TIME MANAGEMENT & ORGANIZATION

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction ............................................................................................................................................. 7 Time Management and Your Life .............................................................................................................. 7 WHAT’S the Most Important? ................................................................................................................. 10 How Much is Your Time Worth?.......................................................................................................... 12 What does an hour of your time cost?.............................................................................................. 12 What Does an Hour Cost Your Employer?........................................................................................ 12 Raise Your Value... ......................................................................................................................... 12 What Does an Hour Cost YOU? ...................................................................................................... 12 The Value of Your Time - Beyond Money.......................................................................................... 13 Working For Yourself – Drawing the Line ......................................................................................... 13 Keeping Track: Where Does the Time Go? ....................................................................................... 13 You Have More Time Than You Think... ........................................................................................... 14 Creating a Log................................................................................................................................ 14 Identifying Patterns.......................................................................................................................... 14 Give Yourself Rewards .................................................................................................................... 14 Should You Stop Wasting Time? ...................................................................................................... 14 Time Robbers......................................................................................................................................... 14 Time Management in the Workplace....................................................................................................... 16 Saving Time with Others ..................................................................................................................... 18 A Management Game .................................................................................................................... 19 The Manager Is Responsible ............................................................................................................ 19 Take Time to Communicate Clearly .................................................................................................. 20 The Law of Comparative Advantage ................................................................................................ 21 Applying Comparative Advantage to Your Work ............................................................................. 21 The Key Personal Productivity Principle............................................................................................. 21 You Can Only Be Paid What You Contribute.................................................................................... 22 Delegation Is the Key to Leverage .................................................................................................... 22 Six Steps to Effective Delegation ...................................................................................................... 23 Seven Ways to Get More Done Each Day ........................................................................................ 24 Pay Attention .................................................................................................................................. 25 Assuring Success at Work ............................................................................................................... 25 Focus on Your Boss’s Top Priorities .................................................................................................. 25 www.GeeWhizCE.com Page 2 of 86

Three Types of Decisions ................................................................................................................. 25 Clarify the Type of Decision............................................................................................................. 26 Your Job Description....................................................................................................................... 26 Focus on the Solution ...................................................................................................................... 26 Six Steps to Effective Problem Solving............................................................................................... 27 What Else is the Problem? ............................................................................................................... 27 Focus on Contribution ..................................................................................................................... 29 Practice Participative Management .................................................................................................. 30 Avoid Reverse Delegation................................................................................................................ 30 The Monkey is Now on Your Back ................................................................................................... 30 Resist Your Natural Tendencies........................................................................................................ 30 Teach and Train Others................................................................................................................... 31 Focus on Clarity.............................................................................................................................. 31 Managing Multi-Task Jobs .................................................................................................................. 31 A Learnable Skill............................................................................................................................. 31 A Typical Multi-Task Job ................................................................................................................. 33 Continually Develop Options ........................................................................................................... 34 Four Problems to Avoid ................................................................................................................... 35 Plan Your Projects Visually .............................................................................................................. 35 Regular Review and Evaluation........................................................................................................ 36 Successful Project Management ....................................................................................................... 36 Not an Easy Skill to Learn ............................................................................................................... 37 The Art of Delegation ............................................................................................................................. 37 Goals and Time Management................................................................................................................. 38 Planning and Time Management............................................................................................................. 41 Organizing and Time Management ........................................................................................................ 44 The Benefits of Ergonomics ..................................................................................................................... 46 Get Organized - Tips and Tools for Managing Time, Space and Paper..................................................... 48 Basic organizing rules and secrets....................................................................................................... 48 Discover organizing rules................................................................................................................ 48 Two simple rules of organizing ........................................................................................................ 48 Next up.......................................................................................................................................... 49 Tame that clutter ............................................................................................................................. 49 Where do I start?............................................................................................................................ 50 www.GeeWhizCE.com Page 3 of 86

Next up.......................................................................................................................................... 50 Set up systems ................................................................................................................................ 50 Next up.......................................................................................................................................... 51 Where are you?.............................................................................................................................. 51 Moving forward.............................................................................................................................. 52 Organize a space........................................................................................................................... 52 Paper is power: smart sorting and filing strategies ................................................................................... 52 Step one: sort it .................................................................................................................................. 52 Supply must-haves .......................................................................................................................... 53 Folder names that work................................................................................................................... 53 Sort those papers............................................................................................................................ 54 Next up.......................................................................................................................................... 54 Step two: file it ................................................................................................................................... 54 Filing how-to .................................................................................................................................. 55 Next up.......................................................................................................................................... 56 Dealing with bits and pieces............................................................................................................ 56 Next up.......................................................................................................................................... 57 Retention schedules ......................................................................................................................... 57 The tax man cometh........................................................................................................................ 57 Next up.......................................................................................................................................... 57 Consider banking and bill paying online.......................................................................................... 57 Moving forward.............................................................................................................................. 58 Assignment: Paper is power: smart sorting and filing strategies ......................................................... 58 Managing your time: derailing distractions, procrastination, and lateness................................................. 59 Why manage your time? .................................................................................................................... 59 The benefits of good time management ............................................................................................ 59 Next up.......................................................................................................................................... 59 Where does it all go?...................................................................................................................... 59 Procrastinating................................................................................................................................ 59 Move On To the Fast Track.............................................................................................................. 60 When You Get Around To It ............................................................................................................ 60 Develop a Reputation for Speed and Dependability .......................................................................... 60 Alleviate Time Poverty ..................................................................................................................... 61 Time Is of the Essence...................................................................................................................... 61 www.GeeWhizCE.com Page 4 of 86

Developing a Sense of Urgency ....................................................................................................... 61 Develop Positive Habits ................................................................................................................... 63 Overcoming Call Reluctance with Rewards....................................................................................... 63 Five Ways to Get Yourself Started.................................................................................................... 64 Sixteen Ways to Overcome Procrastination ...................................................................................... 65 Staying Motivated .............................................................................................................................. 68 12 Tips to stay motivated and keep procrastination away ................................................................. 69 Planning for Success........................................................................................................................... 70 The 8 advantages of planning ......................................................................................................... 70 The six steps in planning ................................................................................................................. 71 Planning the work in your office....................................................................................................... 71 Are You A Workaholic?...................................................................................................................... 72 The Burnout Syndrome........................................................................................................................ 73 Tardiness-Don't Waste My Time.......................................................................................................... 74 Some tips on making meetings less time wasters. .............................................................................. 76 So here are 9 tips on time saving for meetings: ................................................................................ 76 Your Greatest Challenge in Time Management .................................................................................... 76 Perfectionism .................................................................................................................................. 77 Overload........................................................................................................................................ 77 Wasted time................................................................................................................................... 77 Next up.......................................................................................................................................... 77 Time management basics ................................................................................................................ 77 Know your dreams.......................................................................................................................... 77 Set some goals ............................................................................................................................... 77 Make a roadmap............................................................................................................................ 78 Set priorities ................................................................................................................................... 78 Be realistic...................................................................................................................................... 78 Do one thing at a time .................................................................................................................... 78 Reward yourself.............................................................................................................................. 78 Making lists .................................................................................................................................... 78 Long-term list .................................................................................................................................. 79 Daily list ......................................................................................................................................... 79 Overcoming lateness and procrastination......................................................................................... 79 Getting there on time ...................................................................................................................... 79 www.GeeWhizCE.com Page 5 of 86

Counteracting lateness .................................................................................................................... 79 Procrastination................................................................................................................................ 80 Your tools....................................................................................................................................... 81 Choose the best organizing tool....................................................................................................... 81 To-do list ........................................................................................................................................ 81 Calendar........................................................................................................................................ 81 Address book ................................................................................................................................. 81 Personal organizer.......................................................................................................................... 81 Computerized organizer: PDA......................................................................................................... 81 The bottom line: whatever works ...................................................................................................... 82 Moving forward.............................................................................................................................. 82 Assignment - Set up your paper system ............................................................................................ 82 Maintenance: systems and routines to stay organized .............................................................................. 82 Establish routines................................................................................................................................ 82 Keep it clutter-free........................................................................................................................... 84 Designate a home for every item...................................................................................................... 84 Follow a daily uncluttering routine ................................................................................................... 85 Plan for organization.......................................................................................................................... 85 Conclusion ............................................................................................................................................ 86

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INTRODUCTION
Tempus Fugit, or Time Flies as expressed in Latin, is a saying that is still very relevant. As a matter of fact, it is very evident in our modern lives. We would sometimes feel the urgency of things, the rapid changes of our environment, and the somewhat fast mobility of people and work.
Just imagine yourself every morning, still sleepy and dreamy from the less than five hours of sleep. You are about to start your day with seemingly insurmountable tasks: there are bills waiting to be paid, reports to be submitted before 12 noon, calls to be made, a long grocery list for the weekends, a barbecue party, endless post-6 p.m. meetings, tasks, tasks, tasks…and even more tasks. You are an overworked and stressed out machine and you feel the weight on your shoulder. Your biggest enemy is not your boss, nor is it your children’s math teacher; but TIME and the lack of it to finish all your duties and activities. Likewise, the rapid flow of time is very much felt in highly urbanized and industrialized societies. Gadgets and modern tools, like cellular phones, microwave ovens, computers, and portable electronic organizers (PDAs) have made our lives easier and have given us the necessary advantage to lessen our time to work on certain tasks. The connectivity of people through mobile technology, as well as the vast and efficient transportation system in industrialized and currently developing countries, leads to faster communication and social linkages. Changes like these have emphasized the importance of time management and a creation of a more organized and practical lifestyle. Time has therefore been measured and controlled through these developments, so we have to adjust according to the demands of our times. To picture this out, just think of your life as a giant hourglass with golden grains of sand, the top-half running empty and inside the bottom-half, we are being drowned by so many works and labors. We can say, that in our daily struggle towards our goals, time and the lack of it becomes our enemy. But this should not be the case since time is also a human invention, a form of measurement in knowing our past or history. The narrative of time, or how we have organized our memories and our past experiences using the standards of time, is very important in knowing the development of human civilization as well as societies and cultures. More than this, we can also influence the changes in time and space relationship. We can manage these changes and prepare ourselves for the tasks within the time being that we can foresee. Time Management is an important skill and knowledge especially in organizing complicated social structures. In practical terms, we must recognize the importance of every moment and how each daily perception of second, minute, hour, etc, affects our survival and interaction with others in our rapidly changing environment. We could learn new things by knowing the importance of little changes that could affect larger phenomena. One should know that a particular second in a chemical change is very relevant to whatever result of a scientific experiment. On a more practical note, a decision made within a matter of seconds or days can change a destiny of a person, more so, even a nation. The Millennium Celebration during the onset of the year 2000 was a major event and had inspired millions of people on what to expect and what to reflect as we marked two thousand years of human triumphs, defeats, and struggles. That celebration marked some of the most important achievements and even worries, as time is about to enter its historical leap. The millennium bug made some of us anxious. It scared people with cataclysmic scenarios of technology going frenzy as the two zeros of the year 2000 enters into our state of mind, resulting in outdated computer technology. We are now moving towards the future, when and where time is one factor that can influence our success or downfall. In this regard, we can contemplate on some concepts and ideas about time.

TIME MANAGEMENT AND YOUR LIFE
We have not only invented time and its various measurements (seconds/milliseconds, days, centuries, millenniums); but we’re also able to give meaning in the usage of time when an experience was felt or when a task was done. www.GeeWhizCE.com Page 7 of 86

The highly organized structure of human society gives us the ability to limit our physical and mental space. Our environment is composed of objects and things that we have invented, and associated with these are the labels and concepts that define their existence. For example, medicines have expiration dates, which give us the time period to use them within their period of potency. We have birthdays, wedding dates, anniversaries, and other special dates to recognize as important events, as they signal significant changes or developments in our lives. We have also created the working periods in which human efficiency and environmental conditions are considered to maintain balance. Just imagine the importance of rest and sleep and the rhythm/cycle that is followed in the creation of our work, play, and learning schedules. Thus, we are able to measure and define things according to their proper space in what we measure as time. However, things are not always perfect, or should we say that time may not be perfect, all the time. There are stumbling blocks along the path towards success. One of these is the lack of time to reach your aims. The improper use of time, the wrong utilization of resources, or the undertaking of unnecessary tasks within a given period might cause these delays or time wastage. Most people also commit mistakes because they’re not able to accurately perceive the proper time to do a given work, or because of unforeseen circumstances and delays. In these cases, we must consider the best ways to utilize our time. We must expect the limits of time in defining our tasks and goals. Time Management is one human organizational aspect that we should give utmost consideration to. This form of management (either as part of self-improvement or within the level of professional work) is the process of perceiving the measured changes/developments and closely monitoring how we utilize our skills and labor capacity within a limited period. By analyzing our “work styles,” along with the development of other processes (machine works, transportation, communication), we can lay down basic foundation in which we can assess our development as individuals. Part of this development is our ability to make plans and revise/improve our working conditions. The fluidity of time - its restriction or leeway – should be considered in making plans, in organizing, and in bringing out the efficiency of each individual to create a smooth work flow. However, Time Management is also a part of an individual learning experience in getting along with other people and with changes in the environment. Practically speaking, time is constant: 60 seconds per minute, 60 minutes per hour, 24 hours per day, 7 days a week (24/7). However, the usage of time differs among each individual. Some might give time the capacity to control their lives, and others may find themselves a slave of time. Some might have no time at all to relax and create a stress-free lifestyle. But the bottom-line is not to make time an enemy. One must have time to think of things in order, to plan ways to minimize waste of time, energy, and valuable resources. Effective time management involves patience and practical thinking. Time and the natural changes in the environment may be modified but in the end, we should follow the natural order of things. Remember that “Haste makes waste.” Yet you must also think about the saying “There's no day but today.” On the other hand, we can use tools and ideas that could improve our efficiency in using time. There are things, like energy (fuel), that are not renewable; and there are moments that are irreplaceable. Actually, we can say that a thing done or a past experience cannot be recreated. However, we can expect these changes and prepare ourselves for better or worse scenarios. We cannot control time but we can make adjustments based on a given moment. Learning or studying something to achieve mastery is one good example where we can minimize errors or develop ourselves amidst the ever-changing times. During this period of learning, we must maximize the given resources (including time) to fully develop a skill or to acquire knowledge so that by the time we need such skill, we won't be wasting hours just by learning the necessary human adaptation to solve a problem.

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One who is able to prepare for a number of possibilities upon entering a situation may have more time to think of the moves and decision to take to minimize the possibilities of errors. Here are the necessary pre-requisites to help you manage your time effectively: 1. Think of goals and aims as necessary achievements. In achieving your desired goals, you should start with a positive outlook. You must be excited with the challenges and tasks that you have to do to give you the right start or motivation. However, you should also see the path towards your goals in concrete terms. These achievements or aims can be reached by becoming realistic and by knowing your directions. Think of the scenarios of success but you should also recognize the fact that these roads have to be traversed in a given time. This way, you are not only looking at the possibility of success, but you are also giving yourself the right motivation and the proper time to prepare for a fresh start and achieve your goals at the soonest possible time. 2. Think of the time frame in achieving goals and aims. You are to do a task at a particular time. As you begin planning your strategies, you must also look forward and recognize your time frames in doing such tasks. Time frames are the periods you are giving yourself to finish a task. These are just estimates or approximations since you are not the sole factor that will contribute in finishing the given task. Be wary of the processes in your environment; for example, if you are to write a book or an article, consider the time you are giving yourself for this activity. However, since you are also doing other things, you cannot devote your entire time in doing the said endeavor. Finally, think of the flow of things or the movement of time in your daily life as you move forward in achieving your desired goals. Think of your other activities that might affect the time factor in finishing given tasks. You might be spending too much time on a very idle activity (like too many late night parties or soirées or a whole day in front of your computer playing online games) that will give you less time to go on with your plan towards selffulfillment and success. 3. Be realistic and expect changes. Time Management involves flexibility and open-mindedness. Do not expect that you can finish a task in what you’ve considered as your time frame unless everything is laid down perfectly. You should allot some allowance in your time frame, probably for the sake of the unforeseen or unexpected circumstances. Remember that contradicting factors bring development so don’t be upset with these changes since everything is undergoing a sort of a synthesis. For example, you already made your business plan and a lot of careful considerations have been completed, including the period in which you expect your business to give you financial and personal satisfaction. However, during the course of execution or theory application, there are other factors or changes, which you have not included in your feasibility study. In this case, time should not be wasted in complaining about things or about people surrounding your path. Instead of becoming immobile or paralyzed with the situation, cope up and be flexible by accepting such changes. Level the playing field with innovative strategies based on the situation and knowledge you will acquire from your experience in doing the task. Maximize your time by examining your errors and by moving on with solutions that will sustain whatever efforts you have given to traverse difficult situations and challenges. 4. Know your work style. You are a time clock too. You work with your habits, your cycles, and bodily rhythms. You sleep, eat, exercise, read a book, or cook with either efficiency or a sloppy lifestyle. Of course you wouldn’t want to be caught like a snail and be crushed with pressures because of limited time, so it would be better if you will give yourself some time to think about yourself. Know how fast you can work on things. And if it’s not as good as others, try to make some improvements. This may be difficult since habits and lifestyles have become personal markers themselves that give you the idea of your daily routines or tasks. Taking three meals a day will remind you of other things you must do after eating like brushing your teeth or going to the toilet or having a 15minute nap. Your sleeping habits and work efficiency are based on what you’ve grown-up with as an individual – you may either stay late at night or sleep early, as what you’ve been taught or what your household has been doing since you’re a child. Finally, examine yourself and know how fast you can work on things, like typing or encoding words in a computer, filing office data, writing a term paper, or even reading a book. You don’t need to know the exact time but at least, you will have an approximate measurement of how long you can finish such task. www.GeeWhizCE.com Page 9 of 86

5. Know your environment or workplace. Your house has a time of its own, your office has schedules, and your neighborhood has activities to offer. You are surrounded by these time schedules. It would be better if you would be conscious of the time flow in your surroundings. The daily tasks in your house are definitely main factors in determining your personal time. More so, your working hours are defined by the nature of your work and your workplace. The activities by the people around you may affect your strategies and daily endeavors. Finally, you are not alone in your workplace and other people are also wary of their time and schedules. All of these would affect your time frames and you must be in-synched with all of these to manage your limited time hassle-free. 6. Make Plans. Planning, like in any other preparations, is a way of saving time for errors. Mistakes usually happen because of unexpected and unforeseen factors such as wrong estimates of resources or the entry of new variables in solving a problem. However, with the proper plan and preparation, these unforeseen circumstances can be expected as well as minimized. In such way, you may still finish the task in a given time. By considering the above-mentioned factors, you are not only giving yourself a period to reflect on how time flows in your life. You are also recognizing the factor that affects time and its fluidity. You will not be drowned because of the seemingly uncontrollable flow but you can now swim with the waves that time brings about.

WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT?
Let’s face it. 24 hours in a day is not enough time for many people to do everything in their schedule. It is therefore imperative that people perform their activities in the order of priority. The art of prioritizing covers 4 major task groups: 1. Important and Urgent 2. Not Important but Urgent 3. Not Urgent but Important 4. Not Important and Not Urgent

Important and Urgent
These tasks are the ones that must be done right away, or consequences may result. An example would be bills that are due today. If you don’t pay your bills on time, you would incur additional charges or they might cut off their services to you. Activities belonging to this category need to be acted upon without delay. You should give them the highest priority. The good news is that some of the tasks included in this category are simple enough and can be delegated to someone else, like buying grocery items for the party tonight. Outsourcing can be a very intelligent decision when it comes to taking care of manual jobs. If you can spare some money in exchange for your time (when you can do much more productive stuffs), then go for it. The rich treat their time more importantly than their money.

Not Important but Urgent
The significance of an activity falling in this category depends on the individual. For example, a 3-day super sale might not be important for some because the items on sale are things that they don’t necessarily need at present. (They might take advantage of the sale even when they think it’s not important because they just felt the urgency that this is a rare occasion and this might never happen again.) Whereas someone who always wants to buy a Harry Potter book but cannot previously afford one may treat a book sale as both important and urgent. One thing you can do to determine its significance is to analyze the negative effects that may occur as a result of not doing it. If you consider the consequences too immaterial upon nonperformance of the task, then just don’t do it at all.

Not Urgent but Important
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You might often put off tasks in this category, but these are the ones that require your attention more. These involve planning, organizing, and implementing your objectives. The real danger in delaying these activities lies on the possibility that you may engage in more unimportant tasks that you see as more urgent. This would therefore eat up a lot more of your time. For example, instead of planning on how to increase your sales or minimize your expenses, you tend to put most of your time in entertaining customers (which, by the way, can be done by other people). Or worse, you may procrastinate until you realize that you’ve not been doing any activity under this category for a long time now. Give these tasks high priority. You may not immediately realize the advantages of accomplishing them, but the benefits in the long run is worth the efforts you will be pouring into them.

Not Important and Not Urgent
You might think activities in this section are not worth people’s time, so they won’t engage in these activities much. Think again. You would be surprised to know that people spend most of their time doing things that are both unimportant and non-urgent, such as watching TV and movies, playing video games, senseless chatting for hours on the phone, shopping for new clothes, etc. Of course, it is essential for people to relax and unwind once in a while. ”All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” as they say. But you should be strict in limiting your time for these activities; that is, if you really want to accomplish a lot in your life. Treat activities belonging to this section with the lowest priority. If you really want to succeed, strictly limit your time in doing these activities or don’t do them at all. Focus on those that will bring you fruitful results.

Numbered Priority Tactic
Here’s one of the most powerful techniques that you can use to manage your time efficiently – the Numbered Priority Tactic. Buy a very small notebook that you can put in your pocket. You should be able to bring it anywhere you go. At the front page of the notebook, put the title: Important and Urgent. At the back page, put the title: Important but Not Urgent. If an idea or event you encounter is Urgent but Not Important, then forget it. You want to utilize your time well, won’t you? If you think it’s significant in some way, then you may put it under Important and Urgent. Ignore Not Important and Not Urgent tasks. Every time something comes up during your daily work or on your mind, put it in the appropriate page of your little notebook. So let’s say your boss told you to submit a report due tomorrow. Write it down on your notebook under Important and Urgent. Then your friend told you that there’s a big 2-day sale at the downtown furniture store. You may put it under Important and Urgent if you simply must have that furniture you’re drooling for months. But if you think your house would do fine without it, then don’t write it anymore. As you’re walking down the street you suddenly thought of a great new idea for your part-time business. You may put it under Important but Not Urgent. As the day goes on, write down each and every idea, thought, or event that comes to your mind. As the list increases in each category, examine each of them carefully and start numbering each item in the order of priority with 1 being the highest priority. Start working on Number 1, and never go to Number 2 until you’re done with Number 1 for each category. If distractions come about, you may take care of them first but always come back to your numbered list when you’re done. Because priorities may change, you may switch or change the numbers of the items in the list. You may also transfer one item from Important and Urgent to Important but Not Urgent, and vice-versa. When you do any www.GeeWhizCE.com Page 11 of 86

changes, make sure your notebook stays clean. Transfer your writings to a new page when you see that it’s getting untidy. Start off with a new page every day. This method can enable you to achieve more in one week than what most people can accomplish in a month. The important thing you must do is to buy that little notebook and to start doing this super tactic right now! Time is running fast.

HOW MUCH IS YOUR TIME WORTH?
What does an hour of your time cost?
While every dollar has the same value, every hour does not. An hour at 10:00 in the morning may be of much more value as a working hour than 11:00 at night. On the other hand an hour at your child’s bedside when he is sick is worth more than an hour at the office catching up on your filing. However, most of us recognize that an hour at work is an hour at work and if you will be there for eight or 12 hours you want those hours to be used productively so they don’t become extra hours catching up to missed deadlines or preventing you from spending time with your family. There are two methods for determining the value of your time.

What Does an Hour Cost Your Employer? What Does an Hour Cost YOU?

What Does an Hour Cost Your Employer?
If you work for someone you must realize that the activities you do cost the business more than just your hourly wage. You need to account for the cost of overhead and the percentage of income that you are responsible to provide for. If you are a salaried employee you can take your salary (month or year) and add the cost of the office space, equipment or other costs as you presume them to be. Divide this number by the amount of hours you would work in an average month or year.

A month gives you approximately 20 working days. A year has about 240. The resulting figure is
what an hour costs. Now when you are deciding to do an activity you can determine if the task at hand is worth that amount of resources to the business – your time and physical resources. You might be surprised.

Raise Your Value...
Don’t think your time is worth that much? Don’t base it purely on what others have valued it at – raise your value and you will reap the rewards. Work like you are paid more and you will surely stand out from the crowd. You will be more productive and waste less time. What if you cost your business $5/minute instead of $5/hour. Or $10/minute instead of $10/hour. How much would time be worth now? Would you hang around an office waiting room or stay on hold on the telephone? Or would you confirm appointments and leave messages. Raising your value will improve how you view your time and will help you spend your time productively.

What Does an Hour Cost YOU?
Are you self-employed or on contract? This makes it more imperative that you spend your time wisely in that it can have an immediate impact on your income. How much is your time worth (billing hour)? Now create a list of activities that are not directly related to creating income such as bookkeeping, website maintenance, cleaning etc. Based on the previous month, how many hours were spent doing each task? www.GeeWhizCE.com Page 12 of 86

If you bill $30/hour for your service and you spend 15 hours per month maintaining your website it has cost you $450 that month. It may also have cost you 15 more hours away from your family and friends or impeded on actual production time. If having an up-to-date website is crucial to your business (but is not the actual business) then perhaps you would do better to pay someone to maintain it for you. It will give you more time for important tasks and may be accomplished in less time if the person is more skilled than yourself.

