(5) Ways to Maximize Your Time

Time: Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift.  That’s why we call it the present.

Everyone has the same amount of time to work with on a daily basis, but some use it better than others. Why? Have some people figured out how to better optimize their work hours with advanced time management skills? Are they more cognizant of how precious time is, or are they like the majority of people who may not give the concept more than a fleeting thought?

There have been many books written on time management and how to become more productive. Even if you have not read them, you likely have a general sense of what they are going to teach.

Instead of focusing on how to maximize the hours in your day, let’s looks at some reasons people do not leverage and use their time well or constructively.

Below is my take on the top five time management inhibitors. A few of the ideas may not be new to you, but others may provide insight into why, if you are in the majority, you do not recognize time as a precious gift.

  1. The perception of time is skewed and not realistic because of the limiting belief that there is an unlimited supply.
  2. Many people just go about their day, even when they have a schedule, with a relaxed sense of having more time than they actually do.
  3. Not having a command of time management practices, either because they have not developed any, or because they have not considered this an essential life skill to master.
  4. Having no internal drive. Having any sense of motivation can significantly heighten a sense of the importance of maximizing time.
  5. Awareness of time, and how quickly it can pass when you do not manage your day. Of course, building time into your schedule to relax and sleep are naturally factored into your time each day, but some people may be more prone to doing or needing more of these two activities than others.

Now, here are five simple ways to maximize your time.

  1. Create a weekly schedule. It does not have to be detailed. Be sure to factor in activities such as exercise, preparation of healthy meals, and mini mental health breaks.

 

  1. At the end of each month, create a list of goals you want to accomplish either professionally or personally the next month. The list does not have to be outrageous or unattainable, but you could include some that are longer-term mixed in with short-term goals.

 

  1. Take a few minutes to think about how you are currently using your time. Are you simply going through the motions of waking up, going to work, coming home, and hitting repeat? If this is the case, think about incorporating some activities into your day that you can eagerly anticipate. Having something to look forward to either each day, or multiple days of the week, is highly motivating.

 

  1. Break your day into segments. I’m a morning person, so when I know I have to get something done which is not a thing I either like to do, or need to have intense concentration on. I plan to get it finished ASAP. Granted, you do not always have control over the ideal time to get things done, but if you can divide each day into planned segments you will find you will get more accomplished.

 

  1. Build rewards into your schedule. Make sure your day is broken up with items such as taking a walk, getting a cup of coffee, spending a limited time on social media to catch up on current events. Include time to interact socially with either co-workers or friends. Or perhaps a mix of the two – who knows what will happen.

Our minds work better, and we tend to have increased energy and the ability to concentrate, when we have a command of our time.

None of us can save time in a bottle, but these points to ponder should help you consider how you spend your time. Ideally, you’ll become more productive and have a heightened sense of how precious time really is.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. We also work with individuals from students to executives and business and sports teams to coach them to learn how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

Announcement: I will be publishing my first business book this month. If you would like more details about my book, please send me an email at kathymurphy@me.com . Thank you. – Kathy

 

Hang in there. Or, should you?

Just when you think you can’t take one second longer of any situation you are in, by some miracle you find the ability to hang in there for one more hour, day or week. Where does this discipline come from? If you played on a competitive sports team, chances are this was one of the numerous valuable skills you acquired from being on any team.

Recently I heard a coach talk about the topic both players and parents dread. It was about playing time. His example was about a player who saw limited playing time on a championship team. He asked us what we thought this athlete would say if you asked them whether they contributed to helping the team win the championship?

The coach went on to tell us this athlete would say “yes”, they contributed to helping the team become champions. How did they do this or feel this way if they did not see much playing time? Actually, it is quite simple. They felt this way because they showed up at practice every day, learned the plays required, worked out and stayed healthy, cheered on their teammates from the sideline and committed to the team during the season. By doing these things they one hundred percent contributed to the team’s success. If they did not contribute their talent, energy, discipline and time, the players who got more playing time may not have been prepared well enough to compete and ultimately become a championship team.

Until hearing this coaches example, I had not considered this aspect of an athlete’s contribution to the team. Especially when they are not getting the playing time they deserve or are allocated. It became obvious to me that the limited playing time athlete is still making a valuable contribution to the team, although their desire to see more playing time is not happening during game time. However, it is happening when they are practicing and contributing to making them and their teammates better together.

I my opinion, the athletes who are getting less playing time are potentially more important and valuable to the team than those who are getting the playing time. However, this can be hard for the competitive natured athlete or parent to see and appreciate.

The point is, although you may not be in a starring role either on the field or at work, you are contributing to the overall success or forward progress of your team. Each team member plays a valuable role. Some roles have greater visibility, like the athlete on the field, but this does not make their role more important. In fact, those who are in less visible roles play an integral role in keeping the team together by acting as the “glue” or foundation. You might have heard of the expression “Half of our success in life is gained simply by showing up each day.” This is true both in sports and business.

