A recent article in the New York Times, Productivity Isn’t About Time Management. It’s About Attention Management by Adam Grant makes a good point about productivity. “Being prolific is not about time management. There are a limited number of hours in the day, and focusing on time management just makes us more aware of how many of those hours we waste.” Grant came to a realization that attention management – the art of focusing on getting things done for the right reasons, in the right places and at the right moments – is what matters.
Time management really is an oxymoron. You can’t manage time, you can only manage yourself. Maintaining and cultivating your focus gets you in a zone that is key to your productivity. What are your priorities this week? Get going on them, excluding distractions and non-priorities, and you may find your week is a highly productive one.
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When chaos shows up, best to be ready for it. Chaos can sweep you away into disorganization, disorientation, unbalanced emotions and confusion. You don’t want that to happen, do you?
Being ready for chaos involves the ability to quickly get grounded and fully into the present moment, focus, discernment, insight and emotional intelligence. Developing these skills can help you be ready for whatever chaos comes along!
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In my last blog post, I looked at being fully present in the moment, as you face a challenge. There is another useful aspect to being present – you can consciously decide how you will spend each day. Doing this requires your focus – on what is important, your expectations, your commitments and how much time you have.
What if, each morning you ask yourself what you are going to do with the day ahead of you? It could lead to higher productivity, fulfillment and motivation.
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Challenges are part of life. When you find yourself falling back into the past or drifting into the future, as you face a challenge, remember that today is the best that you have. Looking at a challenge from the present moment allows you to see where you are right now and what is available to you. Sure, you can benefit from looking backward or forward, but doing so can be a quicksand that doesn’t provide answers or get you very far. Don’t stay too long.
Next time you face a challenge, remember that you have today to do what’s needed to turn things around.
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Sometimes, it takes extra effort to keep things going. It may be that your motivation is low, you are not feeling well or something or someone outside you is making things difficult. How do you keep going, despite the pull?
First, assess whether what you are trying to do is important for you to get done. If it is, look next at whether you have what you need to keep going. If you do, find ways to increase your motivation – perhaps by rewarding yourself or rethinking your reluctance. If you don’t, get what you need.
When you feel a pull or drag on something you are doing, recognize that it is there and minimize its ability to take you off course. Focus moves you forward. Delay holds you back and doesn’t serve you.
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You may hear a lot about planning for your life and career. Yes, there are a lot of generalities, advice and platitudes out there. If you have let them slip by, take another look. Planning is well worth your effort and time. What does a plan do for you? It focuses your attention, sets your priorities and requires that you think about what you want your career and life to be.
Compare the differences between having a plan and not having one. Which looks better to you? Granted, without a plan you may feel you have more freedom, but planning is about creating freedom by defining the life you want to live and how you can get there.
Do you have a plan for your life and career? If not, try creating one. It can be short or long-term. Tie it to your dreams and aspirations and you’ll be on your way!
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Time is a key factor in your career success. Take a minute today to look at how time has factored into your life and work since the start of 2018. How are you doing with time? If you are doing well, good for you! Keep up what you are doing. If time is getting the better of you, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
• How realistic are my expectations of the things I can get done in terms of the time I have to do them?
• Are stress or distractions getting in the way of using my time well? Am I maintaining the focus that I need to in my work?
• Is being tired or lack of exercise affecting my ability to get things done?
How you are handling time should always be on your radar. For more about your relationship with time, see my blog posts: Your Relationship With Time and Ten Ways To Change Your Relationship With Time
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What does it take for you to be “on point”? Being on point increases your influence, productivity, self-confidence and effectiveness.
There is a lot in our world that can pull you off point. These things can be: creating distractions, unsettled emotions, stress and anxiety, poor preparation, being tired, losing focus, being late, falling into dull routine or disliking what you are doing.
Keep yourself on point by being aware of what you need to be at your best!
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We are coming towards the end of the year and to the holidays that start to wind things down. It is a good time to think about the year to come. What would you say is “next” for you? Figuring this out helps you focus and set your intent.
Here are a few questions to help you get started:
• How can I grow?
• How has my perspective shifted this year?
• What do I want to leave behind in 2017?
• What am I willing to commit to in 2018?
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Coasting can be a good thing to do at times. Other times, it may not be. There are right times for coasting: to give yourself a breather, when demands on you are lighter or when you’re on a roll and moving forward requires less effort than usual. Coasting can be harmful, however, when you have someplace to go and are slowing yourself down, when your motivation is low or when you are lost.
The downsides of coasting when you have someplace to go are that you are not getting where you want to be, your resistance can build and you can start falling behind.
Let yourself coast when it makes sense. Otherwise, keep your momentum and focus going so that you can get where you want to be.
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