The Value of Your Time - Beyond Money
Time management goes beyond knowing the monetary value of your time – your personal time also has value. Unlike money, each hour of your day does not have the same value. You cannot always use money or profits as a factor when determining how much your time is worth. Your life is made up of people, interests and caring for yourself and others. Basing your time merely on the amount of money you will make or save is missing the big picture. Have you ever heard someone answer the question “if you had 6 months to live, what would you do ” with the answer “make more money”? Unless they had nagging financial concerns about their family most people would acknowledge that time spent bettering oneself, spent with family and showing interest in others has greater value. When your child has a school event he wants you to attend or you haven’t spent one evening all week to rest up and relax you need to determine the value of your time in the context of living a productive life – not just making money.

Working For Yourself – Drawing the Line
If you are self-employed or tend to take a lot of work home with you it is important to ask yourself if the time you spend on certain tasks is worth the sacrifice of time doing other things. While it can be difficult to make decisions for how you use your time when you feel the pressure to perform many tasks, it’s not impossible. Take the time to assess your goals and make decisions that reflect them. While being reliable is important you may find new strategies that make better use of your time. You can identify areas where you should be delegating instead of doing things yourself. You might try reorganizing your day so your schedule includes the most important tasks you need to accomplish while fitting less important tasks around it. Taking the time to understand the value of your time now is going to save you frustration in the future. The following chapters will help you identify goals, set a schedule and identify habits that may be costing you more than just time.

Keeping Track: Where Does the Time Go?
You’ve tried this before – creating a To-Do list, scheduling some appointments and booking projects. You have started the day on the right foot, determined to get on top of things. The kid’s lunches were packed and ready. You had plenty of time to get to work in the morning without any stress. When you arrived at work your projects were in order, your day timer up-to-date and you knew exactly where you need to be and when. Because you used a schedule you figured that you’d have no problem getting everything done on time. You start out alright, but as you carry on through the day you notice the time and are shocked that you only accomplished half of what you planned before you have to switch activities. Several interruptions by coworkers and clients and before you realize it the schedule has been abandoned and you are again rushing through your activities and feeling overwhelmed. Why does this happen?

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You Have More Time Than You Think...
Before you blame the scheduling process you need see what other factors affect your day. You can do this by logging your normal routine for a few days. It is difficult to appreciate the time you spend on activities that do not contribute to your productivity until you’ve logged them over a few days.

Creating a Log
For the next few days keep a pen and paper handy to write down what you’re doing and the time when you change activities. Quickly assess and write down how you feel – energetic, tired, hungry or anything else you can identify. This record does not have to be detailed but should include every activity change in your work day.

Identifying Patterns
After you’ve kept a log for a couple of days you will be able to analyze certain patterns. Do you often feel tired in the middle of the afternoon? Are you refreshed after taking a small lunch? Did you spend longer on menial tasks or talking to others than you thought? How many people used up your time with little benefit (phone calls, drop-ins and emails)? Finding these patterns can help you plan your activities so they fit better with your natural rhythms. Perhaps you find getting through the afternoon (or getting started in the morning) to be the most draining. Is it possible to schedule your most challenging projects or meetings when you are most alert and energetic? Block off this time in your schedule – no calls, no meetings – so that you can accomplish the most work.

Give Yourself Rewards
You can also try implementing a self-reward program when needed. If pushing through a tedious project causes you to dawdle or get easily distracted you might find that giving yourself small rewards as you complete small chunks of work will keep you motivated. Perhaps you will only get a cup of coffee when you’ve finished filing half of the pile. Or maybe you’ll take a stretch or call a friend (briefly) when you’ve dealt with 20 emails. Keep the rewards small but frequent enough to keep your momentum and prevent you from resorting to distractions which will only prolong the process.

Should You Stop Wasting Time?
This process may also highlight to you that after evaluating how much your time is worth you should really consider delegating some of your work to other people or eliminating some tasks. While it is commendable to keep on top of things you may be wasting resources by trying to do everything yourself. Smaller businesses frequently call on the owner or employees to wear several hats during the day or week. While it appears to cut costs this may actually be wasting resources. Perhaps hiring someone part-time to help with the filing, cleaning and mail outs would permit key employees to spend their time at more profitable occupations. If you identify this problem and you are an employee you need to discuss your findings with your manager or employer. If approached properly they may see that your time is better spent focused on aspects of your job that are more profitable. Important duties are being compromised by menial tasks that need to be performed.

Whatever you discover to be a time robber you must take steps to deal with. Here are some ideas for common time robbers...

TIME ROBBERS
They’re on the loose. Almost everyone (if not everyone) is guilty of giving in or becoming victim to these time thieves one way or another. In fact, most of these time robbers have become normal parts of people’s daily lives. www.GeeWhizCE.com Page 14 of 86

TV and Radio
Who can resist watching their favorite shows on TV? If you really want to save time, turn off the boob tube. I know it’s extremely difficult to control the urge; but if you start watching TV, you’ll get hooked. What was originally a decision to watch a one-hour show could turn into a 4-hour addiction. Be strict in limiting your watching time. Better yet, don’t watch at all! The same thing applies to the radio. If you’re going to listen at all, choose classical music. It stimulates the brain and is a more productive use of your time.

Phone
The phone can actually be a time-saver if you know how to use it properly. Instead of emailing someone, engaging in a phone call can allow you to get the answers right away. “Saying it” is definitely faster than “writing it.” Of course, there are exceptions when email or other methods are better, like when a detailed list is needed. You can prevent phone calls from stealing your time by telling the caller nicely that you have some urgent matters to attend to, and that you will try to call back soon. Do you know another reason why telephones waste a lot of your time? They require the use of your hand, which makes it difficult to do other tasks when you are talking. Invest in a headset if you can. It will free up both of your hands so you can do other things while you are chatting away.

Waiting in Line
Nothing could test your patience more than waiting for your turn in long queues. As much as possible, avoid going to crowded places. If you cannot avoid this, pick a schedule where you least expect many people to show up. For example, buy your groceries on weekdays. Don’t shop during weekends and paydays. If you can afford the higher price tags of items that can be bought through the phone, internet, or third-party services, then go ahead and buy them. If you treat time as gold, then the extra time you’ll be saving as a result of this act is worth much more than the extra money you’ll be spending. In case you really have no choice but to wait in line, then don’t waste your time complaining. Do something productive like reading a book, listening to educational tapes, or writing your future plans on your little notebook.

Traffic Terror
This is another hair-pulling moment, especially when you’re running late for an important appointment. Avoid the rush hour by all means. Anticipate when a traffic jam is usually occurring during the day so you can adjust your commuting time. If your destination is not too far away, a walking session might be a great idea to evade traffic, save on gas or money, and attain a healthy lifestyle.

Too Much
Life is becoming more and more complex everyday. We are presented with a variety of choices on a particular product to be bought. We are being inundated with tons of paperwork. We have too many tasks to do in a day. To solve this dilemma, try to make everything in life as simple as possible. Don’t present too many choices. People will be confused if you sell them products with too many combinations, varieties, or options. Lots of time will be consumed in deciding which one is really the best. Try to minimize the quantity of papers you have to keep. If you can afford programming or e-commerce solutions that minimize the use of papers, then it is a rational decision to acquire them. Pause a while every time you are going to do an activity. Always ask yourself, "What can I do along with this task to save more time in the future?” For instance, you are going to buy a birthday card for your friend. By www.GeeWhizCE.com Page 15 of 86

asking the question, you might come up with the decision to buy more birthday cards instead of just one, to give to those who will be having their birthdays later in the year; so you don’t have to go to the shop every time there is a birthday occasion.

Emails
Emails have helped save lots of time and money for many people. Instead of the old-fashioned snail mail, more individuals rely on email to get their messages across faster, cheaper, and more conveniently. However, there are certain downsides to using email as a means of communication. Many people check their emails many times during the day, therefore hampering their productivity. They’ve become addicted to emails so much that they spend hours reading and replying, even to junk mails! And speaking of junk mails, sorting out your emails and separating the junk from the not can be a very time-consuming activity. Written below are some great tips to make emails work for you in your pursuit to manage time efficiently. 1. Check your emails a maximum of twice a day. If you want to accomplish many tasks, limit your time in reading your emails. Suitable times would be first thing in the morning (to take care of urgent matters) and a few minutes before you end your work (to catch up with last-minute concerns). 2. Set up templates or a “Frequently Asked Questions” page. The same questions can be repeatedly asked by different people - things like how to operate a certain product, how to download a resource, how to join your affiliate program, and so forth. It is obvious that typing the same answers to the same questions over and over again is extremely time-consuming. It is therefore advisable to set up templates of answers so you can just copy and paste them whenever the same questions are being asked again. A better way is to set up a “Frequently Asked Questions” page so you can just refer people to it when they have queries. The only time they’ll email you again is when their concerns have not been properly addressed. 3. Reply briefly. Answer your emails clearly and to the point. Don’t overcomplicate the explanation. Never reply to spam messages or to junk mails. 4. Take the phone. Several minutes spent in replying to emails can be shortened tremendously by just calling the person. You’ll get faster responses and you’ll end up saving lots of time. And of course, the personal touch is priceless. Terminate spam. Spam messages are very prevalent nowadays. Not only can they waste a lot of your time, but they can be very annoying as well. To prevent spam, don’t spread your email address like wildfire. It would be advisable to have a private email address that only a few trusted people know. If you can, make your email address more intricate. If you’re inserting your email address in websites and messages, you may replace @ with “AT.”

5. Get your email across. Sometimes, your email could mistakenly be regarded as spam, and this would waste your time in composing that message. To prevent such occurrence, be careful with your choice of words. Avoid words or phrases that trigger the spam filters. Some words to avoid: free, money, sex, amazing, limited offer, naked, opportunity, debt, loans, lottery, retire, urgent Other Robbers
There are certainly many other time thieves depending on each individual’s circumstances. Examples include waiting for your spouse in the shopping mall, making mistakes in filling up application forms, and other such things. Use your mind to think of possible solutions. If you can’t avoid being involved in such predicaments, then at least make those moments productive by reading books, listening to educational tapes, etc.

TIME MANAGEMENT IN THE WORKPLACE
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For workaholics, working overtime has become a way of life. Many employees admit that they feel obliged to do as much work as possible or to finish their tasks the very same day they’re given. In my previous job, some of the employees even work past midnight in the office just to get things done. This is absolutely absurd. There are much better ways of exceeding the expectations of the boss rather than sacrificing your health and personal life. In this chapter you will learn some terrific tactics to enable you to get home early and achieve a balanced life.

Work Quality Hours
Some employees may acquire a “happy-go-lucky” attitude because they think that whatever they have not finished within the normal working hours, they can accomplish later during overtime. They therefore tend to work slower. They have the inclination to do other things during office hours like chatting with their co-workers regarding the latest gossips, surfing the internet for personal reasons, and reading joke emails sent by their friends. These are not acceptable acts by a responsible employee. Not only will the employee spend less time for rest and relaxation by staying late in the office, but the company would also have to shoulder more overtime pay for work that can be finished within the regular working time. If you want to maintain a balanced life, then leave your office early. You might think that this is not a logical step to take especially when you’re bombarded with piles of assignments and reports that are due soon. But once you get the hang of this, you’ll become more focused with your job and you’ll spend less time doing unproductive tasks. The magic word here is focus. Tell yourself that you are leaving early by hook or by crook. By doing this, you are imposing a strict deadline on yourself. When you make up your mind to go home early from work with full determination, your subconscious will help you in achieving such feat. Word of advice: start gradually. If you’re used to working 15 hours a day, you may start by lessening it to 12 hours, then to 10 hours, then finally to 8 hours. You may also decide which days of the week you’ll be leaving work early. For example, this week you’ll go home early on Wednesday. Then next week, it’s Wednesday and Thursday. Then the week after that, it’s Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Keep on decreasing the numbers of hours you have to work for a particular week until you have achieved a normal 8-hour work routine daily. But please. Don’t leave the office early feeling guilty and unproductive. Just think. By achieving balance and getting enough rest, you’ll end up becoming more efficient than if you work countless hours the day before. A better use of your time is to plan on how you are going to handle the work that you will be doing tomorrow. At the start of every day, always ask yourself, “What must I do to feel satisfied when I go home from work on time today?” Another great way to accomplish more is that during the middle of the day, contemplate on the tasks that you have already done, then ask yourself “What other things do I need to finish?” You will gain more direction to accomplish whatever needs to be done.

Be Efficient and Productive
Certain factors may negatively affect the employee’s performance, the effect of which could be disastrous to both the employee and the company. Listed below are some of the things you need to pay attention to if you want to become efficient at your job: 1. Do not accept more than you can handle. Sometimes, people want to please their bosses so much that they would be willing to add up more work to their already unending tasks with the hope of being recognized and promoted. What they didn’t know is that they’ll end up being more inefficient, frustrated, and stressed-out just to meet the deadlines. If you think you cannot accommodate an additional workload or a new project, then be honest and tell your boss about it. With a justifiable explanation, your superior would understand your situation and would be glad to assign the task to someone else with less workload. www.GeeWhizCE.com Page 17 of 86

2. Organize your files and office supplies well. A table with too much clutter can leave you in disarray. Make sure you group identical things together so you won’t have to waste time in finding the things you need. (Organization will be discussed in a later chapter). 3. Move it. Your body, that is. Exercise has been proven to reduce work-related stress and anxiety. Regular exercise can help maintain your body in tip-top condition to handle the challenges of work. If you can, stretch your body or take frequent breaks within your work schedule to revitalize yourself. 4. Get enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep can make you drowsy and weak, thereby impairing your concentration and ability to do the job well. 7 to 8 hours is normal for most people but there is actually no norm. Some could sleep just 4 hours and still be in great working condition. Know the minimum hours of sleep you can take to become productive during the day and make sure you get enough of it daily. Take a short 15 to 30 minute nap during break time if you can. It will give you energy for the rest of the day. 5. Use devices or supplies that save time. Get a stamper with your signature in it so you can minimize your time in signing documents. If you’re given a choice, choose a laptop instead of a desktop computer for better accessibility to your work when you’re outside the office. 6. Eat light lunch. If you splurge in an eat-all-you-can treat at lunch, there’s a big chance you’ll get lethargic later on in the afternoon. Stay alert for the rest of the day by limiting your lunch, and by taking a light snack if you go hungry at mid-afternoon. 7. Delegate. During the normal course of your work, you would most likely encounter time killers such as unwanted phone calls and emails, or waiting in line to photocopy some documents. If you could delegate these and other similar tasks to others, you could be freeing a lot of time for more productive pursuits.

SAVING TIME WITH OTHERS
Your interactions with others consume as much, if not more time, than any other part of your day. Even technical workers spend up to 75% of their time communicating with coworkers. You can greatly increase the efficiency of your interactions by improving the quality of your communications. Some of the biggest time wasters in life are people. These people problems can be broken down into a few critical categories.

1. Common Misunderstandings
A major waste of time is caused by misunderstandings between people about roles, goals, and responsibilities. People do not know what they are expected to do, and how, and by what time. Misunderstandings lead to inefficiencies, anger, frustration and unhappiness. They often require an enormous amount of time to clear up in order to get back to normal. Most of your problems in life talk back. They come with hair on top. Perhaps 85% of your happiness or unhappiness in life involves other people in some way. Miscommunications with other people are a major source of time wastage.

2. Unclear Priorities
Misunderstandings with regard to priorities often lead to your working at the wrong job, at the wrong time, for the wrong reason, and perhaps aiming at the wrong level of quality, and for the wrong person. Some of the most stressful times of your life are caused by misunderstandings at work, especially miscommunications with your boss.

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The most important single cause of positive feelings and high levels of motivation in work is defined as “knowing exactly what is expected.” On the other hand, the number one complaint, or demotivator of employees, is “not knowing what’s expected.” In order to perform at your best, you need absolute clarity about your job, and what you are expected to do. You need clarity with regard to results required and standards of performance. You need clarity with regard to schedules and deadlines. You need clarity with regard to the rewards and consequences of doing a good job, or not. Clarity is everything.

3. Poor Delegation
Poor delegation to others, or from others, leads to mistakes and frustration on the part of both the boss and the employee. It is a major time waster. One of the rules for success in life and work is to “assume the best intentions of everyone.” You can generally assume that each person does the very best he can at the job he thinks he is supposed to do. But poor delegation causes even the most sincere and talented people to do poor work, or to do the wrong jobs and therefore to end up feeling frustrated and unhappy.

4. Unclear Lines of Authority
Unclear lines of authority and responsibility lead to time wastage. People do not know who is supposed to do what job, and when is it to be done, and to what standard of quality? And especially, who is supposed to report to whom? Who’s in charge? Who’s the boss?

A Management Game
In my management seminars, I often invite the managers to play a game with me. The game is called “Keep Your Job. ” I explain that the rules are quite simple. First, each manager in the room will write down the names of the people who report to them. They will then write next to those names the most important job that each of those people is expected to accomplish, in what order of priority, and why they are on the payroll. Then I tell the managers that they will wait here in this room while we go and interview each of their staff members. Each staff member will be asked to answer the question, “What exactly have you been hired to do, and in what order of priority?” If the answers given by each staff member are identical to the answers given by the managers, then the managers will be allowed to “Keep Your Job. ” I then ask, “Does anyone here want to play ‘Keep Your Job?’ ” No one ever wants to play. In years of conducting this exercise, I have never found a manager who is willing to stake their job on the sure knowledge that each of their employees is clear about what they are on the payroll to accomplish.

The Manager Is Responsible
The fact is that each manager is responsible for making absolutely sure that each employee knows exactly what he or she is supposed to be doing. One of the very fastest ways to increase efficiency, clear up misunderstandings and improve communications is to take the time to sit with each person and discuss exactly what they are supposed to do, and in what order, and to what standard of excellence.

5. Incomplete Information
Another major time waster in business is poor or incomplete information, which leads to erroneous assumptions and conclusions. It is amazing how often people jump to conclusions or make false assumptions on the www.GeeWhizCE.com Page 19 of 86

basis of wrong information. The very best managers take the time to ask questions and listen carefully to the answers before they make a decision. If there is a key piece of information that suggests a problem or difficulty, they double check on this piece of information to make sure that it is accurate. Always ask, “What proof do you have for this statement or fact?” Never assume that something important is true without taking the time to corroborate it for yourself.

6. Aimless or Too Frequent Meetings
Too many meetings, or aimless meetings that proceed without an agenda, without direction or without closure, are an enormous waste of time at work. These are meetings that start and stop without any particular resolution. No problems are solved, no decisions are made and no responsibilities are assigned. No deadlines are agreed upon for action. Since 25% to 50% of working time is spent on meetings of all kinds, your taking the time to improve the quality of your meetings, by preparing agendas in advance, and by bringing each question to closure, can dramatically increase your effectiveness and your productivity.

7. Lack of Clarity Concerning One’s Job
Lack of information, or unclear communications, on important matters affecting a person’s work, causes a lot of wasted time. In a recent survey on employee motivation, the very best companies were defined as places where each person felt that he was an insider, and that he or she was “in the know” about what was going on in the company. The worst places to work were described as those where no one was sure about what was really going on. In this type of situation, people were unclear about their responsibilities, unsure about their jobs, and cautious about taking any risks. When people don’t know what is going on, it leads to demotivation, poor performance and playing it safe. People need to know everything that is happening in the company that affects their particular jobs. The very best companies are those that are open and honest with all employees concerning those matters that affect the health of the company. Everyone knows what is going on, and how their job fits into the big picture. When they are unclear or unsure, an enormous amount of time is lost as the result of conversations, discussions and gossip, which leads to ineffective work behaviors and poor productivity.

Take Time to Communicate Clearly
In a recent study, 84% of successful executives said that their ability to communicate effectively with others was the key reason for their success. Almost all successful men and women today in the world of work, business, politics and other fields are in their positions because of their ability to communicate well with other people. Effective communicating is a key time management skill. Here is a rule: Never assume that the other person understands what you have discussed until he or she has fed it back to you in his or her own words. Never assume that you understand until you have repeated it back or explained it in your own words and had the other person agree. It is a truism that we only understand something to the degree to which we can explain it to another person. The very act of articulating an assignment or decision in words clarifies it for both the speaker and the person listening.

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In interacting with others, seek first to understand, then to be understood. Most people get this rule backwards. They are so busy trying to get other people to understand them that they don’t take the time to understand the other person first. Seek first to understand. Listen closely to the other person to be sure that you fully understand what he is both saying and meaning. Only then should you try to get the other person to understand you. The key to effective communication in working with others is developing absolute clarity about what needs to be done, and why, and when, and to what standard. Clarity requires time, attention and patience.

The Law of Comparative Advantage
In 1805, the British economist David Ricardo announced what has become one of the most important principles of economics, “The Law of Comparative Advantage.” This law initially referred to trade between countries. It demonstrated mathematically that countries should specialize in producing those products that they made better than any other country. Ricardo showed that, even if country A produced two products at a higher level of quality than country B, it was still better for country A to concentrate exclusively on producing the product that they made best, and let country B exclusively produce the other. The total value created by both countries for their citizens would be greater in proportion to the resources consumed in production than if each country tried to produce both products.

Applying Comparative Advantage to Your Work
In business and commerce, this is an extremely important principle. It is the base of modern wage differentials. In your work life, the Law of Comparative Advantage says that you should assign, delegate, outsource or have someone else do any job that can be done at a wage less than you earn, or less than the wage you desire to earn. In its simplest terms, if your goal is to earn $50,000 per year, and you work 2000 hours per year, your hourly rate is approximately $25 per hour. This means that you should hire someone else to do any task that can be done at an hourly rate less than $25, even if you can do the task better than he can. This enables you to spend more time doing more work that pays $25 per hour or more. If you want to earn $100,000 per annum, your hourly rate is $50 per hour, each hour. But you cannot earn $50 per hour during the workday if you are getting your car washed, picking up your groceries, or dropping off your dry cleaning. You cannot earn $25 or $50 per hour if you are chitchatting with your coworkers, making coffee, reading the paper or surfing the Internet. This kind of work or activity does not pay you $25 to $50 per hour. The basic rule is this: If you want to earn $100,000 per year, you have to do $50 per hour work for eight hours every single working day.

The Key Personal Productivity Principle
This is a key personal productivity principle. If you do not focus single-mindedly on working at or above your desired hourly rate, you will not earn this amount of money in the long run. This rule applies to hiring a bookkeeper, typing, shopping, house cleaning, washing your or any other task. The key to effective delegation, whether you are a boss or an employee, is to continually be seeking ways to outsource and delegate those things that pay a lower hourly rate than you earn. This is the only way that you will have enough time to concentrate on doing the kind of work that will pay you the kind of money that you truly desire. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people are laid off from different jobs in different industries. In almost every case, this is because their hourly contribution to their companies has dropped below the amount of money they are receiving in wages or salary. This may have been caused by external circumstances, by changes in the market that render the products and services they produce less desirable. www.GeeWhizCE.com Page 21 of 86

You Can Only Be Paid What You Contribute
In too many cases, their value has dropped is because they have not continually upgraded their skills on the one hand, and they are wasting too much time on the other. They are engaging in activities or performing tasks of low value or no value, tasks that no one can pay them $25 or $50 an hour to do. As a result, they are laid off or fired, and must make the rounds for several months before finding new jobs that pay even lower amounts than they were earning before. The focus on your hourly rate, and continually increasing the value of your work on an hourly basis, is the key to your future. As Pat Riley, the basketball coach said, “If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.” If you are not continually learning and upgrading your skills, you are actually sliding backwards, and your time is becoming less and less valuable to your employer. Don’t let this happen to you.

Delegation Is the Key to Leverage
To achieve everything you are capable of achieving, and to be able to concentrate on those few tasks that can make the greatest contribution to your life and work, you must become excellent at delegation. Whether you are a boss or an employee, you must be continually seeking ways to outsource, delegate and get other people to do things that pay you a lower hourly rate than you desire to earn. There are several ways that you can become more effective at delegating and outsourcing, or hiring other people to do parts of your work so that you can do the parts of your job that pay the most.

1. Instead of You?
Ask the question, “Who can do this job instead of you?” Remember, you have to delegate everything possible in order to have enough time to do those few things that are most important.

2. Better than You?
You should ask, “Who can do this job better than me? ” One of the characteristics of effective managers and successful leaders is that they have the ability to find people who are superior to them in specific tasks. You should continually be looking for people who can do certain parts of your work better than you.

3. At a Lower Cost?
Evaluate the job and ask, “Who can do this job at a lower cost than me?” Many companies and individuals are finding that they can outsource major parts of their operations to companies who specialize in that area. Companies that specialize in a particular function can usually do the job cheaper and faster than a company that does that work as part of its other activities.

4. Can It Be Eliminated?
Ask yourself and others, “Can this activity be eliminated altogether?” What would happen if the job were not done at all? Many of the routinized tasks and activities in a company or business could be quite easily eliminated with no loss of productivity and great increases of ineffectiveness. Once upon a time, in a Fortune 500 company, a new Vice President of Finance took over the accounting and bookkeeping for the national organization. One of his departments consisted of 12 highly paid accountants and analysts who spent their time assembling the monthly reports from all the operating divisions into a single binder, which was then distributed to all the division heads. This department and its activities were costing the company almost a million dollars a year. The new Vice President was curious. He went down the hall to one of the division heads and asked him if he had been receiving the monthly reports from his accounting department. The division head assured him that he had been getting the reports each month. The Vice President asked, “What do you do with them?” www.GeeWhizCE.com Page 22 of 86

He said, “Come here and I’ll show you. ” He took him down the hall and into a storage room where the monthly reports, each of them about three inches thick, were neatly stacked on a set of bookshelves. “We never have time to read them, but we keep them here just in case.” The new VP of Finance went back to his offices, called in the specialists who produced the report and told them to discontinue their activities. They would be reassigned to other jobs where the company needed their expertise more than this department. They argued vigorously against this decision. They insisted that the company was dependent upon their monthly reports. But the new VP was adamant. He discontinued the reports and didn’t tell anyone. Nothing happened. Fully nine months later, the VP was at an executive meeting and one of the division heads asked him in passing, “Whatever happened to those big reports we used to get from your department each month?” The Vice President of Finance said, “We stopped sending them out. The division head said, “Well, we never read them anyway.” That was the only comment he ever received from anyone in the company on the discontinued reports. It is amazing how many activities go on in business and private life that could be quite easily discontinued completely, with no loss or inconvenience to anyone. Rooting out these opportunities for increased efficiency can dramatically improve the productivity and profitability of an organization or department.

