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Multiple Applications of the 80/20 Rule
by On April 19, 2010

Abby Marks BealeHave you ever heard of the 80/20 Rule? It is also known as the Pareto Principle or the Rule of the Vital Few and it states that there is an imbalance between causes and results, between effort and reward.

The world is not equal where effort and reward are related. The Pareto Principle basically says:

– The majority of what you do each day (80%) has little impact.
– A minority (20%) has a major impact.

Here are some 80/20 rules and what you might want to do once you are aware of them:

80% of your profit is brought in by 20% of your clients.
Realize all clients are NOT equal. It is sometimes necessary to “fire” clients when they consume too much of your time for the percentage of your earnings that they represent.

80% of your work can be done in 20% of your work day when you are focused and uninterrupted.
Block off 20% (96 minutes) of an 8-hour workday to concentrate on your priority projects. What tasks will have the most impact for you or will contribute to reaching your goals?

80% of interruptions can be eliminated.
The other 20% can be shortened or controlled. Practice grouping similar activities, such as phone calls, email, and filing, so that you do not bounce from one kind of action to another type where you interrupt yourself. Create “Discuss With” folders for others in your main group to limit the number of times you interrupt others and they interrupt you. Watch for the “gotta minute” requests; suggest planning some real time to discuss.

80% of what you keep is not looked at again – you only return to 20%.
Be selective in what you choose to keep. Ask yourself: Is it current? Does it pertain to my sphere of work? Does it have any legal or financial implications? Will I ever use this again?

80% of the time you wear the same 20% of your clothes.
Declutter not just your closet but all of the spaces around you. Clutter is distracting because it diffuses your focus, time consuming if you have to hunt for an item, and stressful when you are coping with too much.

If you often feel overwhelmed by conflicting demands or the number of tasks facing you, look for the 20% that will make the difference. This puts you in control of your life, both for business and personal endeavors.

Thank you to my friend Denise Landers of Key Organization in Houston, TX for allowing me share these ideas with you. For more of her great time management ideas, go to www.keyorganization.com.

About the Author:
Abby Marks Beale is founder of The Corporate Educator, a professional speaking and training company specializing in helping with busy people work smarter, faster and just plain better. Go to www.TheCorporateEducator.com.

Top 10 Tips for Better Time Management
by On April 6, 2010

time management tipsIf you find yourself asking, “Where did the day go?”  these top 10 tips for better time management will help you become more focused and productive.  Remember, your time is valuable.

1.  Shift from Not Valuing to Valuing your Time.

This is an important change to make and when it happens you will never waste another minute! In a dollar sense – this means you are comfortable charging for your lifetime of knowledge and experience – don’t allow clients to take this for granted. You have invested a lot of time and energy. In life, we only get one chance with our time – we cannot go back and use the last 10 seconds!

2. Get the most out of your day.

Every now and then ask yourself: Am I making the best use of my time? If not, stop what you are doing and begin working on a project that will allow you better use of your time. If you are ‘bogged down’ with a specific situation, get up and go for a walk and then come back and tackle it.

3. Work with goals in mind.

It’s amazing how differently we work when you have goals to work towards. If you don’t know what your goals are, spend sometime working out what they may be. Use them as a road map! Examples may be professional (project deadline, sales quotas, career advancement, etc) and personal (health, fitness, family relationship, financial, etc).

4. Handle every piece of paper or e-mail only once.

With paper use the ‘3 D’ rule of Do it, Dump it or Delegate it. Never handle a piece of paper twice. Don’t even think of placing it in your ‘to get to’ pile – Handle it NOW!  As for e-mails the same rule can apply so you either action it, delete it or forward it to some one else. If you print a copy then use the ‘3 D’ rule.

5. Ask some one who is efficient – What their secret is?

Ask the most efficient person you know what their secret is and how did they develop these habits. Then see if it will work for you.

6. Don’t allow anyone to take your time from you.

Set up boundaries around your time. If you are stopped in the hall for a conversation, ask for this person to arrange a meeting with you (if appropriate); don’t allow co-workers to infringe on your home time; if someone is late for an appointment and haven’t contacted you – give them 15 minutes past the appointed time and then move on. It is up to you as to how you allow other people to use your time!

7. Build family and personal time into your day.

We all need to have the support of our family or friends – so make sure you build them into your daily habits. You don’t want to finish your career and realise that you missed out on the closeness and development of your family.

8. Your health is important – isn’t it!

Maintain your health and fitness because this is what will help you through in the long run. There are three things that I feel are valuable to us all- they are time [which we are talking about]; knowledge and energy. Take care of your energy and its levels. At the end of the day being overworked and stressed is only going to hamper your health. So take extra care of this – go for a walk, have a massage, spend time with your family, stop and smell the roses or book in for your yearly medical check up.