So, it might be more obvious about when to quit your sports team, but I do not recommend doing this, even if you think you are not being recognized as a valuable asset to the team.

If you were chosen to be on the team, you were chosen for a reason. Although this might not be what you want to hear, you are needed on the team, and quitting it will not serve you well. The lessons you will learn by sticking out the season or your time commitment to the team will provide you with deep and lasting skills to take on future challenges far better than those who threw in the proverbial towel. Quitting is easy. Staying can be hard, but it will be worth it when you complete your commitment to the team. You will not regret staying on the team when you look back in time. You will regret quitting for the rest of your life.

Switching gears and now focusing on knowing when it’s time to quit your work team is not always a straightforward process. It should not be done with careful consideration. Why? One of the biggest reasons is because you made the decision to work for the company for a reason. Perhaps your reason to work at the company had not been thought through well enough in terms of whether it was the right type of company, role or team for you to be on from a personal or cultural perspective. I’m talking about company culture, and sometimes it is harder to know upfront if the company culture will be a good fit for you.

Typically, if it is not the right company culture for you, you will find out relatively early, and this is one of the good reasons to leave the company. Here are some other reasons or scenarios to think about it terms of whether it is acceptable to leave your company:

  • There are actions or practices happening at the company which you consider to be an ethical violation, either personally or professionally.
  • You learn after a few years that the growth path you thought would be available to you was only fiction, and you now find yourself in a role which does not have a path forward.
  • Your boss or management team is not supportive of your decisions, or you are being micro-managed and not allowed to perform the role you are responsible to carry out.
  • The job description for your job has been altered so much since you took on the position, perhaps not on paper, but by the verbal expectations communicated by your boss.
  • When companies are growing quickly, your job description may unofficially change dramatically, and may now be in poor alignment with your skills. This can happen, and how this scenario is managed is what will make the difference in terms of whether you should consider staying in your role or leaving the company.
  • You are offered an opportunity from another company which has presented itself at a time when you now have the skills to consider leaving your current role. If this option is not going to be available at your company for a year or more, consider whether it makes sense to stay with the known company, or take a risk in pursuit of your desired role sooner. Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side, and sometimes it’s not. It’s not always easy to know which one it is.

Whether we realize it or not, we all have options to pursue going after what we really want to do, and sometimes we have to take risks to do so. One of those risks can be leaving the company you are presently at. Leaving your company can be a scary thing to do, but it can also set you on a new and better career path.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. We also work with individuals from students to executives and business and sports teams to coach them to learn how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

Announcement: I will be publishing my first business book this month. If you would like more details about my book, please send me an email at kathymurphy@me.com . Thank you. – Kathy

Leaders, please be yourself, not who you think you need to be.

BEING A LEADER:  True leaders have the ability to set an intention, then motivate, inspire, and empower people to follow. A Gallup poll found that leadership involves many factors, but one of the most critical is giving followers what they need.  The top elements cited?  Trust, compassion, integrity, and stability.

Some of the most effective leaders I have worked for, and with, have a few characteristics in common, but all of them understand the importance of commanding respect while simultaneously remaining true to their personality.

They are not afraid to show a softer side when interacting with their teams. In fact, this is one of the most endearing and important traits that makes people want to follow the leader.

If you are a leader, work for one, or want to be one, think about whether you or the person who is the leader possesses this quality. Perhaps they do, sometimes, but you only get glimpse of it, and not consistently. Now imagine what it would be like to work for this type of leader.  Or to be this type of leader.

Some people take on a different persona at work.

Are you a big bad wolf at the office and a cuddly teddy bear at home?  As Dr. Phil might ask, “How’s that workin’ for ya?

The other thing people do is to develop their leadership qualities based on being collaborative, and approachable. They allow their naturally ability of high emotional intelligence to flourish.

Unfortunately, emotional intelligence is not something that can be taught, but it can be mimicked.  If you feel you are lacking, pay attention in scenarios to which you are exposed on a regular basis.

For example, watch as successful leaders properly greet a guest and make them feel comfortable, or ask someone you notice who seems sad, or upset, if they need to take a moment, or want to talk.

Leaders who are open to the human experience, are in no way weak.

Sometimes we conveniently forget that our leaders are human, too, and typically under constant pressure. Having to mask their emotions is difficult, but doing so is not a sign of weakness.

When our business leaders reveal that they are experiencing emotions, it sends signals to the people who work for them that they are simply human.  This makes them more approachable.

Contrary to what you might think, when a leader exhibits emotion, many people either do not notice, or do not comment, if they do.  Some may simply be oblivious, while most are probably reluctant to approach the boss.