Six Steps to Effective Delegation
To delegate effectively in your work with others, there are six steps that you can take. If you neglect any one of these steps, you run the risk of miscommunication, misunderstandings, demoralization and poor performance.

1. Match the Person to the Job
Match the person to the job. One of the great time wasters in the world of work is delegating the task to the wrong person. Often the task is delegated to a person who is not capable of doing it properly or getting it done on schedule. The only accurate predictor of future performance is past performance. The rule is that you never delegate an important task to a person who has not performed that task satisfactorily in the past. It is unfair to expect a person who has not done a job before to perform at a sufficient level of quality when they are given the job for the first time.

2. Agree on what is to be Done
Once you have selected the right person for the job, take the time discuss the job with that person and agree upon what must be done. The more time you take to discuss and agree upon the end result or objective, and achieve absolute clarity, the faster the job will be done once the person starts on it.

3. Explain How the Job Should Be Done
Explain to the person your preferred approach or method of working. Explain how you would like to see the job done, and how you or someone else has done it successfully in the past.

4. Have Him Feed It Back
Ask the person to feed your instructions back to you in his or her own words. Have him or her explain to you what you have just explained and agreed upon. This is the only way that you can be sure that the other person actually understands the job or assignment that they have been delegated to accomplish.

5. Set a Deadline
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and for periodic inspection. Invite feedback and questions if there are any delays or problems.

6. Manage By Exception
Manage by exception whenever possible. Managing by exception is a powerful time management tool that you can use to work more efficiently with other people. If the job is on track, and on schedule, managing by exception means that the person does not have to report back to you. If you don’t hear from him, you can assume that everything is going well. The individual only has to report back to you when an exception occurs and there is a problem with getting the job done on time, to the agreed upon level of quality.

Seven Ways to Get More Done Each Day
There are seven methods you can use to get more done each day. These are simple, direct and cost no money.

1. Work Harder
Work harder than you are working today. You can concentrate with greater intensity on your work. You can focus single-mindedly and discipline yourself to work without interruption, diversion or distraction. You can work harder than anyone else, which is a secret to great success.

2. Work Faster
You can work faster than you are today. You can pick up the pace. You can develop a faster tempo. You can move more quickly from place to place, and from job to job. When you combine working harder and working faster, you can get more done in a single day than most people get done in a week.

3. Batch Your Tasks
You can batch your tasks. You can do a series of similar jobs together, taking advantage of the learning curve.

4. Do More Important Things
You can do more important things. You can work on higher value tasks. You can work on tasks that have a higher potential payoff rather than those activities that have a lower payoff.

5. Do Things You’re Better At
Do things at which you excel. The better you are in a key skill area, the more that you can get done and at a higher level of quality. Because you are better at these tasks, they will be easier for you so you will get them done with less effort and you will have more energy as a result.

6. Make Fewer Mistakes
To get more done, you can make fewer mistakes. You can take the time to do it right the first time. You’ve heard it said, “There is never enough time to do it right, but there is always enough time to do it over.” One of the best time management techniques is to do it right the first time, even if it takes a little more effort and concentration.

7. Simplify the Work
You can simplify the work by reducing the number of steps necessary to complete the task. This makes the job simpler and easier to get done. www.GeeWhizCE.com Page 24 of 86

Pay Attention
“Life is the study of attention.” You always pay attention to that which you most value. If you value another person, you listen to them intensely when they are speaking. If you value the result of a job, you pay close attention to the details that determine whether or not that job is completed successfully. Effective managers pay close attention to everything that is going on around them because they value it and because it is important to them.

Assuring Success at Work
The very best times you will ever have at any job or company is when you are getting wonderfully well with your boss. On the other hand, the very worst times you will ever have at any job is when you are not getting along well with your boss. And the major reason why employees have problems with their bosses is because of a lack of clarity of what exactly is to be done, and to what standard, and in what order of priority. Here is an excellent exercise for you. Make a list of all of the answers to the question, “Why am I on the payroll?” Write down everything that you feel that you have been hired to accomplish in your work. Focus on results rather than activities. Imagine that your work consists of a series of “deliverables.” Define your job in terms of the deliverables for which your company pays you a wage or salary. Now, take this list to your boss and ask your boss to organize this list by priority, based on what is most important to him or her. This may take a few minutes. Be patient. As you discuss this list with your boss, ask questions so that you are perfectly clear about what he or she wants or needs.

Focus on Your Boss’s Top Priorities
From that day forward, focus and concentrate on doing those jobs that your boss considers to be the most important before you do anything else. Whenever your boss asks you to do something else, take out your list and ask him or her what order of priority the new task has relative to the tasks currently on your job list. If you are working at your full capacity, to do something new, you will have to stop doing something old. Many bosses do not realize that your plate is full already. When your boss asks you to do something new, you should ask him what he would like you to stop doing so that you can work on the new task that he has just given you. This is a wonderful way to minimize misunderstandings and improve communications. It is only when you are working on those tasks that are most important to your boss that you can possibly have any chance of satisfying or pleasing him, or being paid more or promoted more often. If you make the mistake of doing things on your list in an excellent fashion but you work on tasks that are not important to your boss, you will actually sabotage your career. The more time you spend doing an excellent job on unimportant tasks, the further behind you will fall.

Three Types of Decisions
There are three types of decisions in any organization, or family. When decisions involve other people, it is important that everyone is clear about what kind of a decision is under consideration.

1. Command Decisions
The first types of decisions are command decisions. This is a decision that has to be made by the boss, or by the person in charge. This decision is so important that one person is solely responsible for making up his or her mind about what is to be done. Hiring a key staff member, firing a poor performer, making an important investment decision, finalizing a sale or transaction, or even negotiating a new loan with the bank are all command decisions. They must be made by the person in charge.

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2. Consultative Decisions
The second type is a consultative decision. This is a decision where you or the boss asks for advice and takes input from other people. You combine the opinions, ideas and inputs of others together with your own and make a decision. A consultative decision, even though it invites the advice and participation of others, is not made based on that advice. You may be thinking of hiring a new person, assigning someone to a particular task, spending a certain amount of money on a business activity or embarking on a new sales or marketing campaign. If you are the boss, you can ask for advice from everyone before you finally close the door and make your final decision. When General Dwight D. Eisenhower was the supreme commander of allied forces in Britain, he took the advice and input of hundreds of military experts, planners and specialists in his preparation for the D-Day invasion. This process took several months. But on the final day, June 5, 1944, with a single day of calm weather predicted for the English Channel, General Eisenhower made the fateful decision that launched the invasion of June 6, 1944 and brought World War II to an end ten months later.

3. Consensus Decisions
The third type of decision is one that is made on the basis of consensus. This is a democratic decision where everyone gets involved, discusses the pros and cons, and then agrees on what is to be done. Sometimes everyone is in agreement and sometimes the decision is made by a democratic vote, where the majority rules. Once the decision has been made, everyone commits to making the decision successful; however they may have felt or voted during the discussion phase.

Clarify the Type of Decision
One of the problems in communications, and working with others, is confusion over which kind of a decision is being made at that moment. Sometimes, the boss asks for input and ideas. The staff members automatically conclude that this is a consensus decision while the boss may be viewing it as a consultative decision. When the boss makes a decision that is contrary to the expressed wishes or opinions of the others, it can lead to hard feelings and misunderstandings. People’s feelings will be hurt and time will be wasted going back and explaining that their input was invited and welcome, but not necessarily followed in the final decision. When a boss makes it clear that this is a democratic or consensus decision, he is saying that the staff can decide what is to be done in this case, and whatever the group decides, we will all go along with it. When everyone is clear about the kind of decision under consideration, everything proceeds more smoothly, with less friction and time wastage.

Your Job Description
Often in my seminars, to make a point, I will say, “I know the job description of every single person in this audience.” This immediately gets their attention. In an audience of 1000 people, there will be participants from hundreds of companies. They then smile and wait to hear what I am about to say. “You can take your business card and cross out whatever title is below your name and replace it with the words Problem Solver. Everyone here is a problem solver. This is what you do all day long.”

Focus on the Solution
One of the characteristics of top people is that they are intensely solution-oriented. They do not continually think and talk about the problem, and who is to blame, and how much has been lost, and why did this happen to me? Instead, they focus on the solution, and what can be done. www.GeeWhizCE.com Page 26 of 86

Your job, in whatever position, is to solve problems. Your income, your rate of promotion, the respect and esteem of your peers, and all of your success in life will be determined by how effectively you solve the problems and difficulties that you have to face every hour of every day in the achievement of your goals. Leadership is the ability to solve problems. Success is the ability to solve problems. Personal effectiveness is the ability to solve the inevitable and unavoidable problems of daily life. The only question is, “How good are you at solving problems?” Here is a wonderful discovery. The more you think and talk about possible solutions, the smarter you get. The more you think and talk about what can be done to solve the problem, the more ideas you will have. You will become more creative. Your mind will function faster. The more solutions that you come up with, the more solutions there are that will occur to you. Eventually you will become like the Pac Man of the video game, gobbling up problems as fast as you encounter them. One of the biggest time savers in life and work is your ability to solve the right problem in the right way. It is your ability to deal effectively and efficiently with problems, to overcome them, and to keep moving forward toward the result or goal that you desire. On the other hand, one of the biggest time wasters in life and work is the inability to solve problems. The inability to solve a single key problem can lead to underachievement, frustration, failure and even the bankruptcy of an organization. Thinking and talking in terms of problem solving and solutions is one of the most important mindsets that you can develop.

Six Steps to Effective Problem Solving
There are six steps to effective problem solving that you can follow to cut through any difficulty or obstacle you face for the rest of your career.

1. Define the Problem Clearly
Start by asking, “What exactly is the problem?” Define the problem clearly, and whenever possible, in writing. Remember, accurate diagnosis is half the cure. Sometimes writing a problem down on a flip chart or white board, and having everybody agree to the definition of the problem will lead rapidly to a solution. Very often, by forcing yourself to define the problem clearly in writing on a piece of paper in front of you will trigger a logical solution. Fully 50% of problems can be solved in the definition phase.

What Else is the Problem?
Once you have a clear definition of the problem, you should ask, “What else is the problem?” Never be satisfied with a problem that has only one definition. Keep asking, “What else is the problem?” See if you cannot develop multiple definitions to a single problem. Sometimes a large problem is actually a “cluster problem.” This occurs when the larger problem is actually made up of several smaller problems. By defining the problem clearly, this enables you to break down the problem into its constituent parts so that you can solve each of the smaller parts at once. The rule is that, in every complex problem, there is usually a single problem that must be solved before any other problems can be solved. This single, large problem that must be solved is often not clear or obvious. It requires a little digging on your part to find it. The natural tendency of human nature is to jump to conclusions. We see a problem and we leap to a solution. We leap quickly from the problem to the solution without considering that we might be jumping from the pan into the fire. In defining the problem or problems, it is important that you go slowly at the beginning to make sure that you are not working on the wrong problem. Solving the wrong problem in the right way will often create a www.GeeWhizCE.com Page 27 of 86

worse situation than the one you started with.

2. Identify All the Possible Causes
Before seeking a solution, ask, “How did this problem occur?” What are all the possible causes of the problem? What are the reasons for the problem? It is not enough to simply come up with a solution. It is important that you deal with the underlying causes that created the problem in the first place. When I started my company some years ago, no matter how busy we were in the market, we always seemed to have cash flow problems. Every couple of months, the bank account would be empty and we would have to scramble around to find the funds to make payroll and cover other bills. We finally realized that we were lacking a “Cash Management System.” I learned later that this is one of the most important tools for business or personal survival and success. It is a long-term monthly projection of your cash needs, based on your very best estimates of your income and expenses. Once we had taken the time to project forward a year, based on the seasonal fluctuations in our revenues, we were able to predict with some accuracy how much was coming in, how much was going out, and what times of the year we would have cash shortfalls. Once that cash plan was in place, we organized lines of credit and financial reserves to make sure that the cash crisis did not occur again. Very often, identifying the cause of a problem immediately suggests an obvious solution that enables you to solve the problem and stop it from occurring again.

3. Identify All the Possible Solutions
Before leaping to a conclusion, ask, “What are all the possible solutions? What are all the different things that you can do to solve the particular problem? This is a very important step in the process. Rather than assuming that there is only one answer, write down as many different solutions to the problem that you can think of. The more solutions the better. Beware of a problem for which there is only one solution. In many cases, the obvious solution is not the best solution. In some cases, the correct solution is to do the opposite of your initial inclination. Sometimes, it is to do something radically different. Occasionally the solution is to do nothing at all. In developing different solutions to a problem, you should clearly define your “boundary conditions.” These are the constraints within which you have to work, and the results that this solution must achieve. Often you can develop better solutions by defining the minimum and maximum conditions for the solution before you begin. What does this solution have to accomplish? If the solution were perfect, what result would it achieve? How would we know that this was a good solution? Start with the end in mind. Be clear about what you want to accomplish with the decision before you decide upon the solution.

4. Make a Decision
Once you have all the information, make a decision. Select the solution that looks and feels to be the very best of the solutions available. But before you go on, ask, “Why is this the best solution? Why is this solution superior to the others?” The more time you take to think about and study both the problem and the solution, the better and more accurate your answer will be. A few minutes spent in careful analysis in problems and solutions can save you an enormous amount of time when it comes to implementation.

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5. What is Your Fallback Solution?
Be sure to ask, “What is our alternative solution?” In other words, once you have decided on the best solution, be open to the possibility that it will not work out at all. If that were the case, what would be your “Plan B?” What would be your fallback position? What would be your alternative or second solution if your first solution failed? The process of thinking through an alternative solution is a powerful mental exercise. It forces you to expand your view of the problem, and all the possibilities. Very often, by thinking through and developing a fallback position, you actually improve the original solution. Sometimes, you change it altogether. Remember, you are only as free as your well-developed options. The more alternatives you have developed before you take action, the more effective you will be when you finally move forward. Keep asking, “What will I do if this doesn’t work? What would be my alternative if I turned out to be wrong? How would I respond if this course of action failed altogether?

6. Determine the Worst Possible Outcome
Before you implement the solution, ask, “What is the worst possible outcome of this course of action?” What is the worst possible thing that can happen if you go ahead with this solution? Very often, the second alternative you developed turns out to be better than the first choice because the worst possible consequences of the second solution are not as severe as the worst possible consequences of the first solution. In every decision making process, there is a certain element of risk. There is always uncertainty as to the outcome. There are risks that you can afford to take and there are risks that you cannot afford to take. For example, a large-scale advertising campaign can be quite expensive. Many companies have made the mistake of “betting the bank” and throwing all their money into something like “Super Bowl” advertising. Their idea was that, if only a small percentage of viewers were to buy our product, we will make back all the money we spent in advertising. But they fail to consider the worst possible outcome. It was that no one would respond to the advertising at all. And this happened several times. As a result, the company went bankrupt. There are some risks that you cannot afford to take.

7. Assign Specific Responsibility
Once the decision has been made, either assign or accept responsibility for carrying out the decision. Set a schedule and a deadline. Make it clear to everyone exactly what is to be done, by whom, and to what schedule. Many companies make the mistake of solving the problem, coming up with an excellent solution, assigning responsibility and then leaving the table. Two weeks or four weeks later they reconvene and nothing has happened. Why not? No deadline was set. The individual who was assigned responsibility has gotten sidetracked and busy with other projects. No action has been taken. Sometimes, this inaction can be disastrous. Once you have made a decision, assign responsibility, set a deadline and then follow through. This is the essential part of problem solving.

Focus on Contribution
One of the key time management techniques in working with others is called a “focus on contribution.” The focus on contribution in an organization is essential to good communications and excellent teamwork. Good human relations occur in a company when they are task focused, and aimed at achieving specific goals, or solving specific problems. If relationships in the world of work are not task focused, they have a tendency to become people focused. Instead of being objective and measurable, they become subjective and personal. As a result, people talk to and www.GeeWhizCE.com Page 29 of 86

about each other and about others most of the time. This leads to enormous losses of time and reductions in efficiency.

Practice Participative Management
Participative management is a great time saver in working with people. It is one of the best tools that a manager can develop. Participative management requires that you bring your team together at least once each week for a general staff meeting. At this staff meeting, everyone talks about what they are doing, the progress they are making and any problems they are having. People ask questions of each other, and both decisions are made and solutions are agreed to. The interesting discovery of participative management is that, when someone makes a commitment to do something by a certain deadline in front of their peers, they will be internally motivated to complete that task. Not only that, when you bring people together on a regular basis, you can solve problems, make decisions and clear up misunderstandings faster than almost any other way. Participative management is an incredible tool that you can use as a manager or supervisor for your entire career.

Avoid Reverse Delegation
One of the most important time savers in the world of work has to do with what is called “reverse delegation.” This is where your staff member, to whom you have delegated the task, delegates the task back to you. Work is now moving up the chain of command rather than down the chain of command. Work is coming up from the subordinate to the boss rather than from the boss to the subordinate. You must consciously resist reverse delegation and be aware that employees are always trying to delegate the job back to you. They use a series of techniques to which you can become a victim if you are not careful. One of the ways that an employee delegates a task back to you is by bringing you a problem and asking you to solve it. They ask, “Can you take care of this task for me, or get me this information?” Since you are the boss, and obviously more competent and knowledgeable than they are, you agree to take care of that for them and get it back to them as quickly as possible. But then something else comes up, and it goes onto your stack and gets buried among your other responsibilities.

The Monkey is Now on Your Back
Here is the rule: the person who has the responsibility for the next step in the job is the one who is responsible. When your staff member asks you to do something, the doing of which determines them doing their job, they have delegated the task back to you. The monkey is now on your back. Soon, your staff member will be coming by to supervise you and to ask you how things are going. You will now be working for the person who was working for you. You will be promising and assuring them that you will get their job done and back to them as quickly as possible. The way to resist reverse delegation is to refuse to take the task back, once you have assigned it. When they ask you to do something, you instead ask, “What do you think we should do?” Whatever they suggest, you can comment upon or agree, but whatever it is, you pass it back to them so they can get on with their job.

Resist Your Natural Tendencies
The natural tendency in working is to go from managing back to operating. Since you go to where you are today by doing a good job on your way up, whenever you find yourself under pressure, your natural tendency is to go back to doing what you were doing before that got you to where you are today. You must fight this tendency or you will soon find yourself at the bottom of the food chain, being delegated to by the different members of your staff. The definition of a good manager is a person who “gets things done through others.” Your job is to make sure that other people do the job correctly, rather than going back and doing it yourself. Push on to others www.GeeWhizCE.com Page 30 of 86

everything that can possibly be done by them. Once you have delegated and assigned a task, don’t take it back.

Teach and Train Others
Take the time to train and to teach your subordinates and others how to do their job. The more you train them, the more you build their confidence so that you can delegate even more tasks to them. Teaching other people how to do a job gives you a high “return on energy.” Once you have taught someone how to do a part of your work, you can always delegate and free yourself up for other work that pays you a higher hourly rate.

Focus on Clarity
The major problem and time waster in communication, and working with others, is fuzzy understanding. The antidote to fuzzy understanding, one of the greatest time management tools of all, is clarity. Clarity is only achieved through repetition, discussion, feedback and agreement. Take the time to learn how to be a good communicator. This will pay off in tremendous time savings and will increase your effectiveness in every area of your life and work.

MANAGING MULTI-TASK JOBS
Even simple tasks like planning a party, or producing a brochure or newsletter, require the ability to plan multiple tasks. This type of planning and organizing is one of the core skills of time management. Your ability to put together and work with a team of people on a project is the most important skill for advancement in your work.

A Learnable Skill
Fortunately, project management is a learnable skill, like riding a bicycle. It can be divided into a series of steps, each of which you can master, one at a time.

1. Start with the End in Mind
In managing any project, you begin by defining the ideal desired result of the project. What exactly are you trying to accomplish? What will the project look like if it is a complete success? Start from the successful completion, the ideal desired result, written down and clarified on paper, and work back to the beginning. Do this in conjunction with the team members involved whenever possible. How will you be able to tell if you have completed this project successfully? This step, of thinking through and defining your ideal end result, is one of the most valuable of all mental and physical planning tools for any project.

2. Start at the Beginning
Once you are clear about your desired result, you then start from the beginning and determine what you are going to have to do to get from where you are to the completion of this project, on schedule, and on budget. Determine a specific deadline or target to aim at. Make sure that it is realistic and achievable.

3. Assemble the Team
Bring together all the people whose contributions will be necessary for the success of the project. Sometimes you need to assemble the team before you can even decide upon the ideal result and the schedule. Remember that people are everything. Take ample time to think carefully about the people who are going to be the team members. Fully 95% of success in management is selection. 95% of everything that you accomplish as a leader will be determined by your ability to select the people who are going to help you to do the work. If you make the mistake of selecting poor team members, you will almost invariably find it more difficult to achieve the goals that you have set for yourself. Focus on the people before the task. Remember that because all productivity comes from people; the people are the most important ingredient.

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4. Share the Ownership
I nstill ownership of the project in the team members by sharing the job with them. There is a direct relationship between how much a person feels a sense of ownership for the job and how committed he or she is to making the project a success. One of the key jobs of leadership is to instill this feeling of ownership in each member of the team, so that each person feels personally responsible for the accomplishment of the overall project. You accomplish this by discussing every detail of the project with the people who are expected to carry it out.

5. Develop a Shared Vision
Develop a “shared vision.” A shared vision is an ideal future picture of success that everyone buys into. How do you develop a shared vision? You sit down with the members of your team and work with them to answer the question, “What are we trying to accomplish?” You encourage everyone to contribute, to visualize and imagine the ideal outcome or desired result of the project. Once this vision is clear and shared by everybody, you move onto the development of “shared plans” to achieve the vision.

6. Shared Plans
Create “shared plans” with the members of the team. These plans are essential to successful project completion. This step requires that everyone work together to discuss and develop the plans. Plans include the stepby-step activities that will be necessary to complete the project. Everyone knows what has to be done, and even more important, everyone knows what each team member is supposed to do. The more time you spend planning with the members of your team in the early stages, the more committed and creative they will be in accomplishing the task once you get started.

7. Set Schedules and Deadlines
Once you have a shared vision and shared plans, and everyone knows exactly what is to be done, and what the ideal result will look like, the next step is for you to set a deadline for completion based on the consensus of your team. You may require sub-deadlines as well. Achieving consensus is extremely important in building a peak performing team. Ask people how long they think it will take to complete each part of the task, and to complete the task overall. As the result of discussion and exchange, everyone should agree that the project can and will be completed by a certain time. One of the biggest mistakes in project management occurs when the project leader sets a date or deadline that is arbitrary and with which the team members do not agree. In each case where this happens, problems arise and the deadline is not met. If the deadline is met, it is usually so full of mistakes and problems that it would have been much better to have agreed on a reasonable deadline before you began. Set your deadlines based on the consensus of your team, or even a majority decision, if that works for you. Get everyone to agree on the timing and scheduling for each job or task that they will be expected to contribute to the overall project.

8. List Everything That Must Be Done
List every task, function and activity that must be completed, right down to the smallest job. The more that you can break the project down into individual jobs and tasks, the easier it is for you to plan, organize, supervise, delegate, coordinate and get the project finished on time.

9. Identify the Information You Will Require
Identify any additional information that you will require to complete the project. List the acquisition of the information as a separate task and assign it or delegate it specifically to one of the team members. Set a deadline. Remember, a decision without a deadline is merely a meaningless discussion. Nothing gets done. www.GeeWhizCE.com Page 32 of 86

10. Identify the Limiting Factor
Determine the limiting step in the completion of the project. What part of the project, what task or activity, determines the speed at which the project can be completed? What part of the task is the bottleneck that sets the speed for everything else? In every project, there is a bottleneck. There is always one task, the achievement of which determines the schedule for everything else. Start off by identifying your limiting step, and then place the alleviating of that constraint as your top priority. Put your most talented and capable people, and even yourself, to work on that task. Nothing can be done until that job is done first.

11. Organize the Project
Organize the different parts of the project in two ways: sequential tasks and parallel tasks. You organize by sequence when you determine which jobs must be done before other jobs can be done, with each task in order. Sequential organization is necessary where a particular task requires that another task be completed before it can be started. In almost every case, before you do anything, you have to do something else first. Organize the task sequentially with a logical process of activities from beginning through to the end of the project. The second way to organize the task is parallel. Parallel activities exist when more than one task can be done at the same time. Two or more people can be working on two or three different tasks independently of each other.

A Typical Multi-Task Job
For example, let us imagine that you are going to be renting and moving to a new building. The limiting factor or constraint is the decision on the space that you are going to rent, the determination of the exact address and the signing of the necessary rental or lease documents. Once the location has been determined and secured, several other tasks can be done both sequentially and in parallel. Some sequential tasks are the determining of the exact requirement for furniture and fixtures in the new offices, the packing up of the old offices, the arranging for a moving company to transfer the furniture, and the actual moving in. Some parallel activities could be the arranging for new telephones, the ordering of new stationery, the informing of customers, vendors and suppliers of the new address, and other activities that can be done independently of each other.