9. Clean the clutter from your office and home.

Take some time to remove the clutter from your life. The more you simplifier your office or life the more time you will have. Clutter zaps your energy and allows you to waste time on non-valuable tasks. So plug the holes today.

10. Work in your peak performance times.

Schedule demanding tasks to the part of the day that you work best, where your energy levels are at their highest. It maybe first thing in the morning or early afternoon – work out when it is and then see yourself moving ahead.

About the Author:

Deb Pilgrim is the Entrepreneurs’ Business Mentor. Deb’s FREE weekly Biz Booster Newsletter provides entrepreneurs with how to tips that will increase your profits, grow your business whilst gaining more time for yourself. To learn more about this how-to newsletter visit http://www.debpilgrim.com to sign up for your FREE copy.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Deb_Pilgrim

Feeling Stress? Ask Yourself One Question
by On April 5, 2010

Abby Marks BealeThink about it: From the moment we wake up to the second we go to sleep, we are making decisions about how we spend our time. I’d like to share with you my secret weapon for making smarter time choices and reducing stress: I ask myself the BEST time management question:

What is the BEST use of my time, right now?

For example, this morning when the alarm went off, I had to decide whether to get out of bed to exercise (which I know will make me feel energized all day) OR hit the snooze button and get a little more sleep (which I felt I could use). Today, I decided to get up and exercise (hence I have energy to write this column!) while other days the answer to question is to hit the snooze button. Both are smart decisions, if I consciously decide that it is the best use of my time. There are literally hundreds of other similar pivotal points in my day that benefit from using this question.

I especially love to use the question when I have just 5-10 minutes in between activities and I’m not sure what to do. When I ask myself this question, I think about what I’d like or need to do today that can fit in this timeframe. I have found many things I can do in this short time that enables me to get more done in less time every day, such as:

* Peruse the newspaper
* Fold a load of laundry
* Research something on the internet
* Call for an appointment I need to make
* Organize my stuff
* Do the dishes
* Pay a few bills online
* Read a few of my online newsletters
* And so on!

Each of the above, when completed, gives me a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Now don’t we all need a little more of that at the end of our busy days?! Consider writing this question on a piece of paper and put it where you work. You may be surprised what you decide to do!

So now that you are done reading this tip, what’s the BEST use of YOUR time, right now?!

About the Author:
Abby Marks Beale is founder of The Corporate Educator, a professional speaking and training company specializing in helping with busy people work smarter, faster and just plain better. Go to www.TheCorporateEducator.com

How to Get A Grip On Email
by On March 18, 2010

Abby Marks BealeWe received some great feedback on our article last week – Reduce Email In-Box Clutter. Therefore today, we wanted to share some tips on how to get a grip on the information overload and time wasters email can present.

Do you genuinely like doing email? If you do, then you don’t need to read this.

But if you really dislike (okay, despise) doing email, then read on. Over the past few years, I have seen a ground- swell of busy professionals who are increasingly challenged and frustrated by the sheer amount of email that comes in and the poor quality of the incoming messages. Learning to manage it can be a lonely battle.

Let’s look at a few things that might be frustrating you and what you might do about it:

1) Are you the slave or the master of your email?

Slaves are obsessive-compulsive about checking their email every few minutes (or seconds) at work AND at home and are constantly afraid they might miss something important. Masters are confident their email will be there when they are ready to check it, not when it dings. They also let others know how to reach them when something is truly important (hint: it’s NOT via email!) so they aren’t slaves to their inbox. Become a master and you will concentrate better and get more real work done by the end of your day.

2) Is email time planned in your day?

It seems that people expect to work a full day with projects and meetings, and then add in email. Email takes an average of 2-3 hours per day for most business people but most aren’t planning it into their days. As a result, they work more hours than needed and/or bring it home. Reduce your stress about email by making time for it on your daily calendar.

3) How well do you know your email software?

If you are like most, you haven’t any advanced software training except for how to send and receive messages. You may be struggling with filing, organizing, tasking, and finding messages once received. I encourage you to learn your email software a little each day by pulling down a new menu and follow the arrowed path to see what capabilities your software has. You will be pleasantly surprised with what you come upon. If you use MS Outlook, there is much to be found at Tools, then Options.

Though there are more frustrating factors, I hope this helps you like doing email a little more because email is here to stay. Enjoy it and thrive!

Get “Abby’s Top 10 Strategies for Slaying the Email Dragon” ebook to continue you on your journey to become the master of your email!

