calendar – Jason and I swear by this. If it’s on the calendar, it gets done. Period. Everything we do goes on the calendar. Business appointments. Dentist appointments. Doctor appointments. Vacations. Reminders and follow ups. Anniversaries. Birthdays. Everything. In addition, we both work really hard to look at the entire week and schedule our time so that we aren’t driving ourselves crazy. It isn’t always easy and it takes a real commitment to do it right. But it’s worth it. Why? Stress reduced. Time saved. Happier.
3. Email: Read it, File It, Or Delete It – This is something that so many people struggle with. Their email inboxes are flooded. There are a variety of reasons for this. People subscribe to things they really don’t need and get a daily email that they have to deal with. People want to be “looped in” on everything instead of trusting the people they hired or work with to do their jobs and make sure they pass on the important stuff. The list goes on and on.
My approach is to read it, file it, or delete it. If I have something that I have to deal with, I will leave it in the inbox until it’s done, but I work diligently to get it resolved so I can get it out of my inbox. If the list of to do’s gets too long, then I move it to point #4 below. But what I can tell you from years of experience of having a clean inbox is that the rewards are TOTALLY worth it. Stress reduced. Time saved. Happier.
4. To Do List – If you have too many things on your plate that require your attention, which definitely happens at times in almost every person’s career, then create a TO DO LIST. There are apps for that. You can put it on your calendar. You can create a TO DO LIST spreadsheet. I’ve done virtually all of those during my career.
Bottom line: Find one that works for you and that is easy for you to reference and update because you will be doing both several times a day until that list is wiped out. The main goal of a TO DO LIST is to get everything out of your head, off of your voice mail, out of your inbox, etc. and organized all in one place so you can prioritize it and start executing what needs to get done. The result? Yep, you guessed it. Stress reduced. Time saved. Happier.
5. ReThink “Let’s Get Together” – This is one I’ve really been focused on lately. The business world cliche’ for decades has been “Let’s get together.” I honestly believe people say it more times than not simply out of habit. Kinda like people that send LinkedIn invitations without personalizing them. So how can you rethink this and save yourself (and the person in question) some time? Let me give you a real world example: Last week I had 4 different people contact me to “get together” for various things..wanting to learn more about what we do, wanting some LinkedIn profile training, wanting help with Twitter, etc.
In each of those scenarios I suggested that we get on the phone first (that’s a reasonable request, isn’t it?) to make sure we were on the same page in terms of what they were needing and what I could provide. Some of those appointments moved to a phone call first and others moved to virtual training. The point is this: If you have to “get together” every time someone wants to talk to you, you often have to travel to do it…and too much unnecessary traveling can waste a significant amount of time.
Certainly there are advantages to meeting in person and I’m not suggesting that you stop that completely. I’m suggesting you start looking at EVERY interaction more strategically and making a mutually agreed upon decision on how to proceed. The result? Yep, there it is again. Stress reduced. Time saved. Happier.
So keep this in mind and start applying it to your own work and personal life today:
ORGANIZED + TIME – STRESS = HAPPY
What other ideas can you share to save time? What have you done in your personal or professional life that gave you the time back that you needed and helped you reduce stress? I’d love to know!