12. Think on Paper
Create or acquire a simple project management form. Fortunately, because of the recognized importance of project management, there are numerous books, workbooks, planning forms and computer-based project management systems. They can be used for projects as simple as an office birthday party and as complex as the building of a shopping center or football stadium. The simplest model is something that you can draw by hand and which you can carry in your mind as a template for any project that you become responsible for in the future. Start with a blank sheet of paper. Graph paper or lined paper is ideal. Down the left hand side of the paper, you list every single task that has to be accomplished, up to and including the completion of the project, in the order that the tasks have to be done. Across the top of the page, you write the dates of completion for each phase of the project. The times listed across the top may be in days, weeks, months or even years. You may have one column for each week, or one column for each month. If it is a short-term project, you may have a column for each day, with specific tasks to be completed every 24 hours. www.GeeWhizCE.com Page 33 of 86

13. Delegate Responsibilities and Deadlines
Once you have the project planned, the team assembled and every task delineated and laid out in the order in which it must be completed, you then delegate each task with a specific deadline. Build a “fudge factor” into your schedules and aim for the completion of each task comfortably before the deadline. The more important the final date, the more important it is that you build in a cushion of time to assure that the project is completed on time. Most people aim to finish a project at least 10% of the time before it is due. If it is a project that takes three weeks, and must be completed by Friday, two weeks from today, set a goal to have the entire project complete by Wednesday, or even Tuesday of that week. Expect that there will be last-minute mistakes, unexpected setbacks and unavoidable delays. This is the mark of the superior executive. It is amazing how many of the great events of history, the great battles in the wars that determined the fate of empires, the great turning points in human life, that have failed because a single person did not build in that little bit of extra time that was necessary to assure that everything worked properly. Don’t let this happen to you.

14. Practice Crisis Anticipation
One of the most important parts of project management is called “crisis anticipation.” This is what you do when you study the overall project and ask, “What can possibly go wrong?” Murphy’s Laws were developed by people who worked on projects of all kinds. These laws say, “Whatever can possibly go wrong, will go wrong. And of all the things that can possibly can go wrong, the one thing that will go wrong will be the worst possible thing, at the worst possible time, and cause the most amount of money.” Another of Murphy’s Laws is that, “Everything takes longer than you expect.” Still another is that “Everything costs more than you budget for.” The key to crisis anticipation is to think through in advance the different delays and setbacks that can possibly knock the project off schedule. Where could you have an obstacle or setback that would threaten the successful completion of the project? Once you have determined the worst possible thing that can happen, make sure that it doesn’t happen. Provide against it in advance.

15. Develop a Plan B
D evelop alternative courses of action. Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck, the great European statesman, who assembled the many principalities of Germany into a single state, was famous for his diplomatic skills. No matter what happened, he always seemed to have a detailed backup plan as an alternative. This became known as the “Bismarck Plan” or “Plan B.” You should always have a Plan B as well. You should always imagine that something unexpected will happen and that you will have to do something completely different from what you set out to do. The more time that you take to develop a fully functioning alternative, the greater strength and resilience you will have, no matter what happens.

Continually Develop Options
In life, you are only as free as your options. You are only as free as your well-developed alternatives. If you do not have options or alternatives already developed, you may find yourself trapped into a single course of action. If something goes wrong with that plan or course of action, you can be in serious trouble. Many of the greatest successes in history were made possible because the person in charge had taken the time to think through what might possibly go wrong, and then made provisions against it. When it did go wrong, he was ready with a second plan. It is important that you never trust to luck when you plan a project. Hope is not a strategy. Remember the words of Napoleon, when he was asked if he believed in luck. He said, “Yes, I believe in luck. I believe in bad luck. And I believe that I will always have it, so I plan accordingly.” www.GeeWhizCE.com Page 34 of 86

Four Problems to Avoid
There are four main problems in project management. Each of them can be avoided by taking the time to think carefully before embarking on a new project.

1. Not Allowing Enough Time
The first is not allowing enough time to complete a multi-task job. This is the primary reason why projects fail and people’s careers get sidetracked or torpedoed. They hope for the best, trust to luck and don’t allow a sufficient cushion of time to complete every step of the project. As a result, the project fails.

2. Assuming the Best
The second problem is assuming that everything will work out all right. As Alex McKenzie said, “Errant assumptions lie at the root of every failure.” Never assume that everything will work out all right. Assume that you are going to have problems. Allow yourself sufficient time and resources to solve those problems and keep the project on schedule.

3. Rushing at the End
The third problem in project management is when the project team ends up rushing at the end. When you rush to complete a project, because you have run out of time or money, you almost invariably make mistakes and do poor quality work that you have to go back and correct later. It actually takes less time to finish a project correctly if you work at it slowly and steadily and do it properly in the first place.

4. Trying to Do Several Things at Once
The fourth problem in project management is trying to do several things at once, and ending up doing nothing well. You either take on too many responsibilities yourself, or you assign too many responsibilities to other people. In either case, various parts of the project fall through the cracks and sometimes all the effort is lost. Do things one at a time, and do each thing well before moving to the next task.

Plan Your Projects Visually
One of the most powerful methods for designing and managing a project is called “Storyboarding. ” It was originally developed by the Walt Disney Corporation to plan cartoons and movies and was eventually used in every part of the business. In storyboarding, you create a visual image of the project, mounted on the wall, so that everyone can see it and comment on it. You begin with a large corkboard. You then get boxes of pins or thumbtacks and stacks of 3 x 5 and 5 x 8 index cards. Get several felt pens with different colors. You are then ready to begin. Across the top of the board, write the major parts of the project in one or two words, on 5 x 8 index cards, with the colored felt pens. These are very much like the titles of the chapters of a book, and are called “headers.” You may have anywhere from three to 10 different headers as the main parts of the project. Under each of the headers, you place 3 x 5 index cards. You list an individual step in the completion of the task on each of the 3 x 5 cards. When you are finished, you will have created a visual representation of the entire project, showing what needs to be done, and in what order. You can then write the name of the person who is responsible for each of the jobs on the card listing the job. With this layout, you can move headers and job descriptions around. You can change their order and schedule. You can change the person who is responsible and the deadline. You can also use storyboarding with a sheet of paper. You can write a series of larger boxes across the top and then write a series of steps in each of those tasks in boxes underneath. The more visual you can make the project, the easier it is for you to see relationships between the various tasks, and to make whatever changes are necessary to www.GeeWhizCE.com Page 35 of 86

assure that you complete the project on time.

Regular Review and Evaluation
The final requirement necessary to excel in project management is to schedule regular review sessions to measure progress, solve problems and reassign responsibilities. In every project, you must inspect what you expect. Once you have decided upon the project team and the project, and you have delegated the different tasks and responsibilities, you must set up a regular schedule to meet and review and discuss how you are doing. No matter how well you plan at the beginning you will receive a continuous flow of feedback that will necessitate regular revision of your plan to make the project come out successfully.

Successful Project Management
There are several factors that make project management successful. The first and most important of these is good communications among the various team members who are responsible for various parts of the project.

1. Clarity Is Essential
The first necessity for good communication is clarity. This means that you say exactly what you mean. You explain what you want done clearly and unambiguously. You never assume understanding. You never assume that the other people or that the other person understands clearly what is said or what is expected of them. You always ask for feedback and double check. Ask the team member to feed back what you have just said in his or her own words. Encourage questions and open discussion. Encourage people to challenge and disagree. The more involved and active people are in discussing the project as it evolves, the more committed they will be to making it successful when it is underway.

2. Consistency Is Important
The next part of good communication is consistency. The team leader must be patient, optimistic, determined and persevering. Being a good project leader requires that you have or develop the best qualities of leadership and managerial excellence. You must keep cool when things go wrong. You must continually remind yourself that if you don’t stay on top of it, it probably won’t get done. If the project is important enough, you must accept complete responsibility for inspecting what you expect. Don’t assume that everything is going according to plan unless you have taken the time to check on it yourself.

3. Deal with Conflict and Poor Performance
Another part of good communication as a team leader is that you must deal with conflict and poor performance in a direct, straightforward manner. If a person does not do the job they have committed to do, you cannot ignore it. You cannot pretend that it is not happening. You cannot hope it will go away. The very best bosses are very demanding when it comes to both deadlines and quality work. You must be the same. Encourage everyone to openly discuss the project and the progress that you are making. If necessary, be prepared to reassign jobs and tasks. Give different jobs to different people. If one person is overloaded and another person seems under-worked, be prepared to reassign the tasks so that everybody feels they can achieve their jobs in an excellent fashion.

4. Develop the Courage of Your Convictions
The fourth quality of good communicators, and the great quality of leadership, is courage. As Winston Churchill said, “Courage is rightly considered the foremost of the virtues, for upon it, all others depend.” The most important type of courage is for you to take full responsibility for the results, and to resolve to persist until the task is www.GeeWhizCE.com Page 36 of 86

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satisfactorily completed.

Not an Easy Skill to Learn
It is not easy to begin to use a systematic project management system if you have not done it in the past. But the development of project management skills will save you more time and do as much or more to advance your career than almost any other skill you can develop. You can use this project management skill at home. You can use it in planning vacations. You can use it in starting and building companies and organizations. You can use it to start your own business, become a successful salesperson, move onto the fast track in your life, and in many other ways. Your ability to plan, organize, manage and complete projects is central to your success and vital to your realizing your full potential in life, work and leadership. Fortunately, project management is a learnable skill that you can master with practice and determination. There are no limits.

THE ART OF DELEGATION
“No man is an island.” There might be some people who disagree with this saying, thinking that they can live happily by themselves and there’s no need for anybody else’s help. While some may adopt the philosophy “If you want to do it right, you got to do it yourself,” we still need other people’s help sooner or later. And when it comes to effective time management, delegating or assigning tasks to others is a must. You might think that doing it all yourself would make you a hero. Nope, it would only eat up a lot more of your time – time you could spend in doing other things that could make you feel more satisfied or accomplished. Also, who would like to do things they don’t enjoy? You only live once, so make the most of it. What are the things you can delegate to others? 1. Customer support 2. Cleaning the house 3. Grocery shopping 4. Bathing your pets 5. Cooking 6. Fixing broken tools and equipment 7. Mowing the lawn 8. Wedding arrangements 9. Gift-wrapping 10. Catering 11. Ghostwriting 12. Web designing There are many unemployed people who would be willing to do the jobs for you, if the price is right. But how do you determine if it’s really worth it to hire someone else in exchange for your hard-earned money? Write down the more enjoyable or more satisfying things that you can do, as a result of not engaging in tasks you don’t enjoy. I believe you’ll live a more fulfilling life by shedding out a few dollars in exchange for some valuable free time. After all, money can be replaced anytime, but lost time can never be reclaimed. 37

GOALS AND TIME MANAGEMENT
Goals are necessary to give you the right motivation. Goal-oriented persons manage their time efficiently. They always think of what they can achieve if they will be able to get on the right track and finish the task in lesser time. Just imagine the oval track in the athletic event. You are there to compete in a running competition. As an athlete, you are to define success in a matter of seconds. For you to win, think of the finish line and the track on which you have to run. You have to see the lines that give you the idea of your track, your direction. You have to be at the end of the path in less time in order to win. You should be aware of your goals and you should know the right ways to achieve them. Goals are motivational tools or ideas that will give you the zest to start the task or duty with vibrant enthusiasm. This will give you the idea on how to execute a task and overcome challenges in a time frame that you would also be formulating. Goals must be concrete or specific, measurable within a time frame, realistic, attainable, and relevant. These are the markers of success that will give you the idea of your future and of what you want. Goals are based on your present conditions and resources; however, you must increase your resources or change the conditions within a given time to attain your desired result. A goal is also a projection, a way of directing your thoughts toward what you foresee as success. It is a mind channel; therefore, you should be aware of the power of the mind and of what you believe you can do with the aid of positive thinking. How to do it will be the next step; but on your way to success, it would be necessary to set things in order, to make some priorities and plans, and to maintain a positive outlook. Here are some goals that you can employ in reaching your desired scenarios in less time: 1. Motivational Goals – These goals help in enervating your moves and in encouraging you to be good in whatever you do. Motivational goals are imaginary pictures or moments that you see yourself as, like becoming rich or famous after some years of work and struggle. You may also think of yourself based on social conditions like leading a nation for a better future, becoming a good and patriotic citizen, or anything that you wish to achieve in terms of your status in life. A person is motivated by how he defines the future, or by what he wishes to accomplish in life. Motivational goals are not necessarily the specific conditions that you would want to reach in a particular time. These are scenarios that give you the encouragement to work hard and to waste no time in achieving what you want. Motivational goals are what define you as a person, including your personality and philosophy in life, as well as your vision towards the future. Motivational goals will encourage you to persevere and reach for your dreams. 2. Projected Goals – These goals are the ones that you wish to achieve in less time or within a given period. The result of your plan depends on your projected output. You will reach what you want provided that you have created the right conditions to reach the end of that path. Projection is a way of estimating the result of your plan like your projected income after a year from the start of your business, the projected result of your thesis or study, or your plans after five years of marriage. These are similar to motivational goals. However, these goals are what you wish to achieve so you can create conditions to reach them. Examples of projected goals are enumerated below:

Perceptual Goal: Am I optimistic or pessimistic in perceiving ideas or situations? Do I get upset by people or by things that do not meet my expectations? Do I grumble or look forward after a failure or wretched situation? Professional Goal: What is my notion of success and how do I get there? Educational Goal: What do I want to learn and why should I learn them? What are the things, information, and skills that I have to acquire in order to excel and become a productive citizen?
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Familial Goal: What is my concept of home and how do I define my family? Am I aware of my lineage and my goal for my family? How do I envision myself as part of my family, and my extended family? How do I want them to envision me? Financial Goal: What are my financial expectations? Do I want to become rich? Have an affluent Lifestyle? Physical Fitness Goal: What do I want to become, physically speaking? What are my hobbies or preferred sports? Do I wish to compete in athletic events and how do I see myself doing it? Recreational Goal: How do I want to enjoy my life? Public Service Goal:
How can I make this a better world or a more humanly society? 3. Concrete Goals – These are parts of your plans and what you wish to achieve realistically. Concrete goals are what’s written in your “what to do list” or noted in your planner or calendar. Concrete goals must be the result of your feasibility study or business plan. It would be better if you always set some goals in planning your activities or in projecting your future. Goals are meant to encourage you in reaching something. But sometimes, goals can be frustrating especially when failures start to enter into the picture. You should not waste time indulging in low-motivational factors such as frustration, low-self esteem, confusion, and anxiety. Instead, you should focus your attention on how you can learn and benefit from such failures. Goals are set to help you encourage yourself. Goals should be based on your capacity and should be reflected by your strengths and weaknesses. These aims should also be realistic and should be based on your immediate concerns. As what Abraham Maslow had elucidated in Psychology, behaviors are defined by what we consider as “hierarchy of needs” or pyramidal structures in which we are predisposed to strive with. There are basic needs like food, shelter and material things that are necessary for survival. This should be met in order to get into the next level, which includes social interactions and the need for love and belongingness. On top of this pyramid is the need for “self-actualization” or the fulfillment of a person after meeting the more basic needs in life. Along with this is the assessment of one's spirituality, the higher definition of success, like personal happiness and higher forms of gratification in line with creativity. Goals should also be set according to the proper way to adjust in case you do not meet your expectations. If you’re not able to reach what you initially desired for the first time, try looking at your aim and modify it. For example, you want to buy a sports car from your savings and additional compensation because you are really working hard for such reward. However, during the middle of the year, you learned that you need to spend your money on some very important expenses, like an increased payment for the amortization of your housing loan or an unexpected expenditure. In order to veer away from frustration, what you can do is either delay the buying of your car until you can save the right amount or buy a car with whatever money you have left. Never let frustration confuse you or give you the terrible feeling of not achieving what you want. Just in case you decided to buy the car by having another loan from the bank, just imagine the additional money you have to earn to pay all your bills. This would only derail you from your initial agenda. Remember that a wise man is patient with his purse and will never spend a dime for stone. Other things that you should remember in setting goals include: 39

1. Your priorities in life and their order. 2. Your strengths and weaknesses in doing things or in executing actions. 3. Your personality and the things that should be improved in meeting the demands of your plans. 4. Your plans for other people, especially for your love ones that will give you a sense of fulfillment and personal happiness. 5. Your past achievements that will pump-up more encouraging spirit in your next struggles. Keep in mind that goals are guideposts but not necessarily the exact result of what you have in mind for your plans. Sticking with your goals and not adjusting to the changes will give you time-wasting frustrations. A right move would be recognizing the changes and moving on to reach your aims amidst any unexpected circumstances. Another part of motivational aspect in efficient time usage would be to avoid procrastination. This kind of negative virtue is a result of the loss of motivation because of many factors that surround your work habits and conditions. These include low-self esteem, discouragement from superiors, the absence of concrete rewards or pleasant results, or plainly because of boredom. Procrastination is one big hindrance in achieving your aims or goals. Therefore, you should avoid such feeling or mindset. Here are some basic tips to get away from such negative thought and activity: 1. If you are the type of person who gets easily bored, avoid routines or try to change your daily activities once in a while. These would give you a sense of dynamism and would help you avoid the boredom of familiarity and habit formation. 2. Try to accomplish two boring tasks by alternating each of them. movement to achieve your desired result. They will give you a directional

3. Reward yourself after doing a very difficult task or a very boring activity, like encoding a private manuscript or filing a card catalog cabinet. You may also think of the reward you will be getting after finishing such activity either in concrete or abstract terms. 4. In case you are working on a very uninteresting task along with your other activities, make sure to take note of this by writing it down and posting it at your workstation or at your cubicle. By doing this, you would be reminded of the task even when you’re not interested to do it initially. 5. Enjoy your work with what motivates you like listening to classical music or going out once in a while to see the natural scenery. 6. Never put pressure in your mind. This will just increase your frustration level. 7. Talk about your work with your colleague and think about the happiness you feel inside the office. By becoming cheerful and positive, you not only imbibe good mood but also motivate others and yourself to work hard. 8. Avoid too much caffeine or sweet foods during pressured moments. They will give you too much energy level that can bring your anxiety level and worries up. However, during a relaxed and comfortable situation, you may sip your favorite coffee and dip your spoon on the luscious caramel-chocolate cake in a café where you can enjoy time in a relaxed ambiance, especially if you have just finished a very long and challenging day at work.

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PLANNING AND TIME MANAGEMENT
Planning means preparing yourself with theories, ideas and concepts that will lead you in executing your task. A carefully crafted planning procedure doesn’t waste time and effort. Planning involves management of resources and tracking down the logical steps in executing a task or project. This also involves creativity and patience since you would not want to start with an empty hand or pocket. Now that you are ready and energetic about your plans, your next step would be to manage your time as you execute your plans. In this case, you must have effective ways to manage time. Your strategies to work with your plan should follow logical, relevant, and intelligent moves that will make you adjust with the changes and flux of time. A good plan is not enough unless it is executed well. You will just end up with a good plan and not with the best result if you will just keep on reading and re-reading your plans. In the strategies of time management, you should: 1. Know your strengths and weaknesses. 2. Try to veer away from complications. 3. Avoid mental contradictions. These three important aspects will help you know your best moves. By looking at your strengths and weaknesses as an individual, you would also know what to avoid (like procrastination, boredom, laziness, low selfesteem) and what to bank on (creativity, flexibility, or cheerfulness). You would also work with your best effort because you want to finish the said task and succeed. By knowing yourself, you would also know how to adjust during trials and testing. Make things simple. This doesn’t mean you can’t think of complicated matters over the period of planning or during the execution of your plans. Simplicity means that you reduce complication as much as possible. In making your calendar of activities or time frame, do not include irrelevant agenda or unnecessary tasks. Do not put too many variables in your plans. Just think of the needed resources. Finally, think of ways of achieving your goals without too many directions or strategies. Just focus on what you think is the most effective way in the execution of your work plan. You are your own enemy. Mental contradictions are also called cognitive dissonance. This means that if you think of your goals or aims, and something bad happens which might cause some delays or change of plans, do not pressure yourself with opposing poles of thoughts. In other words, remove anxiety from your mind. There are ideal scenarios in your mind (like remodeling your house during your given vacation leave and spending a week with a newly refurbished house). But there are realities to face (Because of the delay of materials, a one week delay was incurred and you weren’t able to enjoy the pleasant rest period you had envisioned). In this case, don’t grumble and complain. Instead, think of the future, or the succeeding days that you can have to extend your plan of rest and recreation. Lessen the cognitive dissonance or mental contradiction that you would feel every time a problem or hindrance comes across your desired path. This will only muddle your thoughts and make you less energetic because of dissatisfactions. Often, this kind of displeasure will lead you nowhere and will eat up your time in reaching your necessary objectives. Now after keeping these in mind, you are now ready to execute your plan. A plan, especially made for a targeted result in an organization or as a personal aim (like saving some money or thinking of an activity during the summer), should be written down to achieve concrete actions. Never underestimate the value of planning because it is the start of the creation of strategies in executing your moves to achieve what you envision to accomplish. A long-term plan involves a lifetime endeavor or a long-range projection. This can be part of an individual’s journey towards his notion of success. This might include ambitions, the kind of life a person wants, or the 41

philosophy which defines a person’s meaning of success. Long-term plans can also be part of the bigger plans a society would create to better organize human existence. It can also take a longer period of time and necessitates a lot of changes. On the other hand, a short-term or short-range plan involves a plan for tomorrow, for the week, for the month, or for the year. This is a personal plan that manifests the shortness of time or the limitations of a day or week. Short-term planning needs a lot of skills in balancing between tasks or duties that require time. It also involves insight in the right usage of resources and its relationship with time, such as the availability of the required supplies or the delays in communicating messages. There are ways to create a sound plan, both simple and complex. Here are some of the ways: 1. The use of the calendar should be maximized. Calendars can help you plan for things you will be doing in the future. Make sure that in your house, in your office desk, your wallet, or through your gadgets, you are constantly aware of important dates and schedules. 2. Use organizers and day trackers: Similar to a calendar is an organizer or pocket diary where you can write your important activities or agenda for the day, week, or month. Use this tool efficiently and you would have no hassle managing your schedule. Remember, these were made for the purpose of being used, and not to be stored on some dark, dank area of your house. 3. Highly sophisticated electronic organizers such as Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) can give you more comfort and efficiency in managing your schedule. You can use these gadgets to give you details of your plans or important dates to remember without the hassle of turning the pages or writing it down with a pen. PDAs are designed to give you the most logical and modern method of locating your data and organizing them to create better timetables and goal projections. 4. Make a list of agenda: A “What to Do List” is one simple way of planning your day in a very timely organized manner. You can write down your planned activities for tomorrow especially if you have to do various tasks in one day. You can also keep this list as an initial way of tracking down your activity until you can create your own mental note or a list of desired activities inside your mind for simple undertakings. However, for bigger and more complicated agendas, it would be better if you have your small notebook or PDA where you can store a list of what you need to do or finish at a particular point in time.

Feasibility Studies
This kind of planning involves technical details and a lot of logical questions regarding a projected plan. Business establishments, organizational developments, and personal studies involve a kind of study or plan that will create timetables, projections, and strategies to be employed in getting the conclusive result of an activity or endeavor. This kind of planning requires a lot of preparation and critical inquiry. However, feasibility studies can also be employed in creating simple projections like the possibility of earning or saving money because of some available business opportunities. Also, a simplified feasibility study would be helpful in creating an annual career plan that involves an array of achievement possibilities in one year. An example of this is working while studying (or finishing a graduate degree) at the same time enjoying some other activities or engaging in some social organization. An annual plan for all of these could be a skeletal framework that will remind you of your priorities in life. In making plans, you have to remember important key points that will help you become a better organizer of resources and time. Here are some key elements in strategic planning. 1. Productivity – Always remember that in your move to success, there should always be a clear or concrete result. Though the result won’t always be in your favor, just be reminded that you are doing something because you want to achieve something. Productivity also means that you are not wasting time or effort in doing something or as you move on with your plans. You are gaining something. You are moving forward. In making business plans, you 42

should consider the result of your effort and the limitations and eventual expansion of your resources. Productivity as a key should follow the rule that “there’s no day but today” in getting what you want or keeping yourself on track. 2. Logical Decisions – A plan should be empirically based, meaning you are not basing your assumptions on fantasy (becoming a millionaire after a month or so of working, or getting the dream house without any concrete move or action). The rule of logic also follows the rule of intelligent decision-making. You are to minimize mistakes with the use of logic and step-by-step analysis of things and situations. You must base your decisions after realizing the pros and cons. Don't make hasty decisions. Logical steps create logical results, and these results are efficiently following the rules of time. Following the process will keep you definitely on time to reach your goals. 3. Resources – The availability of your resources may affect the execution of your plan. In estimating the time frame, you need to get to the end of it all. Good managers are insightful about the limited conditions due to the limited quantity of materials, manpower, and most importantly time. But because there are expected limitations, a good plan can help an individual who is expecting these possible problems or scenarios prepare better. Time, though not a basic resource, is a factor itself that affects the availability of the said requirements. For example, delays in delivery or the absence of a particular reference material would mean a lot of things for an entrepreneurial venture. To manage this situation effectively, a good estimate or an initial expectation would cause less panic on the part of the people involved in the operation. Finally, your plans are just plans and they are not the products of your achievement until you begin taking actions. Moreover, your plans should be flexible and should not be a source of anxiety or frustration in case you do not meet your set of expectations.