It’s okay to ask how they are doing, and do so sincerely.

You might be surprised by the reaction you get.  Be prepared to respond in a kind and empathetic manner. This sentiment will be appreciated more than you can imagine. What’s more, the leader will perceive you in an entirely different light the next time you interact. Why?  Because you allowed them to be themselves for that moment. This is not something many leaders feel like they can or should do.

Climbing up the proverbial corporate ladder can take years, but some people reach the top faster than others. How? There are a number of factors, but one of them is that they are likeable, and part of being likeable is being human. These people are also typically bright, and able to access both the right and left sides of their brains equally. They have a personality that makes others believe in and want to follow them.

Of course, this is an over simplification of the other criteria one needs to climb the rungs. Typically, it is much harder for those who reached the top because of an inside connection to earn the respect of their team. Authentic leaders who have earned the right to be placed into leadership roles are the ones whom we admire, potentially aspire to be like, and ultimately respect and want to follow.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. We also work with individuals from students to executives and business and sports teams to coach them to learn how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

Announcement: I will be publishing my first business book this month. If you would like more details about my book, please send me an email at kathymurphy@me.com . Thank you. – Kathy

(7) Tips – To prevent your job title from defining who you are, and your potential.

Are you guilty of letting your job title define who you are and what your potential is? Too many people focus and get hung up on where they are presently in their career journey and do not spend enough time or attention on planning where they should be heading. I’m sharing tips with you to consider, so you do not fall into this trap.

Regardless of where you are on your career journey, how much time do you set aside to think about and plot out if you are heading in the direction you want to be going? Your current job title is something you have earned based on a number of factors such as the experience you had attained to be in the role, how well you meshed with the team you are on or leading, your level of potential to grow in the role you have, and perhaps because you have had success in a similar, yet junior role.

Due to the fact we spend the majority of our time each week working, doesn’t it make sense to carve out a minimal amount of time to plot a course to make sure we are on the right career path? Granted not everyone enjoys the planning process, but it is necessary. As a matter of fact, Benjamin Franklin is credited with the quote “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” I know people do not intentionally plan on failing, and sometimes failing is actually the best experience you can have. It’s how you leverage learning from your failures which help you to build upon your experience, and since no one is perfect, failing at something is a healthy part of the learning process, and something I highly recommend you embrace. If you are not experiencing periodic moments of failure in your career, you are playing it too safe, and potentially not learning as much as you could if you were instead taking what I will call more calculated risks.

When people experience what they would classify as moments of failure, this is often the time they start to think about whether they are in the right role, have the proper support from their boss or team, are at the right company who fully embraces their talent, or whether they have the proper experience to be successful in the role. Here are some questions and tips to consider when you are at a low point or discouraged by either the title you have, or the career path you are on:

  1. Is the role you are in one you would have expected to be in when you were planning out your career path at any point in time?
  2. Are you in a role which you accepted because it seemed like the role and title which was desirable from a society perspective, but not satisfying personally to you?
  3. Are you energized from the role you have, or does it drain the life out of you?
  4. Do you ever feel you are not fully applying your natural talents to the role you have?
  5. Is there a clear path forward in the role you have?
  6. Have you considered making a lateral role move to obtain more experience which could put you on a more satisfying career path?
  7. If money were no object, what would you enjoy doing as a career?

Sure, thinking about winning the lottery is one approach to not having to concern yourself with your career journey, but ultimately this is not a realistic concept to be considered. It is well documented that people who are applying their talents in their roles on a daily or regular basis are significantly more engaged in their roles. People who feel this way will likely tell you they do not mind going to work. Can you imagine feeling this way?

Although there is no 100% guarantee you will always be satisfied with the work you are doing, the title you have, or the career you have chosen to pursue, it is important to consider pausing and taking the time to significantly consider what level of career satisfaction you are willing to live with. You also need to factor into consideration whether you are in the right career and whether your title means more to you than you think it does.

More importantly, have you thought about whether you are sacrificing your physical and mental health because you think society or people you know are putting pressure on you to be in a career or role which looks good on paper, yet makes you feel unauthentic and miserable? If your answer is yes, or maybe, now is the perfect time now for you to stop defining yourself and who you are by your career and title. When you fall into this trap, you subconsciously limit your future career options, and wouldn’t you rather be heading in a direction of having a better and more satisfying career path? Take the path of being your authentic self in the career and roles you choose for the right reasons. You will be much happier when you do this, and don’t procrastinate. Start today.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. We also work with individuals from students to executives and business and sports teams to coach them to learn how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

Announcement: I will be publishing my first business book this month. If you would like more details about my book, please send me an email at kathymurphy@me.com . Thank you. – Kathy