The Use of Action Plans
The use of action plans is different from making a “what to do list” since in the latter, you are just making a list of what to do for a particular task or project. You must give focus on what you need to do in a period of time to reach for your aim. Action plans will give you concentration and a clear line on where you would start and how you would utilize your effort/energy to become an achiever. In making an action plan consider the following: 1. Go back to your goals, what are your objectives? 2. Go back to your strategies, how will you do it? 3. What are the most logical ways of doing your tasks or plans? What are the points between A and Z? 4. How will you do you plans within a period of time? One day, a week, a month or a year? How realistic are you in getting the desired result? The most important and valuable insight of an action plan as a strategy or tool for time management is how it gives you focus and motivation in finishing your task in less time. It will also give you an organized feeling of finishing a project. You need the list of your possible moves and the time frame that will require you to achieve such actions. For example, if you are making plans and you are still confused on how to execute your theoretical framework, try solving the basics first. In organizing an event, you may compartmentalize the different sets of tasks that need to be finished within a period of time. List down the necessary actions you need to do on each of the defined tasks. Then try to picture the situation in a more general manner and you would realize that you are actually defining the blueprints of your move, and therefore becoming more organized in your attempt to achieve success. Remember to make plans in every important aspect that you do, either for complicated projects or mundane activities. Just keep in mind that you are here for a purpose and that is to be positive as much as possible, everyday of the week, every minute of every hour. Mental plans will give you a feeling of security especially in facing scenarios like meeting new people or your boss or your parents-in-law. However, do not become slaves of your plan since this will make you obsessive and anxious. Just make sure that if your plan doesn't work or you are not able to achieve your expectations, go for your next move. The more choices you have, the better planner you are. 43

Scenario: You feel unmotivated because every move you make seems futile. You think that you are not getting any younger and your achievements are as tall as the newly cut grass of your lawn. You don't seem to be getting anywhere, you are a floating ship and your sail is broken. You feel sick and tired of your routine inside the office. You feel that time does not cooperate with you since it became wicked, forcing you to finish things and tasks beyond schedule or boring you with a slow melting trepidation.
Solution: Now what you can do is scrap this kind of life and start with a leap of faith by changing your destiny. You can start this by getting a pencil and a paper and listing down your past and present, and highlighting what you want in the future. Motivate yourself with aims that will give your heart a different and cheerful smile. Remove the dread by having positive projection and by thinking of what you want as an individual, as part of your family, friends, and society. Write the word SUCCESS in bold letters and take action!

ORGANIZING AND TIME MANAGEMENT
After carefully laying out your plans, you have to work with the execution using an organized structure to efficiently manage time. Time Management tools involve a lot of organizational aspects that limit and control the flow of resources. A suggested organizational method you can do to manage your time and to entail great results is by using Time Estimates. First you need to know where your time goes or how you would like to spend the rest of your day. If you work in an office, calculate how much time you spend in your office and at home. Time estimates will give you the idea of your workflow, your efficiency in doing work, and your time to relax and rest. For other time estimates, try considering these: 1. Time of Work – The regular workload for most people is 8 hours, more or less. You have to maximize your time and energy during this productive period. Work time should also follow regulation that is created to sustain a harmonious atmosphere for both employees and employers. 2. Personal time – This is the time in which an individual can have personal space and time for reflection. This can be either a time to contemplate or rest for a while (during coffee breaks, a prayer, or cigarette break). Personal time can be short but it is very meaningful for an individual who is seeking refuge and silence after a day of hustle and bustle. This is also a moment of reflecting the time spent on other things like work and other activities. 3. Interaction moments – These are times spent talking with colleagues, friends, relatives, and loved ones about relationships, professional matters, personal things, or anything that concerns the speaker and the listener. Usually we become unconscious on the time spent for this activity but we should be aware of the many things learned from interaction and socialization. 4. Time for Relaxation and Recreation – This is the time when you reward yourself after spending so many hours and days at work. This is a time to feel free and to enjoy the moments of life. You can organize your time by creating a daily agenda and by checking your agenda at the end of each day to track down your schedule on a daily basis. Other suggestions include: 1. Keep an activity log in which all your activities, either major or minor, can be written down and later on, be analyzed by you. You would see that you have a remarkable capacity to do so many things or, on the opposite side, there are so many things that you have not done because of tardiness. This would also help you become more aware of your strengths and your weaknesses. You can also analyze your period of alertness and productivity through this activity log. 2. Track-down your idle moments or your periods of tardiness. For example, know what might have been the cause of the delay of finishing tasks such as writing a report or going to your appointment. This way, you would also know your weaknesses when it comes to motivation and goal setting. 44

3. Know your personal histories, your family history, and learning insights from the past. This way, you would recognize the importance of time and how it has affected your development as an individual or as part of your family or society. 4. You may also compare your work efficiency with the work style of others. But this should not frustrate you if you see that others leave you behind. Contrary to this, you should be motivated to excel or to improve your condition if you see that you are not working as fast or as efficient as they are.

Importance of Filing
Some people think that filing is a complete waste of time. The opposite is true. The benefits of filing far outweigh the inconveniences of engaging in such task. The importance of filing lies in the fact that you don’t have to wade through lots of stuffs when you’re looking for a particular item. You’ll know exactly where it is located. Here are some super tactics for organized filing. 1. Get colorful. Buy folders of different colors, each color representing a specific category. For example: green folder is for bank accounts, blue folder is for health records, red folder is for utility receipts, and so on. You may even put labels of various colors in every folder. Let’s say in the bank accounts folder, you can put a label colored brown for one bank, then orange for the other bank. 2. Go through all your stuffs and just keep the things you need. People sometimes keep things that they don’t even need or that they don’t find any value in. Give to your relatives or to charity your old clothes that are now too small for you to wear. This applies to your other things. Upon checking an item, just ask yourself, “Will I still find use for this thing in the future?” If the answer is “No,” then give it away or dispose of it. Then properly organize and file whatever is left. 3. Create a unique folder for each day of the month. This may be a little time-consuming at first; but once you’re done, you have a very efficient system for organizing and scheduling your tasks. The way it works: Create a folder for the 1st day of the month, 2nd day, 3rd day, and so forth. After having 31 folders (representing the maximum number of days in a given month), you are now ready to utilize this tactic. Let’s say your credit card bill arrives on the 12th of June, but it won’t be due until the 20th. You may put it in the Day 20 folder, or Day 19 (to give you some leeway). By using this method, it would be hard for you to miss out on any important date or occasion.

Deduction and Induction
There are ways to organize sets of ideas. Like in a story or a narrative, one can look for the conclusion in the end or sometimes, as most flashback stories would narrate, you can go backward. This is also true in the process of Deductive and Inductive Logic. You could either start from Generalization to Specific details in the process of Deduction. You may create your hypothesis first like: “Earning more in three years through small business ventures with close friends is possible if…” and giving specific details like how to do it or what should be done to follow the organized pattern towards a successful conclusion. On the other hand, Inductive Logic may involve specific details first (like what are the factors that lead to bankruptcy) to form a general conclusion or an overall analysis. In creating an organized strategy to manage time, you can also employ the deductive and inductive way of projecting ideas or concepts. To further concretize these points here are some situations, which use both deduction and induction in the process of calculating time.

Deduction:
 At the grocery, when buying things, you might consider the needs of your family, your own needs, your budget, or your general preference in choosing items. It would also be helpful if you prepare a shopping list. On the other hand, you may also think of the menu you are about to cook for the whole week and from this, you can create 45

your shopping list. This way, you are not only saving time spent in the grocery but you may also estimate your money for such expenses.  During business meetings or formal negotiations, the objectives agreed by both parties should be the guiding principle in knowing what to discuss and in what order. In negotiating something, goals or conclusive statements like “a successful bargaining agreement” would be the necessary end that will condition the creation of means or moves.  In writing a book, one would have a general idea of the story and the flow of the narrative.

 In preparing for a party, one would be wary of the theme or the desired atmosphere that the organizer had thought of.

Induction:
 In some research work for an unknown knowledge or conclusion, the researcher has to look for evidences or facts that will give conclusive results.  Planning for a grand vacation might have no conclusions yet but during the preparation or the actual trip, a person may experience a lot of different moments, which can contribute to a memorable vacation or a regrettable one.  To make architectural plans, much specific details should be considered (though this can also be done using a general theme or conclusion). The final plan is based on the availability of the resources, the time frame on which the house or structure should be built, and other factors that are involved in the construction.  In solving some problems, you have to know the different factors, which might have been the cause of the dilemma. There are many things to think of in solving difficult situations but these factors or details would help you create a clear picture about what might have happened and what can be done to resolve conflicts and contradictions. The process of logical reasoning is a good strategy to create and organize plans and execute preparations that you have made. There are more ways to create strategies and these two are just the basic directions that can guide you in finishing your task. You must be creative and flexible in handling the situation and you can base the direction you are following on these two scientifically proven processes. You must intelligently choose from these directions based on carefully crafted ideas to succeed in less time and effort.

THE BENEFITS OF ERGONOMICS
Ergonomics is the organized and scientific study of space and its possible perfect feature for better human management and labor. The use of space to avoid cluttering and pressure is very important in minimizing errors and mistakes that could lead to the disruption of operations during work. Ergonomically crafted office space is better than unplanned or disorganized working scenarios. In making office supplies and machines that aid human work and behavior, the intelligent use of space and human efficiency are considered to better equip highly complicated labor scenarios like big offices and factories, or specialized venues like hospitals, laboratories or even our homes. However, planning the place for work doesn't only give comfortable working conditions but it is also saves time and energy as you engage in different tasks. Organized space can lead to a more organized flow of work and the production of better products and services. On the other hand, it would also help an individual in avoiding pressures, mistakes, and obstacles from unfit spaces and conditions. Here are some ways to help you create an ergonomically better working space and lifestyle:

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1. Avoid clutter. Neatness doesn't only give an impression of human cleanliness but it also makes a room free from dangers and oversights. It would also be easier to find a tool or a document if things are in their proper order. This would minimize your time looking for such objects. Examples:  Keep a handy box that will serve as your multi-purpose box whenever you pick lost objects in your house. You can use this box after cleaning a room or making an inventory inside your closet. Finally, make sure that those objects you will find go into their proper places. Clean as you go. Maintain the habit of cleanliness, in small ways or in general clean up. You can spend 10 minutes picking up objects or misplaced things. You may involve other people to engage in this habit too. Never put garbage anywhere. More so, don't let these unnecessary objects hide inside your cabinets, closets, or under your bed until they become little monsters of their own. Your table should be your soul. A clean and organized working table will help you become more efficient. Daily tasks or mundane things (like sharpening a pencil or putting staple wires on a stapler) wouldn't become a detraction to more complicated activities like analyzing entries of an accounting book or filing important documents if your table is neat and highly organized. Do not buy bulky appliances or office equipment. Your house or office should have more space for movement and accessibility for things you need for your daily tasks. Always follow the "On the fly" philosophy: Close an open drawer when you pass by it, empty a full wastebasket, pick-up a clothing item lying down on the floor and hang it up, file papers and never let if fly around the house or office space. Check the items if they are arranged according to their proper grouping. A pencil shouldn't be with the knives, spoons and other utensils. Milk cartons shouldn't be near toilet disinfectant. Food and insecticide being together could endanger people’s lives. Compartmentalize, organize each box, label them and arrange them in such a way that no heads will suffer bumps from falling objects.

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2. Keep updated on the ergonomically designed houses or office spaces. You can either hire a professional industrial interior designer to do the job of keeping your space organized, or learn the principles of maintaining an efficient and cozy working environment. 3. Use colors that will motivate or encourage people to become cheerful, happy, and interested with their works. Bright colors can subdue the feeling of loneliness in a vast office space but brightness shouldn't become a distraction or an irritant to the eye. The color gray, on the other hand, commands formality and a savvy environment fit for serious and corporate setting. Verdant or green surrounding relaxes the mind and eyes but these should be balanced by neutral colors such as black or blue to avoid redundant feelings or laxity. 4. Make the temperature just right. Temperature is also a factor that could either irritate or motivate a person to work. Temperature should be just right and the senses must be tempered with pleasant stimuli during work. Make sure that the air conditioner or thermostat of your heater works properly and gives the right temperature according to the change of weather. 5. Use modern gadgets and equipment. They can be of big help in maintaining a functioning working environment. Chairs should be adjustable, with tilting features and rotating bases. Acquire forearm and wrist supports. Fax machines, telephones, computers, modems, printers should be in proper network to help you work with things faster. However, delays and malfunctioning of these gadgets can be a source of headache or time wastage if improper use is frequent or if technology and human conditions are not properly managed. Also, technology should 47

not be a hindrance in creating a better working environment; therefore, you should learn from the basics and should be updated on the current information in the use and maintenance of sophisticated office equipment. These are just some of the ways you can improve your house or your working space. Now if you try to follow some of these, you would notice that your working time would become fast and efficient. You would also become aware of your environment. This would give you the feeling of command and control over your workplace, your life, and the time that surrounds you.

GET ORGANIZED - TIPS AND TOOLS FOR MANAGING TIME, SPACE AND PAPER
BASIC ORGANIZING RULES AND SECRETS
Discover organizing rules
You're about to begin a six-part course on how to get more organized. You'll discover why clutter accumulates and how to avoid it, or at least control it. You'll also figure out ways to manage your time better. By the end of the course, you'll have:       Less clutter in your home Better techniques for handling paper at home and at work A schedule that allows you more time for the things that really matter An organized kitchen and clothes closet to help you be more efficient as you prepare meals or get ready for work Systems in place to organize your family Routines for keeping your home and life more organized

Organizing is a vast topic, of course, and one that's of interest to almost everyone. Who couldn't stand to be more organized? But needs and situations vary: not everyone has children, and not everyone works outside of the home. This course doesn't attempt to address every possible situation; rather, it provides you with general organizing tips and systems that you can apply to your own life, wherever you need the most help. Throughout the course, you'll find tips that show you how to use technology tools -- your laptop or desktop computer, a scanner, your PDA, your Internet connection, and/or commonly used software -- to help organize time, space, and paper. Be sure to complete the assignments and take the quizzes for each lesson. They help reinforce all the organizing secrets you're about to discover. The course message board is a major part of this course, as well. Check in frequently to share questions, comments, and experiences with your instructor and classmates -- and feel free to share organizing tips, goals, challenges, and accomplishments, as well. This first lesson covers basic organizing rules you can use to organize anything. You'll also learn how to control clutter and set up organizing systems. Are you ready to live a more organized life? Let's go!

Two simple rules of organizing
Review the following rules before you try to organize anything. Professional organizers live by these basic concepts which, when put into action, can cure disorganization. Write them down. Post them. Do them until they become second nature to you:   Keep like items together. Store all snack items together in your kitchen or pantry. Place all your casual shoes on one shelf. Keep tape, scissors, and stapler in the same place. Keep things where you use them. Store printer paper next to your printer. Place drinking glasses near the fridge. Store blankets and sheets in the bedrooms. 48

Let's say you're getting ready to organize your family room. Your first step is to collect like items and put them in piles. You might have videos, reading materials, games, and a teacup collection. Your second step is to consider where each category is used. The videos belong near the TV, reading materials near the couch, and games near the coffee table. Instead of having teacups spread throughout the room and on windowsills, display them together on a shelf. Finally, as you go through each item, make a decision. Do you use it? Is it a beautiful decorative item or a cherished memento? If your answer is no to both questions, why are you keeping it? Donate or dispose of the item.

Next up
Why is it so hard to tame clutter?

Tame that clutter
Taming clutter is high on the list of reasons why people want to get organized. Why is it so difficult to live a clutter-free life? Here are five common excuses:      I paid a lot of money for that. You're also wasting money taking care of it. Every item we own costs us in time, upkeep, and space. If you don't use it or love it, cut your losses and let it go. It was a gift. Do you love it? Do you use it? Remember the nice gesture, but donate the item. I might need it someday. Why will you need it? Exactly how will you use it and when? Will you be able to find it when you need it? Don't keep an item just because you have it. It just needs to be fixed. How long has it been in need of repair? Either fix it yourself now, have it fixed this week by a professional, or get rid of it. It's a souvenir. If you don't love it and you have photos or other mementos of the trip or event, get rid of it. There's no rule that says you must keep all 50 seashells you brought home from your first beach vacation.

TIP Scan or use a digital camera to photograph your mementos, then use PowerPoint to create a scrapbook of your daughter’s graduation, or your first Christmas together, or your honeymoon in Hawaii. Use the Notes area to jot down memories while you've still got a tan. The beauty of doing this is that you can easily share your presentation with family and friends -- either on a CD or over the Internet.
The secrets of uncluttering are to work on one small space at a time and to make a decision on each and every item you pick up -- as soon as you pick it up. It's best to save closed spaces, such as drawers and closets, for later. Begin with an area that bothers you most. After you've successfully completed a small area, you'll feel motivated to continue to other areas. Perhaps your entry is always cluttered with backpacks, jackets, keys, and mail. Perhaps your dining room table is filled with paper, toys, and books. Those are good places to start. An item is useful only if you can find it. Otherwise, it's clutter. Before you begin uncluttering, gather some supplies. You'll need trash bags, a pen, sticky notes, and three baskets or bins. Mark the three containers as follows: 1. Elsewhere: This container is for items that belong elsewhere in your home. 2. Donate: This container is for items you'll give to someone else, perhaps to a charity or to your Uncle Charlie. 3. Memento: This container holds the items you keep because they mean so much to you. 49

TIP Assign a designated place (memory box, trunk, or container) for each household member to keep mementos and souvenirs. Next, plan a reward for yourself upon completion of your organizing session. Looking forward to a brisk walk through the woods or a soothing bubble bath can motivate you to complete 45 minutes of organizing. Finally, set a timer for 20 minutes; take a five-minute break, and work for 20 more minutes. TIP Wouldn't it be great to see a reminder pop up on your computer telling you "Take a bubble bath"? Use your Outlook Calendar to schedule your 45-minute organizing session ... and your reward.

Where do I start?
Now you're ready to begin. Start in one corner of your entry or at one end of your table and work your way around. Make a decision on each item as you pick it up. Ask yourself the following questions:     Do I (or others in the household) use this? Is it a decorative item that is beautiful or loved? Is it a treasured memento? Is it a piece of paper I must act on or keep for legal or tax purposes?

If you answer no to all these questions, your solution is simple: get rid of it. If you answer yes, you need to decide where the item should be stored and how. Review the organizing rules and put those simple concepts into play. After you've done this a few times, you'll find it easier to make quick decisions. If you're organizing your cluttered entry, perhaps you need to hang some hooks for backpacks, jackets, and keys. Add an attractive wicker tray for mail. Try a small wipe-off board for quick notes to family members.

Next up
Why systems are so vital.

Set up systems
If you have trouble deciding where an item belongs, it's because you're lacking systems. To keep any home running smoothly, it's necessary to develop routines and systems. You'll learn about specific systems for various aspects of your home and life in upcoming lessons, but for now let's assume that the family room is a huge clutter problem zone in your home. Once you unclutter it, it's time to put a system in place. How do you do that?

TIP Work on one small space at a time.
As you unclutter, make a list of specific problem areas. Maybe your children leave videos everywhere. There are chip bags and candy wrappers scattered throughout the room. Newspapers and magazines are piled on every available surface. Try this system:  Place a large basket in the room to hold reading materials. Then, set a throw-away date. For example, any newspaper two days past its publication date and any magazines more than two months old go in the recycling bin. (You can schedule recurring throw-away dates in your PDA or Outlook Calendar and let your computer remind you when they come due.) Teach household members to use the basket or suffer the consequences. Perhaps you'll throw out any reading materials you find outside the basket or maybe you'll confiscate them. Household members can then earn them back by doing an extra chore. 50

Place a large trashcan in the family room for easy disposal of trash. Put a tray on the coffee table for anything that goes back to the kitchen. Give nightly clutter duty to a family member -- that includes returning the tray to the kitchen and picking up any trash. Finally, analyze the video problem. Is there adequate storage space for videos and games? Maybe an open bin will work better to contain the video clutter on a daily basis. Someone can then have the weekend task of returning videos to the cabinet.

It's easy to set up systems once you think through your clutter challenges. The easier you make it to put things away, the more likely people are to put them away.

TIP Organizing is a process, not a one-time accomplishment. Set up systems to stay organized and keep away clutter.

Next up
How organized are you?

Where are you?
Take this informal quiz to help you decide where you are on the organizational scale. There are no wrong answers -- and no bonus points for especially neat and tidy answers! Have fun with these questions and begin to understand your starting point. 1. How often are you late for work/school, appointments, and social events? a. Never. Never ever without a good reason. b. Only once in awhile when my day gets out of kilter. c. Regularly, and usually for the same reasons. d. Almost every day, all day long. e. You mean it's actually possible to get somewhere on time? 2. Can you find your keys? a. I always know where both sets of keys are at all times. b. They are usually in my (front pocket, purse, dish near the door, etc.). c. Hmm. I think I set them on the counter. d. I know I had them just a minute ago, or maybe that was yesterday. e. I knew there was something I needed to take with me! 3. Could you have friends over to your house to socialize, or accommodate overnight guests? a. Sure! Bring on the party! b. Yes. Just let me put out fresh towels and check the refreshments. c. Well, okay. Give me half an hour to clean up a bit. d. Now? I really need to take the day off to get this place in shape. e. You're kidding, right? I can't have anyone over here! 4. How's your paperwork? 51

a. Fine. Why do you ask? b. Bills paid, everything's filed, but don't touch the contract on my desk. c. I have a folder of things to file, and some action items sitting out. d. I know I'm behind on this. I think my electric bill is overdue. e. I'll never catch up with the piles, and people are talking. Let's find out where you are now -- organizationally speaking. Add up your points using the following key: A=1, B=2, C=3, D=4, and E=5. If your total is:     17-20: You're not alone in disorganization. You've come to the right place. 13-16: It could be worse. You're right to think you can be better organized. 9-12: You have some organizational systems in place, but there's room for improvement. 8 or fewer: Here to sharpen your skills?

No matter what your score, just remember that anyone -- anyone -- can get organized!

Moving forward
You now have some basic knowledge to organize and unclutter any area in your home. You know the rules, and you know what clutter trouble areas to watch for. You're ready to set up systems so your home will run more smoothly. Organizing is a simple process, so don't allow yourself to become overwhelmed. Focus on one small space each day and you'll have an organized home in no time. Assignments are designed to help you apply the information learned in the lessons.

Organize a space
Now that you're familiar with the rules of organizing and clutter-control techniques, you're ready to begin organizing an area of your home. Here's your assignment: 1. Choose an area of your home to unclutter and organize. Start small. Perhaps you'll want to begin with one corner of your family room or bedroom.

WARNING
Trying to tackle a large area can be frustrating. Do a little bit at a time to stay motivated. 2. Pick your reward. Decide how you'll reward yourself at the end of the session. You might enjoy a bubble bath or a nap. 3. Gather supplies. You'll need a trash bag, a pen, sticky notes, a timer, and three containers. Label the containers: Elsewhere, Donate, and Memento. 4. Set your timer for 20 minutes; take a five-minute break, and work for 20 more minutes.

PAPER IS POWER: SMART SORTING AND FILING STRATEGIES
STEP ONE: SORT IT
In this lesson we'll focus on devising specific systems to eliminate paper piles wherever they occur. There are four easy steps to set up this system: 1. Buy supplies. You'll need a file box, hanging folders, manila folders, and an in-box. 2. Decide on folder names. Start with a few names and expand as needed. 52

3. Label folders. Keep handy a pen or your laptop and labeling software. 4. Begin sorting. Place all your loose papers in your in-box. Pick up one piece of paper at a time and make a decision about it. Let's go over these steps in more detail.

Supply must-haves
Professional organizers recommend purchasing a portable file box to sort and manage incoming paper. There are several sizes and styles available. Some boxes have hinged lids and handles; some have removable lids. Look them over and buy the style you prefer. You'll also need letter-size hanging files, manila file folders, and a pen. The basic paper-sorting system is easy to set up. As you use it, you'll want to add and delete folders according to your personal preferences.

WARNING
Keep your system simple. If it's too complicated, you'll stop using it and eventually be right back where you started. It's important to remember that this file box is for active files only; this is not a permanent filing system. Ask yourself, "Do I need to do something with this piece of paper?" If the answer is "Yes," it goes in this file box. If the answer is "No," put the paper into a filing basket or a to-be-filed file. We'll talk about permanent filing systems later in this lesson.

Folder names that work
The following is a list of possible folder names into which you can sort your paper. Use the minimum number of files possible, and keep your system simple. Some of your options might include these:     Urgent: Place any paperwork that needs to be dealt with immediately in this file. You can also call this folder Today or Now. Do: This file is for any item you need to act on. Perhaps you need to make a phone call or reply with a short note. Put it in here if it's not urgent. Consider: When you receive information on an item you might want to buy or an event you might want to attend, put it in this file. Hold: Your son has a class zoo trip next month, and you're a chaperone. What do you do with the directions and instructions until then? Put them in the "Hold" file. This is also the place to put tickets to upcoming events.

TIP Use Outlook Calendar to schedule the trip, then scan the directions and attach the document to the event. You'll be prepared and on time, and ready to share the directions with less-organized parents.
    Read: Sort newsletters, notes, and letters into this file. You might also want to place a basket near the couch or in your bedroom for magazines and catalogs. Spouse: Any item for your spouse goes into this file. You can also set up files for other household members if they receive lots of mail. File/Scan: If a piece of paper simply needs to be placed into your long-term filing system or scanned into your computer, you can put it in this file while you sort. Computer: When you come across a Web site address you want to visit, place it in this file. If you need to reply to a note via e-mail or typed letter, put it here. Anything that needs to be done on the computer 53

can be kept in this file. You'll be much more efficient if you do all your computer work at the same time.  Pay: If you don't currently have an effective bill-paying system, simply place bills in this file until it's time to pay them. The article "10 Tips to Organize and Simplify Bill Paying" on Organized-Mom.com has some good bill-paying tips. Receipts: You return from a shopping trip. What do you do with the receipts? Put them in this file, and match them up with your credit-card statement at the end of the month.

Of course, there are other names you can use. Choose the ones you think will work for you, and try them out for a month. Adjust the system as necessary to fit your personal needs. If you use labeling software, changes to your system are easy and painless.

TIP When organizing bills, make a note of the due date in the upper-right corner of the pay envelope so you can quickly see the date without opening the bill. Later, you'll cover it with a stamp and no one's the wiser. To make doubly sure you pay it on time, schedule the due date in your Outlook Calendar or PDA and set a reminder for five days ahead.

Sort those papers
After setting up your system, gather your paper piles from around your home. Make a decision on each piece of paper: What do I need to do with this? What is my next step? The purpose of this system is to keep your papers organized. You completely avoid paper piles if you use this system consistently. As you sort your paper, remember that the file that sees the most action should be the trashcan or the recycling bin. After you sort your paper items, you can begin working on the items in your Urgent folder. Sorting is important, but it's only one step in the process.

TIP The beauty of this system is that you can sort paperwork while you're watching TV or sunning on the deck. You can then carry the box with you to the computer and to your permanent filing system.
Place an in-basket or tray near your file box. Any piece of paper that enters your house should be placed into this basket. Take a few moments to sort daily and you'll never have a paper pile again! You'll probably find holes in your sorting system after you use it for a few months. That's normal. Organizing is a process, so any system needs to be adjusted every once in awhile. If you find papers piling again, you either are not sorting often enough or you need more file topics.

Next up
What to do with the sorted papers.

STEP TWO: FILE IT
After your active files are in place, you can begin working on your permanent filing system. The secret to any usable filing system is to keep it simple. Here's how:  Have an easy-to-use filing cabinet or box. If your file drawers stick or are crammed full of files, you're less likely to use them. Before you begin organizing your permanent files, make sure that you have a solid filing cabinet or portable file boxes. Make a list of your current file headings. This takes only a few minutes and will save hours of work later. On paper, quickly separate all your files into three categories. Mark them with an F for financial-related, 54

an H for home-related, and a P for people-related files.

TIP If you're going to scan your files, use these same categories when you set up your electronic folders.
 Separate all your financial files. These files include insurance policies, pension and retirement funds, tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, credit-card bills, and any other financial information you might have. Separate files that have anything to do with your home. You might have files for utilities, services, decorating, closing information, and appliance warranties. Separate files that are people-related. This category is for medical bills, health insurance information, education, vacations, personal projects, and hobbies. Decide how much space you need for each category. It's best to use a separate file box or drawer for each category. Put the files away into three drawers or boxes. Then, go through each file and consolidate or divide as necessary. Make a new file index and tape it to your filing cabinet or box. It's easy to maintain this list in Word or Excel. This simple step makes retrieval and filing go much more quickly.

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Eighty percent of files are never retrieved. Be careful when labeling files. Within each of the three categories, you'll have numerous headings that belong in hanging folders. For example, you'll have a Medical hanging folder under the people category. Headings (hanging folders) break down into subheadings (manila folders). For example, you'll have a folder for each household member's medical history, a folder for health insurance information, and a folder for health insurance claims. Label each manila folder with the hanging folder name and then the folder name. For example, you might label a folder with Medical. When filing, think in terms of broad categories.

TIP A laptop and labeling software keeps the big picture in view and makes rearranging and inserting new categories and folder names a snap.
Many people are afraid to throw away papers because they "might need it someday." The truth is that once filed, most papers are never accessed again, so keep only important information. Sort through your files annually to get rid of the bulk. The easier it is to file papers, the more likely you are to use your filing system.

Filing how-to
Here are some tips to make filing easier:      Use staples to hold papers together. Paper clips add bulk to your files. Position hanging file tabs. Place the tabs in the same position on each hanging file. Your eyes can more quickly scan a straight line than a zigzagged one. File papers flat, if possible. Folded papers take up more space. Remove large items. Take out catalogs and binders. Clip out and file important information, or store the bulky items elsewhere. Use few words. Use as few words as possible for file headings.

TIP
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Ask your accountant or attorney for paper retention guidelines. These vary by state and will give you a better idea of what you need to retain from a legal perspective.
You'll also want to keep the really important documents in a fireproof safe or safe deposit box. These include (but aren't limited to) copies of wills, birth certificates, marriage certificates, and retirement information. What if a flood or fire destroyed your wedding photos? One of the easiest ways to cut down on paper clutter is to scan the items you want to keep -- photos, certificates, children's artwork, love letters, insurance policies, contracts, tax returns, expense reports -- and store them on your computer. You can print them on demand. Some things you don't need access to on a regular basis, such as birth certificates and love letters, you want to keep originals of, but you can store these in a safe deposit box. Storing digital images of important documents does two things: it makes an inventory of the things you have, and it acts as a back up in case the original document is destroyed, which makes replaceable items easier to replace and ensures that irreplaceable items aren't gone forever. Be careful, though, not to keep so much extraneous information on your hard drive that you get bogged down searching for the documents you need. Rather than store scanned reference information (documents that you may need at a later date) on your computer, back it onto CDs or other types of external tape drives and delete it from your computer's hard drive. Make it easy to find these documents by storing them by category. For example, all family documents could be on one CD or tape and tax information on another.

Next up
What to do with all those odd bits of paper.

Dealing with bits and pieces
Sometimes, the little pieces of paper lying around the house cause the most clutter. What do you do with all the napkins, business cards, and sticky notes littering the counters? Here's a quick and easy system to deal with them:   Clean out your purse, briefcase, car, junk drawer, and backpack. Also gather the small pieces of paper from around the house. Rewrite, staple, or tape the information into a spiral notebook. Each day, move a couple of items to your daily to-do list. If the information is simply a phone number or e-mail address, take the time to put it in your address book or on your computer (more on this in Lesson 3). Establish a routine. Get in the habit of placing small pieces of paper directly into your in-basket until you have time to deal with them.

Reading materials often cause feelings of stress and guilt. In our information society, we feel like we can't keep up with all the information being thrown at us on a daily basis. Be picky about the type of information you read. Choose a few subjects that interest you and limit your reading to those subjects.

TIP Carry reading material with you wherever you go. Grab your reading file from your box whenever you leave the house. You'll be surprised at the opportunities you'll have to catch up on your reading: while waiting at the doctor's office, for a friend at a restaurant, or in line at the grocery store.
If you collect information on hobbies or other subjects of interest, try using a binder for each topic. Use index tabs to break down the topics. For example, you might have a Parenting binder with sections on Baby, Young Childhood, School Years, and Teens.

TIP
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Use Word or Excel to create an electronic index of the items in each binder to simplify updating and rearranging the list. When you maintain the list electronically, you can do a search for "Tarantula Book Report" and know just which binder to pull off the shelf.

Next up
What to keep and what to pitch.

Retention schedules
If you're holding excess paper -- and who isn't? -- it might be worth your while to review your legal obligations. Records managers call these guidelines retention schedules . Rules for retaining papers vary by state, industry, and individual practice. When in doubt, consult a professional: an attorney, accountant, or other reliable source. Common sense says that you need to keep papers that will support your actions in matters of business, law, taxation, and property. In other words, keep what proves your position with regard to legal and financial matters.

The tax man cometh
Everyone asks, "What about the IRS?" The IRS maintains the legal right to question your federal tax return:    For three years from your filing date or for two years after the date you actually paid the tax, whichever is later. If the IRS believes you misrepresented your income by 25 percent or more. The agency can request an audit of your return up to six years later. Whenever there is a question about a fraudulent return or if you fail to file. There is no time limit.

The long and short of it is that you need to keep your tax returns (and any documents necessary to support your position) indefinitely. The IRS offers Publication 552: Recordkeeping for Individuals as a guide to personal records retention; and Publication 583: Starting a Business and Keeping Records for small business owners. See www.irs.gov. When reviewing incoming information, filing, or weeding old files, ask the following questions:     Is this needed (instead of just wanted)? Is this current information? Will it be current when I need to reference it? Can I find the information again elsewhere? Where will I think to look for this information (versus Where will I stash it?)?

Divide your retention schedule into three segments: indefinite (forever), long-term, and short-term. Remember, these are suggestions. Be sure to consult your attorney, accountant, or a reputable business advisor. Learn More: To get some tips on how long you should keep important papers, read Retention Guidelines.

TIP Keep an inventory list of these documents in Word or Excel.

Next up
Discontinue receiving paper statements whenever you can.

Consider banking and bill paying online
You can relieve the amount of paper coming into your home by investigating whether the companies you do business with -- bank, credit card, mortgage, utility, telephone, internet, cell phone -- offer online statements and 57

billing. If they do, take them up on it. Often you can download statements and save them on your computer to review any time you'd like. Most banks allow you to download your statements in formats that are ready to import into common moneymanagement software such as Money or Quicken. This gives you a head start when it comes time to do your taxes. If your bank offers an online billpay option, sign up for it. When payment is due, you can access your account and make a manual electronic payment or schedule an automatic recurring payment. If your bank doesn't offer billpay, or you don't want to pay for the service, you can often schedule automatic payments with the vendor. If the charge is variable, say, for example, an electric bill, you can put a "not to exceed" cap on the amount of money the company can deduct from your account so that an excessive amount of money isn't deducted without warning.

TIP Add a reminder to your calendar to check your bill online a few days before it's due.

Moving forward
You now know some basics for dealing with paper. You learned how to sort incoming mail and papers, how to set up a permanent filing system, and what to do with miscellaneous bits of paper. You also learned what to keep (and for how long), and got some tips for using technology to help deal with all the paper in your home. If you find it tough going to stay with your filing, try it in small doses. Set a timer for 15 minutes once a day. Play music you like and file away! When the timer sounds, that's the end of that session (unless you're really enjoying it and have time to keep working on your files).

Assignment: Paper is power: smart sorting and filing strategies
Assignments are designed to help you apply the information learned in the lessons.

Set up your paper system Part 1: Set up a filing system
Go to your local office-supply store and purchase a portable file box. There are several kinds available, so choose one that best fits your needs. If you don't already have them, buy some letter-size hanging files, manila folders, and a basket Set up your own system using some or all of these headings           Urgent: This folder is for items that you need to take care of immediately. Do: Place all the non-urgent tasks that you must do in this file. Consider: Include invitations and items you might want to buy in this file. Hold: This folder is for anything that needs to be held for a future date, such as directions, instructions, or tickets. Read: Letters and newsletters belong in this file. Spouse: Place any paperwork for your spouse in this file. File/Scan: This folder holds any item that will go directly into your permanent filing system or will be scanned into your compute. Computer: E-mail addresses, letters to type, and interesting Web site addresses belong in this file. Receipts: Drop receipts in this file. Tax 2005: Place any tax-related receipts, information, or paid bills in this file. 58

Part 2: Schedule a paper sort
After you sort your files, make an appointment for "First Annual Paper Sort" in your Outlook Calendar and set a reminder for one week ahead. That way you won't forget when it's time to lighten the paper load. And don't forget to schedule a reward for yourself, as well.

MANAGING YOUR TIME: DERAILING DISTRACTIONS, PROCRASTINATION, AND LATENESS
WHY MANAGE YOUR TIME?
Have you ever met someone who is highly accomplished at work, calm and organized at home, and still finds time for sports, hobbies, and friends? Did you ever wonder how he or she got that way? Did you think that person was lucky, or just born like that? There is a secret to achieving that kind of life, the kind that brings you not just professional success but relaxation and pleasure too. The secret is time management, and anyone can master it through study and practice. "Management" and "planning" are words we typically associate with the business world. Because of their dry, boring, workaday sound, we may think they have no place in our personal lives. But once you take a few steps to get a grip on your schedule, instead of letting the hours slip away from you, you'll find that incorporating time management and planning into the way you live will not only work wonders for your career, but will bring about dramatic improvements in your life as a whole.

The benefits of good time management
There are many benefits of getting a grip on time. You will:         Reduce stress in your life, which can minimize serious health problems, including ulcers and heart attacks Lead a more balanced life, with time for leisure pursuits, friends, and family Have more focus on each of the things you do Become more reliable to other people Experience less pressure, and feel more in control Achieve more in your career Get what you want out of life

Does this last item sound like a bold claim? It isn't. The people who achieve their dreams had to acknowledge those dreams in the first place. The key to achieving your dreams is to make each dream a goal; break it down into small, manageable steps; and take those steps today. In short, get organized!

Next up
Understanding how time slips away.

Where does it all go?
The first step in learning how to manage your time is to understand where it goes. There are many ways in which we use up our time, or create schedules that cause us to feel overwhelmed. Depending on what kind of person you are, you probably face a few of the following hurdles.

Procrastinating
Procrastinating means putting off a task until later. Procrastination comes in two flavors: overt and covert. 59

Overt procrastination is easy enough to identify: you know very well that you are procrastinating when you put off starting a homework assignment and watch television instead. Covert procrastination is harder to spot and sometimes you have to examine your life carefully for the signs. Suppose you have two tasks you must complete at work. The more important one is challenging and stressful. The other one is easy but time-consuming. If you spend your morning doing the easy, time-consuming task, you are covertly procrastinating. You look busy, and it may appear to others and even to yourself that you are working hard. But putting off the most difficult and important work until later is just another way to procrastinate. Procrastination is the thief of time. We have all heard that many times before. The tendency to procrastinate is the primary reason that many people lead lives of quiet desperation and retire poor. It is not that people do not know what to do to be more successful. Most people are quite clear about the steps they could take to improve their lives or their work. The problem is that they continually find reasons not to do it today until it is too late. They procrastinate until there are no more tomorrows left. One of the most valuable habits you can develop in life is a sense of urgency, an inner drive to get on with it, to get the job done now. A sense of urgency is the opposite of procrastination and its most powerful overriding factor. A sense of urgency can help you as much as any other habit you can develop.

Move On To the Fast Track
In a recent survey, 104 chief executive officers were asked what specific qualities would most mark a young person in their companies for rapid promotion. They were given a list of 50 qualities and behaviors to choose from. Surprisingly enough, 84% of them agreed that two of the 50 qualities were more important than any of the others. The first of the two qualities was defined as “the ability to separate the relevant from the irrelevant.” It was the ability to set priorities on the use of time. Every manager has had the frustrating experience of coming upon one of his staff working away at something that is of low priority when something of higher priority is being left undone. Many organizations are over-staffed and under-efficient simply because so many people in the organization spend so much time on items of low priority. The second quality identified by the 104 CEO’s was “the ability to get the job done fast.” It was the ability to take the ball and run with it without hesitation or delay. Everyone intends to do good work, but the road to failure is paved with good intentions. It is only actions that count, and only those actions aimed at accomplishing the most important tasks.

When You Get Around To It
I was a speaker at the annual convention of a successful national sales organization recently. As each person came into the room, they were handed a small wooden disk with the words “To It” printed on either side. They called these disks “Round To-It’s.” They are handed out generously to people who are going to do something as soon as they get a “Round To-It.” Once they have been given one of these round disks, they no longer have any excuses for procrastination or delay. The ability to select your most important task and then to get it done quickly will do more to move you on to the fast track in your career than any other habit you can develop, rather than waiting until you get around to it.

Develop a Reputation for Speed and Dependability
If you work for an organization, or if you run your own business, or if you are in sales, and you develop a reputation for speed and dependability, you will never have to worry about being successful, promoted or rich. With a reputation for speed and dependability, you will be able to write your own ticket. When you can separate the 60

relevant from the irrelevant and get the job done fast, you move to the front of the line in terms of success and opportunity.

Alleviate Time Poverty
The biggest single shortage among employed people today is “time poverty.” They may have the money they need, but they don’t have the time to enjoy it. Because of this lack or shortage, free time is becoming more important than higher cost for many people. Today, we will pay more for people who will save us time, and for people who will do things for us quickly. When we ask something to do something for us, or we call a company to supply us with a product or service, we value and respect them far more when they move fast. Today, we consider speed of response to our needs to be indicative of higher quality products and services. People who move quickly are thought to be more intelligent than those who move slowly. We will buy from them faster and pay a higher price, with less resistance. On the other hand, when we deal with an individual or organization that moves or responds slowly to our requests, we automatically assume that organization to be poorly run. We assume that a slow company is managed by inefficient and ineffective people. We assume that their products are worth less than the products and services of companies that do things more quickly.

Time Is of the Essence
One of the final clauses in almost every contract written in business today is a clause that says, “Time shall be of the essence of this agreement.” Today, time is of the essence of virtually everything we do. Learning to overcome procrastination is a vital step upward on the ladder of success. Without this ability, you simply cannot succeed at anything worthwhile. Fortunately procrastination is a habit that can be overcome. Developing a sense of urgency is a habit as well, which can be learned.

Developing a Sense of Urgency
There are seven steps you can take to program your mind with a sense of urgency. This will motivate you to overcome procrastination, get started on your most important job, and stay at it single-mindedly until it is complete.

1. Set Worthwhile Goals
Set worthwhile goals for yourself, goals that you intensely desire to achieve. All motivation requires “motive.” A major reason for procrastination is that there is no specific goal that the person wants badly enough to get started and then to persist until the job is complete. Many people procrastinate and delay because they don’t really want to do what they are doing. As a result, they find every excuse to delay and put off getting started. To counter this, you can use goals as a motivator. The more goals you have, the less likely you will be to procrastinate on the tasks necessary to achieve them. When you set a large number of goals for yourself, you trigger the Law of Forced Efficiency. You find yourself moving faster and working more efficiently simply because you have so many things that you have to get done in a limited period.

2. Visualize Your Tasks as Completed
Program your mind to overcome procrastination by continually visualizing your tasks as completed. Visualize your goals as already achieved. Imagine how you will feel with the job behind you. Imagine and create the feeling of satisfaction that you will have when the task is accomplished. The more pleasurable the feeling of completion that you can create in your mind, the more focused you will be. The greater clarity you have of your finished task, the

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more energized you will be. Clear mental pictures of a desired future reality sharpen your mind and enable you to concentrate better. For example, if you set an income goal that you want to achieve in a certain time period, and you vividly imagine how you are going to enjoy the extra money, what you will buy, where you will go, and what you will do, you will find yourself internally motivated to do the things necessary to achieve this goal. Every time you visualize your goal as complete, you increase the intensity of your desire and strengthen your resolve. You will then develop the willpower to do whatever is necessary to transform your mental image into reality.

3. Practice Positive Affirmations
Use the power of positive affirmations to program a sense of urgency into your subconscious mind. At the beginning of each major task, repeat and affirm over and over, the words “Do it now! Do it now! Do it now!” Starting as a fatherless boy selling newspapers on the streets of Chicago, W. Clement Stone built an insurance fortune worth more than $800 million dollars. In his book Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude, he wrote that the repetition of the affirmation “Do it now!” was a key factor in his rise from poverty to great wealth. By constantly disciplining himself to “Do it now,” he became one of the richest men in the world. Throughout his company, with branches throughout the United States and around the world, the entire staff would come together each morning and shout out the words, “Do it now! Do it now! Do it now!” 50 times before starting the day. This repeated affirmation had a tremendous impact on the salespeople and staff of his company. Even after they went on to other jobs and companies, they still repeated it to themselves. Many successful men and women all over the world today trace their success back to their association with W. Clement Stone and his motto “Do it now!” You can develop any mental habit you desire by repeated suggestions, in the form of affirmations and mental pictures, from your conscious mind to your subconscious mind. At a certain point, your subconscious will accept these words and pictures as new commands. These commands will then become your new operating principles. Soon, you will find that acting with a sense of urgency is just as much of a habit for you as breathing.

4. Set Clear Deadlines for Yourself
Set deadlines for yourself on all important tasks. Put yourself on record. Tell other people that you will have the job done by a specific time. You will find that promising others motivates yourself. We all work very hard to fulfill our promises and to avoid disappointing other people. Often, promising others that you will have something done by a certain time and date is more powerful than promising yourself. Setting a clear, specific deadline also programs the task or goal into your subconscious mind. You will then find yourself internally driven toward getting the job done. When you set a deadline for yourself, your subconscious mind installs an automatic override on your tendency to procrastinate.

5. Refuse to Make Excuses
Refuse to rationalize or make excuses for procrastination. All procrastination seems to be accompanied by rationalization. And rationalization is best defined as “attempting to put a socially favorable interpretation on an otherwise socially unacceptable act.” Rationalizing is explaining away and making excuses for unproductive behavior. You will notice that people who procrastinate always have what they think is a good reason to let themselves off the hook. Don’t allow yourself the luxury of making excuses. Commit yourself to completing a particular task by a certain time, and then burn your mental bridges. Refuse to consider the possibility of not working on your task. Never seek for reasons to justify noncompletion. 62

6. Reward Yourself for Completion
Create a reward system for yourself. Give yourself a reward for successful completion of each part of the job, as well as for successful completion of the whole job. We talked about this in an earlier chapter. You can actually program yourself into being eager to start a job, and to continue with it until it is finished. Just give yourself a reward at each step. In behavioral psychology, this is called “operant conditioning.” It is used to train both humans and animals. Behavior is shaped by designing a specific result or consequence that follows every act of the individual. Rewards tend to reinforce and encourage specific behaviors. Punishments tend to discourage those behaviors. Over time, the habits of the individual can be shaped and their responses made automatic with repeated rewards.

Develop Positive Habits
Fully 95% of everything you do, or fail to do, is determined by your habits, either good or bad. One key to success is to develop good habits and make them your masters. You develop the habit of overcoming procrastination by rewarding yourself every time you do it until you rewire and reprogram your subconscious mind permanently. Creating a reward system for yourself only requires a little imagination on your part. For example, if you have a big task to do, and there are five parts to the task, give yourself a reward upon completion of each step. The reward can be something simple, such as a cup of coffee, a break when you get up and walk around, or even lunch. If it is a major task, or a major part of the task, you can reward yourself by going shopping, buying something you like, taking yourself out for dinner, or even taking a vacation with your spouse or family. When you put a reward system in place, and you discipline yourself not to take the reward until you have completed the task, or part of the task, you eventually find yourself internally motivated to start and to finish your tasks and responsibilities. In a way, your focus of attention moves away from the difficulty of the task itself and onto the enjoyability of the reward.

Overcoming Call Reluctance with Rewards
For example, to help salespeople overcome the fear and reluctance associated with cold calling on the telephone, we set up a simple reward structure. The salesperson sets a specific time and place to telephone. He sets a specific goal for a number of calls, appointments or sales. He then gets a fresh cup of coffee and puts it in front of him. Every time he makes a call he is allowed to take a sip of coffee. Soon, he becomes motivated to make as many calls as possible so that he can drink the coffee before it goes cold. Sometimes we take a cookie and break it up into small bites, or place a bowl of jellybeans in front of the salesperson. Each time the salesperson makes a call and gets through to a prospect, he or she is allowed to eat a piece of cookie or jellybean. In no time at all, like the Pavlovian response, where the bell rang and the dog salivated, the salesperson becomes eager to make calls and enjoy the reward. It sounds simple and even childish, but it is extraordinarily effective in developing the habit of overcoming procrastination.

You can practice operant conditioning with your children to train them in the good habits that they will need as adults. Offer to take them to McDonald’s or watch television if they clean up their room or complete their homework. Refuse to allow them the reward until the job is done satisfactorily. You will be amazed at how quickly they get started, and keep going until the
job is finished.

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7. Accept Complete Responsibility for Completion
Seventh, program yourself to overcome procrastination by accepting 100% responsibility for the completion of the task on schedule. Look only to yourself. Rely only on your own ability. No matter what the obstacle in your way, resolve to find a way over, around or past it. Refuse to make excuses. Accepting complete responsibility for results, and never allowing yourself the luxury of a mental escape hatch, is the equivalent of putting your own feet to the fire. It is amazing how much more you will get done when you eliminate your excuses and reasons for putting it off.

Five Ways to Get Yourself Started
Overcoming procrastination permanently requires that you use every method and technique possible to get yourself organized and motivated into starting and completing the job. Here are five things that you can do in advance to reduce your tendency to procrastinate.

1. Create a detailed plan of action
Begin by creating a clear, written plan with each part of the plan and each step organized in order of priority. Put an A, B or C next to each step. Determine the most important thing that you can do to get started and put a circle around that item. A written plan leads you into action. It gives you a track to run on, and a blueprint to follow. The more you break down your goal into individual steps, and then list those steps, the easier it is for you to take the first step. Often, that’s all you need to get going.

2. Clean Up Your Workspace
Clean up your workspace. Begin with only one thing, the most important thing, in front of you. A clean workspace is a real motivator to action. A good time planner or system of organization can be very helpful in this regard because it keeps you focused on the next task.

3. Separate the Urgent from the Important
Remind yourself that important tasks are usually not urgent. An urgent task is usually not important. Start off working on the tasks that are both urgent and important, the tasks that have short time fuses, which must be done immediately. Then move onto the tasks that are merely important but not urgent. It is these important but not urgent tasks that contain the greatest potential consequences for your career and your future.

4. Start with Your Most Important Tasks
You always tend to procrastinate on large, important tasks with considerable future value. Successful completion of these major tasks can make a major difference in your life. There seems to be a universal tendency to delay working on, or completing, the most important tasks until the last moment. Some people say that they work better under pressure. This may be true in some cases, because then, you have no time for excuses. The heat is on. The consequences of not completing the job are too serious to delay. But it is always better to have the job done well in advance of the deadline.

5. Practice Creative Procrastination
Fifth, learn to practice creative procrastination as part of your time management program. This requires that you consciously procrastinate on those tasks that contribute little or nothing to the accomplishment of your major, high-value goals. Since you can never do everything that you have to do, you are going to have to procrastinate on something. The difference between effective people and ineffective people is that effective people procrastinate on the things that don’t really matter. 64

On the other hand, ineffective people always procrastinate on the tasks that could make a real difference. Use your willpower and self-discipline to put off and delay doing minor, irrelevant tasks in favor of major, important tasks. Many small jobs, left to themselves, have a tendency to become unnecessary. If you don’t do them for a while, you eventually reach a point where they don’t need to be done at all. These are the tasks that are the best candidates for creative procrastination. Before you start on a job, ask yourself, “What would happen if this task were not done at all? ” If the answer to this question is “Not much,” then put it off as long as you can. Often you won’t have to do it at all.

Sixteen Ways to Overcome Procrastination
Because procrastination is such a major concern of so many people, and has been a bugaboo for people throughout the ages, a series of ideas and methods for overcoming procrastination have been developed over the years. Here are sixteen of the most powerful techniques ever discovered to help you to overcome procrastination in your work and personal life. Think about which one of these ideas could be most helpful to you right now, in your current situation.

1. Think on paper.
Prepare thoroughly. List every step of the job in advance. Break the job down into its constituent parts before you begin. The very act writing out every detail and thoroughly preparing in advance will help you to overcome procrastination and get started.

2. Gather all the necessary materials and work tools that you will require before you begin.
When you sit down to work, or when you begin a task, make sure that you have everything at hand so that you won’t have to get up or move until the task is complete. Being fully prepared is a powerful motivator for staying with the task until it is finished.

3. Do one small thing to get started.
There is a 20/80 rule that says that the first 20% of the task often accounts for 80% of the value of that task. This is probably what Confucius meant when he said that, “A journey of 1000 leagues begins with a single step.” Once you have taken even one small step to start the job, you will often find yourself continuing on with the task and through to completion.

4. Salami slice the task.
Just as you would never try to eat a whole loaf of salami at once, sometimes the best way to complete a major job is to take a small slice and complete just that piece, just as you would take a single slice of salami and eat it. You have heard the question, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer of course is “One bite at a time!” There is a saying that, “by the yard it’s hard, but inch by inch, anything is a cinch.” When you select a small piece of the task and then discipline yourself to do it and get it behind you, it will often give you the momentum you need to counter inertia and overcome procrastination.

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5. Practice the Swiss cheese technique.
Just as a block of Swiss cheese is full of large holes, you treat your task like a block of cheese and you punch holes in it. Select a five-minute part of the job and do only that. Don’t worry about the whole job. Just pick a small part of the job with an identifiable amount of time required and then do that part. For example, if you wanted to write an article or a book, you can break the task down into small pieces and do just one small piece at a time whenever you get a chance. Many authors begin by writing one page per day. If you are doing research, you can read one article per sitting. Many people write complete books on airplanes, or complete their college degrees with snatches of time between other activities. If you wrote one page per day for a year, you would have a 365-page book by the end of the year.

6. Start from the outside and complete the smaller tasks first.
Often there are preparatory steps you must take before you can tackle the main part of the job. In that case, starting from the outside and doing all the little tasks necessary will help you to overcome procrastination and get you started on the big tasks.

7. Start from the inside and do the larger tasks first.
This is the opposite of number six. Look over your list of everything that you have to do to complete the job, and ask yourself, “What is the biggest single task on this list?” What is the one item that will take the most time, or require the most effort? Then discipline yourself to start with that item and stay with it until it is complete. All the other smaller tasks on the list will then seem easier by comparison.

8. Do the task that causes you the most fear or anxiety.
This usually has to do with someone else. Often it has to do with overcoming the fear of failure or rejection. In sales, it may be associated with prospecting. In management, it may be associated with disciplining or firing an employee. In relationships, this may have to do with confronting an unhappy personal situation. In every case, you will be more effective if you deal first with the item that is causing you the greatest emotional distress or fear. Often this will break the log jam in your work and free you up mentally and emotionally to complete all your other tasks.

9. Start your day with the most unpleasant task first.
Get it over with and behind you. Everything else for the rest of the day will seem easier in comparison. A recent study compared two groups of people. One group started an exercise program in the morning. The second group started an exercise program in the evenings after work. The researchers found that the morning exercisers were much more likely to still be in the program six months later. They found that starting the day with exercise was much more likely to lead to the habit of regular exercise than putting it off until the end of the day when it was easier to make excuses and procrastinate. Mark Twain once wrote that, “The first thing you should do when you get up each morning is to eat a live frog; then you will have the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that can happen to you all day long.” Your “live frog” is your biggest, most difficult, most unpleasant task. When you start and finish this task before doing anything else, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that the rest of your day is going to proceed much more smoothly.

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10. Think about the negative consequences of not doing the job or completing the task.
What will happen to you if this job is not done on schedule? Both fear and desire are great motivators of human behavior. Sometimes you can motivate yourself by the desire for the benefits and rewards of task completion. Sometimes you can motivate yourself into action by thinking about the negative consequences of not doing the job as promised.

11. Think about how you will benefit from doing the job and completing the task.
Write down all the reasons why it would be helpful for you to get this job done on time. The more reasons you have for completing the task, the more intense will be your desire to begin, and the greater will be your internal drive to complete what you’ve started. If you have one or two reasons for getting a job done, you will have a mild level of motivation. But if you have 10 or 20 reasons for completing the job, your level of motivation will be considerably higher, and so will be your persistence and self-discipline.

12. Set aside a designated 15-minute period during the day when you will work on your project.
Set aside a specific time period, sometime during the day, say from 10:00 to 10:15 in the morning, or 2:00 to 2:15 in the afternoon, and resolve just to work for that brief 15 minute period without worrying about anything else. This technique will often get you launched into the task and completion will be much more likely. To get the most out of this technique, you must make an appointment with yourself and write it down. Then, when the designated time comes, have your tools and materials at hand and begin the 15-minute work session. At the end of the 15 minutes, you may feel like continuing to work. If not, put it aside and schedule another 15-minute appointment at another time. And then keep your appointment with yourself.

13. Resist the tendency toward perfectionism
Since perfectionism is a major reason for procrastination, decide not to worry about doing the job perfectly. Just get started and work steadily. You can always go back and make corrections and revisions later. Nothing worthwhile has ever been done perfectly the first time anyway. Not long ago, a friend of mind started a consulting business. I asked him how it was going. He told me that he had not done anything yet because it was going to take a full month before he got his brochures, business cards and letterhead back from the printer. I told him that his brochures, letterhead and business cards would never get him a nickel’s worth of business. What he should do was to write his new telephone number on the back of his existing business cards, or get some made up quickly at a quick copy place, and then just get out and talk to prospective clients. I told him that this would do him more good than all the brochures he would ever design. He phoned me a week later and told me that this advice had transformed his thinking about himself and his business. He had started calling on prospective customers that very day and was already doing business and making money.

14. Pick one area where procrastination is hurting you.
Select a single identifiable area where you know your tendency to procrastinate is holding you back. Pick the most important area and resolve to conquer that specific example of procrastination. Set priorities on your areas of procrastination and then concentrate single-mindedly on the one area where overcoming it can make the greatest contribution to your success. Always attack the most difficult tasks first. 67

Challenge yourself to confront the hardest parts of your work and then get them done before anything else.

15. Develop a compulsion to closure.
Once you have launched, and begun to work on your task, refuse to stop until it is completed. When you develop the discipline to start a major task and then stay with it until it is finished, you will be laying down the foundation for a life of persistent, purposeful work. Force yourself to finish the last 5% of the job. That is the part that is worth all the rest in terms of personal satisfaction. It is amazing, and somewhat sad, the number of people who overcome procrastination sufficiently enough to get started on a task, but they never carry it through to completion. As they get closer and closer to the end of the task, they find more and more reasons and excuses to put off the last 5% or 10%. This is the reason most university theses and dissertations to complete Masters or Doctoral Degrees never get completed and submitted. A person may spend years of study in college and leave without the degree because he was unable to push through and complete the last 5% or 10%. You only experience the joy, satisfaction and exhilaration of finishing the task when you bring it to completion. As you wrap up the last detail, you feel a tremendous sense of relief and accomplishment. Your brain releases endorphins and you get a surge of happiness and well-being. But this is only possible when you complete the task 100%.

16. Maintain a fast tempo.
Fast tempo is essential to success. Resolve to work at a brisk pace. Walk quickly. Move quickly. Write fast. Act quickly. Get on with the job. Consciously decide to speed up all of your habitual actions. It is amazing how much more you will get done when you push yourself to move faster rather than moving at your normal pace. In fact, if you continually force yourself to work harder and faster, you will start to feel the magic of the “flow experience.” When you get into this “flow,” you will experience an enhanced feeling of confidence and competence. When you are in “flow” you will start to plow through enormous quantities of work in a much shorter period of time than you’ve done in the past. Deliberately organizing your life, work and tempo so that you regularly trigger this experience of “flow” is a key to great success. All truly effective people enjoy this mysterious flow of energy on a regular basis. It is activated by consciously speeding up the tempo of your work and keeping up the pace until you lift off, like an airplane clearing the ground.

STAYING MOTIVATED
Just look around you, it’s a beautiful world out there. Life is wonderful provided you have the time and can afford to sit back and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. This is a feeling that hits us every now and then. And then when we realize that we have to be confined within the floor walls of our office, doing some work that has no scope for imagination, we end up depressed. Every job loses its charm after some time if nothing out of the way is done to make the job interesting. To make things worse, there are too many distractions around us. We end up thinking that this is not the job that I wanted to be doing. And when we realize that we will be doing this same job probably till the end of our lives, we will want to scream. It is a human tendency to get bored with something after some time. When we get a new job, ten for the first couple of weeks we are like the peasant boy who walked into a new palace. Every thing is new and interesting and our interest is completely captured. We try to learn things as quickly as possible and are eager to impress and prove to the world that we are perfect for the job. But after a few months we get used to everything and slowly everything begins to lose the charm. We get bored and start looking for greener pastures. 68

It is at this stage that procrastination starts raising its villainous head. If the tasks that we are doing are repetitive ad monotonous, the picture becomes bleaker. Along with this, if the requires that we remain on toes all day long, then the future is sealed. It is in such situations that we need to keep ourselves motivated. Speaking from the Organizational Behavior point of view let us take a look at what motivation is all about. The human brain as I mentioned earlier is a virtual store house of energy. There is nothing that we cannot do once we put our mind to it. Yeah, sure, all that has been proved time and again. But along with it comes a string attached. The same brain is easily distracted. In fact our imagination is probably the one thing that can travel faster than light. And so it is no easy task to keep the brain occupied in the same task for an extended period of time. If the job is monotonous the task becomes more difficult and if the job is demanding and involves a lot of pressure to keep time then you are done for.

Motivation can be thought of as the process of channeling the surplus energy of the brain towards a definite goal or purpose.
So how long can the human mind focus on the same thing. Studies have shown that the maximum attention span of an average human being is just 45 minutes. 45 minutes? So much for those meetings and discussions that lasted for three or four hours! No wonder nothing much comes out of such meetings. In all likelihood most of the audience conked out after the first 45 minutes and after that focused their attention on staying awake. If you have a good boss or superior, then the task of keeping you motivated rests with them. But even then you have the responsibility to keep yours self motivated, and believe me, self motivation is the best motivation because it comes from within. So here are a few tips on how to ward boredom away and keep you motivated.

12 Tips to stay motivated and keep procrastination away
1. Never keep doing the same task for two long 2. Try to take breaks every half an hour. Get up and walk or do some stretching exercises 3. Try to alternate between two boring tasks. This will reduce the boredom in both tasks by 50% 4. If you have someone else with you who is doing the same job, try exchanging jobs with the person 5. Talk about your job to a sympathetic listener who can give you encouragement 6. Reward yourself once you have done a job well 7. If you have an uninteresting job left to do, write it down and pin it somewhere in your work station so that you can see it and get constantly reminded about it till you do it. 8. Try to make your work environment more attractive by pinning up some motivating words or some pleasant wall posters, preferably something that can make you smile. Those ‘Dennis the Menace’ posters are really wonderful for this. 9. If you are allowed to, try playing some soft music while you work. 10. Write down a list of not-so-interesting tasks that you have done and pin it up. It just tells you that if you have done it before, then you can surely do it again.

11. If possible keep a small potted plant near your work station; watching it grow is a wonderful source of
inspiration. But take care to look after it properly. If you are going to watch it wilt and die, then it is going to have the opposite effect. 12. Take time to relax, just sit back and close your eyes and hum a favorite tune for a minute or two. But do not fall asleep! 69

Most of the points mentioned above are self explanatory but I would like to elaborate on one point that is rewarding your self. This is one tactic that I have found to work wonders with me. If you have finished doing a job, you have every right and reason to reward your self. All the more if the task was a boring one or one that involved a deadline. The reward does not have to be any thing great. It can be something like treating yourself to a good dinner in a favorite restaurant or it could be a simple chocolate bar if you have a sweet tooth. But most of you weight watchers, it would be best if you could buy yourself something material that does not just go down your throat. If it is something that can be displayed in your work station, then it’s all the better. Many such cute (but practically useless) baubles are available in most gift shops.

PLANNING FOR SUCCESS
Before you are going to do something, there is nothing as sensible as a plan. A plan as we know it is something thought about and chalked out in advance before the real action takes place. Pretty good definition, huh? I made it up myself. But then, the word ‘plan’ does not need much of a definition. It has been used so much that it has become quite hackneyed. So, we all know what it means, but how many of us really resort to planning before we start a course of action. No, I’m not referring to a mental picture that we cart out in our minds that is in one word VAGUE. I mean a real plan in black and white, that is, put down on a piece of paper. Please do not underestimate the importance of a written down plan. Once we write down something it clears up a lot of hazy areas and opens aspects that we probably overlooked. And the most important of all is that with a plan and only with a plan can we get a rough estimate at least of how much time the course of action would take. Plans should always be time bound and there we get the relation between time management and planning. In fact planning is as fundamental to time management as organizing and prioritizing. The advantages of planning are given below

The 8 advantages of planning
1. Planning helps us to have a better idea about the course of action that we propose to take. 2. Planning better defines the course of action that we propose to undertake. 3. Planning gives a rough estimate of the time required for a project. 4. Planning gives us a fairly good 5. idea about the expenses involved in the project. In fact a budget is only a financial plan. 6. Planning helps us to get prepared for emergencies that may arise during the course of the project. 7. A well though about plan gives us a clear idea about want is to be every day, every week and every month. 8. Planning helps avoid duplication of labor. 9. If a plan is followed every one will have a clear idea about his or her role. A point that I would like to add while we are talking about planning is that we should have both sort term plans as well as long term strategy plans. At the same time we should also try to draft out contingency plans to deal with a crisis if it arises. 70

I thought it would be useful for you to have a brief overview of the different steps involved in planning.

The six steps in planning
1. Set objectives 2. Assess you present situation 3. Survey your alternatives 4. Decide on the course of action 5. Provide for control 6. And Implement the plan But whatever be the plan I again want to stress the point that a plan should always be TIME BOUND. But as the project moves along, the plan should be flexible in the sense that it should incorporate any changes that might prove necessary ounce the project is put into action.

Planning the work in your office
You have to understand that there is nothing like a very routine work that doesn’t require any planning. The belief that it will go on by itself is wrong. Even tasks that ca be done on an everyday basis can be improved if there is good planning involved. Everywhere there is scope for improvement, better methods that are yet to be implemented and problems that have to be solved. And for all this you need proper planning. Let’s take a look at the different steps involved in planning for a week. The best way to plan the work for a week is to maintain a planning sheet. Now, please remember that this is apart from the routine work that is done in the office. The following steps will help you to make a planning sheet. 1. Take a fairly big sheet of paper and divide it into the number of working days in your office. 2. The column for each day should further be divided in to the morning and afternoon sessions. 3. Divide the job to be done ad assign each part to a concerned person. 4. Decide on which part of the task is to be done on each day and at which part of the day. 5. Put a cross mark followed by the concerned person’s initials on that section of the day on which you propose to do the decided part of the job. 6. At the end of the day, if the job is done put a circle round the cross. 7. If the job is not done, carry over the cross and add it to the next day’s cross. In this way, at the end of the week, you can find out how much of the work was done each day and subsequent plans can be made for the following weeks In this way you can plan for a week or a month, depending on your requirement. While you are drafting your plan and estimating your expenses, you must never forget the fact that time means money. But your plan should be realistic as well. In order to finish the task at the earliest possible date, there is no sense in chalking out a schedule which would mean that you will have to break your back in order to meet the deadline. And that’s about planning.

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ARE YOU A WORKAHOLIC?
There is nobody as good as a person who keeps time. That person is a man of his word, he is dependable and every employer’s dream come true. It is a pleasure doing business with such a person and the list goes on. But over here, there is the scent of a problem. Sometimes the preoccupation with time can make a person a workaholic. Now, this is no joke in fact it is a phenomenon that is very much on the rise especially among executives. Are you a workaholic? Well, why don’t you find out? There are a series of questions given below, if you have the time, why don’t you go through them and find out if you are a workaholic or not. All you have to do is answer yes or no to the following questions. 1. Do you find yourself constantly preoccupied with your work? 2. Do your family and friends complain that they hardly get to see you? 3. Do you take your work with you when you go home? 4. Do you find it increasingly difficult to get time to relax and have fun? 5. Do you find it difficult to have food at the correct times? So what are your answers like? If your answer to all the questions was ‘yes’, then you might as well join the club of “Alcoholics Anonymous”. If three of your answers were affirmative, then you might send in your membership request. If you gave only two yes answers still you are not safe, none of your answers should be yes! But I have bad news for you. Becoming a workaholic is not all that good. I suppose you have heard the proverb, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Man is not a one-dimensional piece of glass. He has a lot of facets and sides, interests and drives which must all be developed. He is more like a diamond that must shine and sparkle when viewed from different angles. It’s almost as if money becomes the only thing that motivates a person. Now, I want to make one point very clear. Workaholism is very different from meeting deadlines. We all get deadlines and times when work just piles up in the office. But that should be a passing phase, probably like when an audit or an inspection is taking place; then of course all the people are just flying around. That is not workaholism. In such a situation everyone just joins the team and works as hard as possible to get things done in the best possible way within the limited time. Though every one may groan and swear, it is something that gets over within a few days or in a week at the most. That is not an unhealthy thing. In fact the, very though t that there are lot of people working along with us is something that gets the drudgery out of the job. Workaholism on the other hand is very different thing. It means that you are going to miss out on a lot of the good things in life. And before you even know what happened to you, you will end up like one of those steel collar workers, or in other words a living robot. Work is important in life. We need to work to earn our daily bread. But work is not the only important thing in life. Being a person who is very time conscious does not mean that you have to end up being obsessed with your work. In fact if you are time conscious and are really concerned about getting things done on time, then there are very little chances that you will end up as a workaholic. Getting things done on time means working well within the office hours. And that in turn means having enough free time to enjoy your leisure hours. Every body need time to unwind. And unwinding must certainly be there. Or else you will end up totally worked up. Contrary to popular belief workaholism is in reality counter productive. That’s because when it lasts it might seem good enough, but nothing in this world lasts for ever. Sooner or later you will experience what experts now 72

refer to as the Executive Burnout. I will deal more with the executive burnout in the next chapter. Imagine that you have been working a little more than harder the whole day. You have been on your toes doing this and doing that. Towards the end of the day you realize, or you just come to know that there is some urgent work to be done that must be dispatched the following day. You have two alternatives before you, you can tell the security that you will be working a few extra hours while the others pick up their bags and leave. The very thought that you have to stay back when the others are leaving is going to weigh down on you, though you might feel kid of grand when you look at others with the air of a person who has to do his duty. Then you have to telephone your spouse or friends and tell them that you will be late and may probably have to call off the date that you had fixed for the night. That itself is going to make you grumpy especially if you hear an unenthusiastic grunt from the other side of the line. After that with a private sigh of resignation you have to sit down to finish that @#%^& piece of work. (I’m sure you will think of unprintable words to describe the work at this juncture). You have to remember that you are already exhausted with the busy day that you had. It goes without saying that if at all you finish the task, the work will be far from satisfactory. Your other alternative is that you take a quick look at the work and estimate how long is will take for you to finish it. Then you forget completely about it and pack you things and clear up your workstation and leave with all the others, bidding a cheerful goodnight to every tom Dick and Harry, and every Jane Susan and Mary. You reach home in the best of spirits and have a nice time with the kids or enjoy yourself with your date. You go to sleep early and wake up thoroughly refreshed in the morning. You work out for sometime, have a shower and a good breakfast and try to reach your office a little earlier than usual with a song in your heart and a spring to your step. Now if you sit down to do the work, not only will the quality of the work be much better but in all likelihood you will take les time than is really required for it. Well, what do you think, isn’t it worth trying out?

THE BURNOUT SYNDROME
We have experienced it haven’t we, the din and bustle of modern life, the fret and fury of life in the city, tensions, worries, anxiety, deadlines... This is going to pay off some day and if you are not careful, before you know it you will be experiencing the scourge of the modern executive that is the Executive Burnout. You will be amazed at the number of executives who are hard hit by the burn out syndrome as some psychologists call it. It has become an almost universal phenomenon among executives across the globe. So what are the symptoms of Executive Burnout? If you would like to find out if you are on the verge of a burnout, try answering the following questions. 1. Do you experience flashes of memory loss? 2. Do you sometimes get that ‘BLANK’ feeling when you cannot get head or tail of what you have to do next? 3. You know that there is a lot of work to be done but you have no idea where to start/ 4. You find that you are becoming increasingly irritable and lose your temper quite easily 5. You feel mentally and physically exhausted at the end of the day but still you are restless in the night and cannot get a good night’s sleep. 6. Even after remaining in bed for 6 to seven hours you wake up feeling weary 7. Your eyes start having dark circles around them 8. You tend to forget meal times and even if you remember them you eat at the most insensible times 73

9. Instead of eating square meals you find the t you are sustaining yourself on caffeine and nicotine, which means you are drinking too much coffee and smoking too many cigarettes. 10. You find yourself working too hard but unable to accomplish all that you want. Jeepers brother! If at least five of the above statements are true for you then you are in BIG trouble. You have got to do something about it or you are going to ruin your health. You will soon start experiencing condition like insomnia (sleeplessness), loss of appetite and stress. These things will manifest themselves in diseases like hypertension (high blood pressure), ulcers and even a mental break down. And if you are not careful before long you could end up in an asylum. Tell me is your life and work worth your job? Shouldn’t it be the other way round? You should decide what your job should be and not let your job rule your life. It’s really not worth it. The underlying principle of this argument is that time management is not about doing your job well. It is about living your life well. You should have time for everything. And everything means work, play, enjoyment, freaking out and just time to sit and stare; because that is when the most creative ideas are born.

TARDINESS-DON'T WASTE MY TIME
It goes without saying that tardiness is a no-no in any professional establishment. Even if you are standing at a booking office or in a queue and you notice that the person in front of you is taking his or her own sweet time, you might start counting to ten so that you do not lose your temper. Most of us cannot tolerate slowness. Sometimes even if the person who is taking a long time is a senior citizen and is incapable f making haste we produce a range of sounds to show our exasperation. So we have so much impatience with others, how much patience will others have with us. I believe that there are three groups of people in this world. They are: 1. The people who always are on time 2. The people who make an honest effort but more often than once fail to reach on time 3. The group of people who make a living by selling used toothpicks. Actually there is no group like the third group. The people who really come in that group are the people who do not make any effort at all to be on time. But then they cannot be considered as people at all and are better off selling used toothpicks and my blessings into the bargain. I used to find it very difficult to believe that there could actually be people who didn’t care two hoots for time. But there are! I don’t know about you, but I really believe that people who consciously waste their time and because of them, the time of others as well, are real criminals. They should be made to walk the plank! While the rest of us are struggling so hard to make the maximum use of the time that we have, there are people who don’t care a damn about things like being late or making others wait. I suppose most of us fit into the second category that is the group of people who do make an honest effort to reach on time and do things on time but often fail mainly due to reasons beyond our control. So is there any way out of this? Of course there is and that is what we are going to talk about. The first thing that we have to do is develop a deep concern for the time of others. Of course we have the liberty to waste our time. (I consider even that wrong, but opinions may be different). But we have no right to waste the time of others. It is just very, very bad manners to keep a person waiting. It shows inconsideration and selfishness on our part. Once you instill this thought deep into your mind there is a lesser chance that you will keep another person waiting because we all want other to think and speak good about us. 74

The second thing that you have to do is understand that if you are late for something that involves more than one person than the severity of the situation ids raised several fold. Like for instance you are late for a meeting that involves , say, 12 people and they are waiting for you reach to begin the meeting. You might be just five minutes late. That seems ok enough because five minutes is not such a big deal. But a crucial point that you may be missing out there is that it not just five minutes that is wasted. Since there are 12 people who are waiting for you, you are in effect wasting…12 times 5, which is 60 minutes of productive time! Now that looks bad doesn’t it, wasting one hour of productive work? These two thoughts are enough for any normal person to make some haste and see that there are no unnecessary delays because of that person. But still in the course of our daily life, we come across what we call emergencies. Unforeseen events take place, like your car might refuse to start, or the might be a puncture, or some guests might walk in just when you are leaving. Hey, we are only human and catastrophes are bound to happen. Just see to it that others are not kept waiting because of a slight misfortune that you encountered. If you have a cell phone (every body has a cell phone nowadays) it would be best to call the other person and inform that you are late. S long as you can inform the other person your offence becomes pardonable. In case you are unable to inform the person then you really must make amends. Do not, and I repeat it, do not take it for granted that the other person will understand. Too many things have been taken for granted in today’s world. You have to go out of your way to apologize for being late. If you are unable to meet the person on the said day, it would be an excellent idea to send the person a sorry note to make up for your mistake. At least in the way the person can know that you did make a sincere effort but things were beyond your control. Such gestures really streamline our relationships with others. So what do you if you make good efforts to be on time but still do not , because, well because ...of no reason in particular! It happens you know. You start to get ready to go well in advance and everything works out fine without any catastrophes on the way. But yet you reach the place a couple of minutes late and everyone stares at you in disapproval. In such cases the solution is to work your time backwards. Sounds strange, huh? Well, let me explain how it works. You should start to calculate the time you need to reach your destination not starting from your home but from the destination itself. You could try writing it down till you become comfortable with such a mental chart. Your chats will look something like this.

Time needed to reach the office in the elevator: 1 minute Time needed to park car and pick up things: 1 minute Time needed to find parking space: 5 minutes Time needed to drive to office from home: 10 minutes Time needed to reach car park from apartment: 3 minutes Time needed to lock apartment: 1 minute Time needed to dress and get ready: 15 minutes Time needed to shower and dry yourself: 10 minutes
Now you just have to add up these figures and you will get an exact idea of how long it takes you to get to office. Again there is something left to do. You may have to make allowances for certain things where crises may crop up. Like for instance the drive to office. It would be a god thing to anticipate a traffic jam and give your self some grace time over there. Similarly finding a parking space can sometimes prove to be more trickier than a treasure hunt. So you could give yourself a couple of minutes extra time here and there if such activities are involved. Again I 75

would like to remind you that the figures given here are just random figures. The figures may vary from person to person. At the same time I can’t help wondering why a person would want to shower for than 10 minutes! If you work backwards like this, you can get a very accurate idea of how long you will need for something. Then how can you possibly go wrong?

Some tips on making meetings less time wasters.
Meetings have a very bad reputation of being time wasters. How many of us have had to sit through longs hours of meetings and had to listen to people who ramble on and on about issues which I fact need probably five or ten minutes to be decided. As a result, meetings are seldom looked forward to. I thought it might be useful to you to include some tips on how to make your meetings more time effective. The fact is that meetings are not really all that bad and if meetings are well planned they can prove to be the best way to brief a group of people on matters like policies, progress, and points of action. Meetings, in which brain storming sessions take place, bring out the best ideas from people on how to solve issues.

So here are 9 tips on time saving for meetings:
1. The participants should be aware of the subject matter of the meeting. Instead of just announcing that a meeting is to be held, it would be a good idea to inform the participants as to what why the meeting is being called and what are the matters that are going to be discussed in the meeting. 2. Try to get the members seated in time, if one or two members are going to be late and everyone else has to wait for them, that is going to upset the pace of the meeting. 3. Try to provide all the members with the necessary papers and equipment for the discussion. Instead of passing round one paper for every one to see, try and make copies, the extra cost is worth the time. 4. Interruptions should be avoided as much as possible, but the members must feel free to air their views once a person has finished speaking. 5. Care must be taken to avoid eating around the bush and digressions. The presiding person must not hesitate to point out if a person is digressing too much. The members too must be cautioned to stick to the point as much s possible. 6. The members of course must display the high degree and patience expected from professionals. 7. A person must give a summary at the end of the meeting, so that the members leave with the knowledge that something was accomplished and it was not just a meaningless discussion. 8. Cell phones of course must be switched of and external calls on land phones mast be deferred. 9. Refreshments if required must be laid on the table prior to the beginning of the discussion and not served in between. If it is a very long discussion and hot beverages like tea and coffee need to be served, take a break it saves more time.

YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE IN TIME MANAGEMENT
It takes courage and self-discipline to break the habit of procrastination. It takes hard work and determination. But the rewards are great. You will experience greater self-esteem, self-confidence and personal pride. You will achieve life long success. By overcoming procrastination and becoming a focused, effective person, you will accomplish more than anyone else around you and more than you can possibly imagine today. There is no 76

other decision that will be more life enhancing and satisfying than your decision to “Do it now! Do it now! Do it now!”

Perfectionism
Some people will not begin a task because they fear that they will not do it perfectly, which will cause them to feel rejection. Others will start a job, but then refuse to let go of it for the same reason. They may do a job over and over until they feel that it is just right. If you have perfectionist tendencies, breaking the habit will help bring time under your control. For example, if you are sending an internal company memo to a colleague, proofreading it one time is probably enough -- you are wasting time if you proofread it again . . . and again . . . and again.

Overload
Anybody who really "does it all" is likely to drive herself or himself crazy. Good time management means knowing what tasks you should delegate to others, what to pay or persuade someone else to do, and what to cut out of your schedule altogether.

Wasted time
We are wasting time when we do something that is neither enjoyable nor useful, and that could have been avoided. It is a waste of time to watch a television show you do not like, take a long-winded phone call from a telemarketer, or wait in a line at the post office that you could have avoided by going earlier or sending someone else. Simple, wasted time is the most straightforward and easy-to-identify logjam in most people's schedules. Learn More: For a look at some common time-sinks and some proactive thoughts about how to avoid or minimize them, be sure to read Losing Time: Another Look.

TIP Avoid standing in line -- buy stamps online at http://www.usps.com or www.stamps.com.

Next up
Some fundamental principles of time management.

Time management basics
There are some fundamental elements of time management that can help you get a grip on your time and your life. Take a few moments to reflect on the following.

Know your dreams
What do you want out of life? Do you want to sail away on your own yacht, become a talk show host, have a family? Identify your dreams, however distant they may seem. Without these, you cannot make yourself a road map - - a key tool in your time management arsenal.

TIP Use Outlook Tasks to make a list of your life's desires and then schedule a recurring reminder to pop up every few days or weeks to bring you back to your dream of selling your watercolors or owning a racehorse.

Set some goals
As well as dreams, each person should have goals for the medium term (six months to five years), the short term (one week to six months), and even for every day. Start by listing your goals in the following major areas, then add more categories as needed:   Work (what you currently do for a living) True career or vocation (your dream job of the future) 77

    

Family and home Community Financial picture Hobbies, travel, and leisure Physical condition, health, and exercise

TIP In Excel, create a workbook and name it "goals.xls" and then create a separate sheet for each major area.

Make a roadmap
The key to making a plan is breaking down your goals and dreams into manageable tasks. Achieving your dream of sailing away on a yacht may seem overwhelming when contrasted with your current job, income, and daily commute. But if you break it down into steps, it starts to look more doable. For example, taking a sailing class or starting to put 10 percent of your paycheck into a savings account may be goals you can meet within the next six months. To plan properly you will have to make lists, which we will discuss later in this lesson.

Set priorities
It is crucial that you learn to rank the tasks you want to accomplish by order of importance. As you do this, you will identify high-payoff activities and learn to distinguish them from low-payoff activities -- and avoid covert procrastination (yes, people procrastinate doing things they really want to do).

Be realistic
Lists are only as effective as they are realistic. If you keep including five tasks on your daily list that never get accomplished, it will only increase your sense of frustration. Decide whether those five undone tasks are really important. If they are not, wipe them off your list for good; if they are, make sure you set aside time to accomplish them. Likewise, do not plan to accomplish something in six months that will realistically take two years.

Do one thing at a time
Sometimes we all have to multi-task. But try to keep it to a minimum, as it often makes you use up more time than if you simply allot a period for each task. For instance, if you take phone calls while you're trying to read an important document, every time you return to the report you have to find your place again. You could save time by letting voicemail answer the phone while you read, then return any important calls when you finish.

Reward yourself
Days, months, or years without appropriate rewards for your hard work will quickly come to seem very dismal indeed. Break up your years with large rewards and your workdays with small ones. For example, if you accomplish the two things you set out to do in a morning, then do not blaze right into the next task while eating lunch at your desk. Treat yourself to lunch in the park.

Making lists
Now it's time to take the next step in time management. Making lists is a valuable skill that will help you manage your time on a daily, weekly, and long-term basis. It may seem like just one more thing you have to organize, but it's one you'll come to love. You'll need a place to keep your lists. Some people like the power and flexibility of a computer or a personal digital assistant (PDA), while others prefer a calendar or simply a plain old-fashioned notebook. We'll review these different methods later in this lesson. For now, let's take a look at the lists that will help you get your life under control. 78

TIP Keeping lists in your PDA or computer gives you a bigger picture and lets you track both long-term and short-term goals, as well as chart progress over time for such things as budgets, or weight loss and exercise programs.

Long-term list
Your long-term list should include goals in the major life categories you set out in the previous section (home, career, family, etc.). Revisit it at least four times a year so that you can compare the goals you have set to the progress you have made toward them. When you review your list, think about the goals you wrote down. Have you completed any of them? Have the circumstances that led you to establish a particular goal changed? Do you have new objectives? Think carefully, but be flexible.

Daily list
One of the most immediate and effective things you can do to gain control of your time is to write a daily list. Every workday morning, make a list. Every time you have to accomplish something in your personal life, such as plan a vacation or organize a party, make a list. And to make your lists really effective, follow these principles:  Prioritize. Always order your list by assigning a number to each item: use 1 for the most important tasks and 4 for the least important. If you maintain the list on your computer, emphasize the priorities with colored text or highlights. If you are having trouble ranking a task, consider whether it is a high-payoff or low-payoff activity. High pay = high priority. Be realistic. In general, count on most things to take longer than you think they will. There is nothing more frustrating than writing down the 15 things you want to accomplish in a day and completing only nine of them -- especially if this happens over and over. So while it is great to feel energetic and optimistic in the morning, be honest with yourself as you make your list. Unfinished tasks will just make you feel more defeated at the end of the day. Allow for the unexpected. In a typical day, the unexpected comes in the form of mistakes, long-winded phone calls, and last-minute demands. But you probably can make a good guess as to how much of your time goes toward these intrusions. Plan accordingly.

TIP Every day, try to accomplish at least five high-priority tasks on your list. Those that do not get accomplished should roll over to the next day. At the end of the week, try to clear your lists so that every priority, from high to low, has been crossed off. That way, you can start Monday with a fresh slate.

Overcoming lateness and procrastination
Now it's time to discuss strategies for overcoming some common challenges in time management.

Getting there on time
It is all too easy to recognize certain time management problems and identify their solutions. If you are arriving at work late every day, you probably need to catch an earlier bus, and to do that you may need to either shorten your morning shower or get up earlier. You may even have to start going to bed at a different time. Sometimes, though, it just isn't that easy. Even if we can see the problem, we can't get ourselves on the earlier bus. If this is true of you, don't despair. A chronic tendency to be late or to procrastinate can be fixed -- it will just take more thought and effort.

Counteracting lateness
Continually showing up late tells others that you are selfish, inconsiderate, unreliable, and unprofessional. It 79

causes you stress and creates friction between you and others, who are probably far more annoyed by your habitual tardiness than they let on. If you are chronically late, you need to ask yourself why. Are you addicted to pressure? Are you trying to sabotage yourself? Are you over-committed? Do you lie to yourself about how long things will take? While you are thinking about it, try these tricks to help change your ways:        Use a timer, alarm clock, or your PDA to tell you when to stop doing a task so that you have time to get to the next thing. Set your clock or watch five minutes ahead. Put off distractions. If you notice or remember something that needs to be done just as you are leaving, write a note to yourself or jot it in your PDA and do it later. Try to arrive early. If you always aim for 8:00 a.m. and arrive at 8:15, do everything in your power to arrive at 7:45. This is a surprisingly effective trick. Streamline the process of getting ready. If you get bogged down trying on different outfits every morning, deal with it by planning what to wear the night before. Always keep your keys, cell phone, and other essentials in the same place so that you do not spend time looking for them. When you are late, acknowledge and apologize for it. After apologizing several times to the same group of people, you will probably grow more reluctant to do so, giving you added incentive to stop being late.

Procrastination
Learning to overcome procrastination may be the single most important step to gaining control over your life. Procrastination is what separates those who dream about succeeding from those who actually do. There are many reasons for procrastination: perfectionism, a fear of failure, and reluctance to do a boring or difficult task are just a few. Sometimes we tell ourselves that we cannot do something until the time or circumstances are just right. Whatever your reasons are for procrastination, here are some steps you can take to overcome it:  Nothing helps resolve a procrastination deadlock like breaking down the problem. Instead of tackling a project all at once, separate it out into discrete tasks. If you have to do your taxes, for instance, you could decide that on Day 1 you will assemble your paperwork, on Day 2 you will fill out one form, on Day 3 you will fill out a different form, and so on. Or, try breaking it down by time: on Monday, you will spend exactly one hour on your taxes. Knowing that after one hour you can quit makes it much easier to get started. And if you use Outlook Calendar or your PDA to schedule these small tasks, it's easy to see that the project isn't as overwhelming as you think it is. Reward yourself for tasks accomplished.

TIP Make an easy-to-find list of all the things you enjoy doing -- horseback riding, watching reruns of "Gilligan's Island," reading, lingering over decadent pastries in a coffeehouse -- and when you're scheduling the task, schedule a reward from your list.
    Alternate unpleasant tasks with ones you enjoy. Do the best you can with what you have. Do not wait until the stars are perfectly aligned to start a project; do it with the resources and knowledge that you have right now. Get help. Sometimes we feel uneasy about facing a task because we are afraid that we do not know how to do it. If you admit this to yourself and get help, you may find that it was easier than you thought. Finally, to overcome either procrastination or lateness, practice, practice, practice! The reduced stress 80

and greater sense of accomplishment you feel will soon become their own reward.

TIP The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) recommends that its members and interested parties read Dr. Linda Sapadin's procrastination primer, It's About Time! The 6 Styles of Procrastination and How to Overcome Them

Your tools
Tools like calendars, notebooks, and software cannot actually organize your life for you, but they can make getting organized much easier. Everyone needs a system, but what works for one person will not necessarily work for another.

Choose the best organizing tool
Choose the tools that fit your lifestyle. You've heard this many times already in this course, but it bears repeating: keep it simple. If using a new tool requires too much time to learn, or is too much of a hassle, try something else. Let's take a look at the most commonly used tools.

To-do list
We talked about making effective daily lists earlier in the lesson. Where should you keep them? Some people use a simple notebook, and make a new heading (Thursday, Friday, etc.) every time they start a new list. Others prefer to write their lists in a personal organizer or PDA (described later in detail). And some go for high visibility: an erasable white board or a piece of paper tacked to the wall. In general, your daily list should be where you can easily refer to it. Having it handy frees up your mind to think about other things.

Calendar
A calendar is essential to personal organization, but the kind you use is up to you. A traditional one hanging on the wall, with small squares for each day, is good for marking major deadlines and appointments. But many people will want one that devotes a page or two to each day. And still others want the convenience of an electronic calendar, such as Outlook Calendar, so they can set reminders, color-code schedules, and flag important items.

Address book
Losing phone numbers not only means losing track of your personal and professional network -- it also means you will spend more time searching your desk, purse, and trash bin every time you want to contact somebody. An address book, email program, or PDA will help you stay in control.

Personal organizer
Office supply stores carry an enormous range of personal organizers. Almost all of them combine a calendar, an address book, and space for a to-do list. Additional popular features include pockets and zippered pouches, calculators, checkbook holders, and covers that fasten shut with Velcro or snaps. Some people find this kind of all-in-one organizer invaluable.

Computerized organizer: PDA
Much computer software, such as Microsoft Outlook, and hardware has been designed to imitate the functions of paper-based personal organizers. Consider a personal digital assistant (PDA), which is a handheld computer that can be backed up to a program on your computer. Like the old-fashioned personal organizers, all of them include, at the least, a calendar, automatic reminders, an address book, and space for lists. PDAs are compact and easy to carry around, and some models are combined with telephones or allow Internet access. If you lose it, your information is backed up. 81

If you want to update your calendar, lists, and tasks on the go, choose a PDA (HP has several powerful models that are, essentially, handheld PCs). Family members with busy schedules can update your calendar, grocery list, etc. Get everyone in your household into the habit of updating information on the computer by a certain time each day and then synchronize your PDA after the cutoff. You'll keep your schedule up to date, and everyone who needs you to attend a baseball game or help with homework know how to reserve your time.

TIP There are many programs you can download (often for free) to your PDA to help you organize. Check out http://www.tucows.com/downloads/Windows/PDA/ to get an idea of what's available.

The bottom line: whatever works
You may have to try a few different organizational tools before finding the ones that really work for you. But once you have found your method, it's important to stick with it. Habit really helps. If you change your system every two months, you will never really know where to look for a phone number or notes on a past event. If you stick with your system over time, you will be able to dredge up information you jotted down years ago.

Moving forward
This lesson introduced the concepts of working with time. Use some of the ideas and tips now, but don't worry if all you do is think about the issues raised here. It will take time for you to prune your schedule and clear the weeds from the garden of your life. Your use of time will begin to change gradually as you change your thinking. The next two lessons shift the focus to the home and give you a chance to roll up your sleeves and make some serious, tangible organizing progress. Lesson 4 will give you tips and guidelines for de-cluttering two very important zones of your home: your kitchen and your closets.

Assignment - Set up your paper system
Part 1: Your time budget
Using your day planner, computer program, or notebook, budget your time for one month. Include your work schedule as well as all of your time outside of work. Budget time for dates with friends, for entertainment and exercise, for errands, family, and solitude. Be sure to budget some time each week to work toward your big-picture goals. Now, stick with the plan for a week. At the end of a week, take note of problems, revise, and move forward.

Part 2: Focus on your goals
The point of time management is to gain control of your life and ultimately achieve your dreams. The best way to start, then, is to work backwards from your dreams. What are they? Brainstorm. No idea is too big. Write them down. Identify the dream that you hold most dear to your heart, and turn it into a concrete goal. Now, still using your pen and paper, start to break it down. How many years will it take to get there? What steps will be required? Figure out what steps you can take this year, this month, and even today to bring you closer to your goal. If you have other dream goals, break them down too. You now have the beginnings of a road map.

MAINTENANCE: SYSTEMS AND ROUTINES TO STAY ORGANIZED
ESTABLISH ROUTINES
In this lesson, you'll find out how to maintain organization throughout your home. It's not as difficult as you might think. 82

Organizing is a process. After you get organized, you need to establish systems and daily routines to stay organized. Think about the following systems:  Laundry system: Establish household guidelines for clothing. Teach your children to make a decision when changing clothes: dirty clothes go in the hamper, and clean clothes go on hangers or in drawers. Provide children with rolling hampers so they can take their dirty clothes to the laundry room on designated evenings. Enforce rules by taking away privileges or adding chores. Meal-planning system: Keep an ongoing grocery list. Stock backup supplies of essential cooking items so you don't run out. Make large batches of family favorites and freeze what you need for times when you're too busy to cook.

TIP Keep your grocery shopping list on your computer. If you prefer an electronic list, use your PDA. If you like to scratch things off a printed a list, use Word or Excel. Excel's row-and-column format is ready to go for such a task, but you can easily use Word's Table feature to create a similar list. Keep a master list of items you purchase on a regular basis and then cut and paste these items into a daily shopping list. As you purchase new items, update your master list. You can even design your list around the aisle layout of your favorite grocery store.
 Paper-processing system: Sort your mail only when you have time to sort all of it. Use your inbox for any piece of paper that enters your home. Schedule time to do the daily paperwork. You set up a papersorting system. Cleaning system: Keep cleaning supplies on every floor of your home. Do a little bit every day. Delegate chores to family members. Home office system: Sort and file important papers and projects on a regular basis. Keep only files you need for the current project on your desk. Instead of making a frantic dash to the store to get an ink cartridge for your printer or paper supplies, make a note in Outlook Tasks to check supplies on a regular basis and order online in bulk -- you'll get a better price and never run out of supplies in the middle of a project. Special occasion system: To simplify gift-giving for birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays, keep track throughout the year of the preferences of friends and family members. If you use Excel, you can maintain one workbook with a separate sheet for each person. Your spreadsheet can have such columns as Favorite Color, Dress/Shirt Size, Favorite Author, Favorite Restaurant, and Favorite Sports Team. During the holidays, create a spreadsheet to manage gifts given and received. Make columns for Description, Given By, and Thank You Card Sent.

 

TIP To save money and time on greeting cards, as well as create a customized card that your recipient will love, use the free online templates at the HP Activity Center at http://h10050.www1 .hp.com/activitycenter/us/en/index.html. With card stock and ink cartridges on hand, you can whip out a customized card without a trip to the store and a long search among the racks to find the perfect message. Use your own digital photos to create a card or pick from a variety of card templates.
 Time-management system: Take a few moments at the end of your evening meal to discuss upcoming events with family members. Look at your household calendar. Reflect on tomorrow's appointments and to-dos.

If something in your home is causing you to feel disorganized, stop and think about it. Can you develop a system? What is causing the disorganization? If you already have a system, where is it breaking down? 83

TIP Take the time to analyze your disorganized areas, and then create a system to handle it.
You can develop a system to simplify almost any aspect of your life. If you have trouble keeping up with gifts, consider incorporating some of the following ideas:     Set up an area for wrapping paper and supplies Buy birthday cards ahead of time or a l l at once, your own custom cards with a scanner, printer, and digital camera or learn how to make

Buy gifts monthly or quarterly for upcoming birthdays, graduations, and holidays Make sure you enter significant gift occasions on your calendar (or whatever you've chosen as your primary planning tool) and allow plenty of lead time for gift selection and wrapping

TIP It's easy to schedule gift occasions in Outlook Calendar. Then you can set Outlook to remind you every year 10 days ahead of time to get a card for Aunt Edna, or call the florist to send her a bouquet of her favorite flowers.

Keep it clutter-free
There are two steps you need to follow to keep your home clutter-free. They're not complicated, but do require discipline and a little bit of time: 1. Designate a home for every item. 2. Follow a daily uncluttering routine. If you follow these steps daily, you'll save time in the long run. You won't spend countless hours searching for lost items. Your home will appear cleaner, so you won't have to clean it as frequently if you don't want to. And you'll have more time for your family. Let's take these steps one at a time.

Designate a home for every item
You've probably heard the old saying, "A place for everything, and everything in its place." You might feel overwhelmed at the thought of assigning a home to every item in your home. It's not so difficult. Remember the most important rules of organizing: 1. Keep like items together. Keep your office supplies in one place. Put all your hot tub accessories together. Store picnic supplies together. 2. Keep things where you use them. Keep scissors and tape in every room. Store hot tub accessories near the hot tub. Put picnic supplies in the garage in the summer and in the basement in the winter. It's easy to assign homes for your possessions. Here's how: 1. Get a pen and paper or grab your laptop and open a new Word or Excel file. In the left column, make a list of your most frequently used items, which might include extension cords, tape, scissors, pencils, reading glasses, calculators, and batteries. In the right column, assign a place for each group of items. Perhaps you'll store extension cords under the basement tool bench and batteries in the hall closet. 2. Gather the items from around the house, and put them in their assigned homes. 3. Label the assigned places. Use labeling software or masking tape and a pen. 4. Post the list. It's important to post the list while household members are learning where items belong. Continue adding items until you've categorized and organized everything in your home. You'll find that your 84

home has a calmer atmosphere. You'll know you've reached the goal when you can leave the house and tell someone exactly where to find an item over the phone.

Follow a daily uncluttering routine
What's the minimum you need to do to keep your home uncluttered? Where does clutter accumulate in your home? Most people find that the kitchen, family room, and entryway are trouble zones. First, make sure that each trouble area is organized. Hang up hooks in the entryway for jackets and backpacks. Place a mat or shelf in the area for shoes. In the winter, use baskets to collect gloves and hats.

TIP If you or someone in your household is having difficulty getting dirty clothes to a basket or hamper (you have one, right?), move a basket to where the clothes naturally fall most often. After you firmly establish the habit of corralling your dirty duds, move the basket to a better location. It's progress in steps.
Next, think about what you need to do to unclutter each area. If you unclutter daily, you'll find that you can stay more organized and live a less-stressed life. It helps if you develop a checklist you can follow to keep the clutter at bay. The checklist may include the following daily chores:       Take out the trash. Most children can easily accomplish this chore. Clean the kitchen. Wash the dishes. Wipe kitchen counters. Unclutter. Walk around the house with a basket and pick up clutter. Sort paper. Open your mail. Prepare for tomorrow. Lay out clothes. Pack lunches. Set out breakfast dishes. Place backpacks, shoes, coats, and sports uniforms by the front door. Make a list. Look at tomorrow's schedule and make a task list. Plan no more than 70 percent of your day to allow for interruptions and emergencies.

If you do these quick tasks daily, you'll keep your home uncluttered, and you'll have more free time on the weekend. Be sure to delegate some of the chores to other household members.

PLAN FOR ORGANIZATION
You can take certain steps to ensure the long-range organization of your home. It's important to have the assistance and support of your family in all your efforts. Take the time to discuss your organizational goals with them. Make sure that they understand why you want to be more organized. If you explain that you want to have more time to spend with them and you want to spend less time barking orders and complaints at them, you'll be more likely to gain their support. Pay attention to the amount of "stuff" you bring into your home. Think before you buy. When you see a beautiful decorative object, decide whether you have somewhere to put it before you buy it. If you buy it, maybe you can get rid of an old decorative item. Every hobby and activity requires stuff or equipment. Organize items that go along with each hobby so you can put them away when not in use. When someone outgrows or tires of a certain hobby, consider donating the paraphernalia that goes with it. If you already have too much stuff in your home, start using the in/out rule. You can't bring something into the house unless you take something out. Schedule a weekend twice a year to reorganize your home. People and interests change. Adapt your systems and routines. 85

We learn by doing." -- Aristotle
Running an organized household requires discipline and planning. Most of us are so busy living our everyday lives that we feel we don't have the time to plan or the energy to be disciplined. However, it doesn't take much effort after you have your systems and routines in place.

CONCLUSION
Time management, like any other skill, is not hard to develop. Time should be kept not as an enemy, but as a companion towards your destined paths. There's a time for love and romance, for jubilation, and for sorrow. There’s a time to relax, and a time to catch up with the running moments. But what is important is to be in control of time, no matter how pressured or tight any situation might be. We have different perceptions regarding this temporal aspect we call time. But in the end, what is important is to be on time for everything, under the natural conditions of things, on a normal flow of moments. Communication lines worldwide are vast and interrelated. Roads and transportation system create dizzying paths and passageways. More so, data are overflowing and overwhelming, drowning us with limitless ideas and knowledge. Likewise, we have to be equipped with the right information and updated with the critical intelligence to get into where we must go, wasting no time at all. We should lead our lives with ways to manage our resources, energy, and time efficiently.

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