About the Author:
Abby Marks Beale is founder of The Corporate Educator, a professional speaking and training company specializing in helping with busy people work smarter, faster and just plain better. Go to http://www.thecorporateeducator.com/.

Reduce Email In-Box Clutter
by On March 4, 2010

Abby Marks BealeUsing Your “Rules Wizard” Feature

Microsoft Outlook, a popular email software program used by many companies, contains many time-saving functions, once you know how to use them. (Though you may not be using Outlook, your program may still have similar functionalities.)

Using your Rules Wizard feature (under Tools) to filter and sort incoming mail is like having your own personal assistant opening your paper mail. The verbal instructions you might give to an assistant are similar to the rules you can create using the Rules Wizard. You might want to create rules to:

– auto-file mail from specific senders to folders you have created
– auto-file mail with specific keywords to folders you have created
– notify you when an important message arrives|
– flag messages from anyone you designate
– assign categories
– move messages you send
– and more!

Becoming familiar with how each of these rules works will help you to reach the time management goal of “handling each item only once”. Or, if your rule automatically deletes certain items, never handling it at all!

Tip:
Try to keep no more than 20 to 30 emails in your in-box. Any more than this wastes your time reviewing them and remembering why they are there in the first place!

Try this:
Find a 30-minute block of time. Spend those 30 minutes familiarizing yourself with the rules feature of your email software program. Make sure you understand the function of the various rules and decide which ones will be most beneficial to you.

Important Note:
ALWAYS test your rules to make sure they work according to your design. If a rule is set-up improperly, you might select out important emails unintentionally.

Useful Resource: Check out “Abby’s Top 10 Strategies for Slaying the Email Dragon” eBook.

About the Author:

Abby Marks Beale is founder of The Corporate Educator, a professional speaking and training company specializing in helping with busy people work smarter, faster and just plain better. Go to http://www.thecorporateeducator.com/.

18 Tips to Stay Focused at Work
by On January 12, 2010

time management tipsPhones ringing, interruptions for co-workers and emails….the next thing you know an hour has pasted and you have nothing to show for it!  It happens to everyone – losing focus.

For today’s Top Tips Tuesday we have 18 techniques for you to stay on (or even ahead) of schedule.  Please post a comment if you have any other tips on staying focused in a hectic work place.

Be Free!

*************************

  1. Write out a daily task list and plan your day.
    There’s nothing like a task list sitting next to you to keep you focused. When you have a list of the things you need to accomplish in a day, having that close to you constantly reminding you of what needs to be done is a great way of keeping on track.
  2. Allocate time slots colleagues can interrupt you.
    In a busy work place, people are moving and talking all the time. If you play a role in a team where others need to interact with you, try allocating a time slot they can interrupt you. Instead of having people stop by your desk every 10 mins and asking you questions, let them know of a time in the day, say between 2-4 pm you can be interrupted. At all other times, you can really get some work done.
  3. Apply time boxing.
    Instead of working at something till it is done, try working on it for a limited period, say 30 mins. By that time, the task is either completed or you allocate another time slot, perhaps in another day, to pick it up again. This way, you keep your work fresh and engaging throughout the entire working day.
  4. Setup filters in your email.
    If you spend a lot of your time communicating and planning in front of your computer, chances are you deal with emails on a frequent basis. Setting up filters in your email client can be a great way of sorting out what’s important and urgent from personal stuff which can wait. Instead of dealing with a single Inbox with hundreds of unread email, you only need to deal with smaller folders categorised by project, priority and context.
  5. Do not check personal email in the morning.
    Checking personal emails can be very distracting even with filters setup. This is especially true when your friends send you links to interesting articles, jokes or videos on YouTube. If you’re not careful, you can get side tracked for hours. Instead of checking your personal email as soon as you get in, try starting work straight away. This will build up some momentum as you ease into your work day. You should check your personal email only after you have a few tasks completed or underway. Also, if you do not want to perpetuate a particular distracting email thread, just don’t reply to it until after work.
  6. Set your IM status.
    If you use Instant Messenger, when you don’t want to be disturbed, make use of the status and set yourself as being away or busy. Your friends and colleagues will honour that. They can either send you an email or look you up later when you aren’t as busy.
  7. Listen to the right types of music.
    Music is a great way of settling into the working routine. In addition, having music can drown out office noises like printers and background chattering. Be careful though, depending on personal preference, some types of music are not particularly conducive to productive work. For me, I can’t work when listening to songs with lots of lyrics because the words interrupt my thinking process.
  8. Use the headphones but leave the music off.
    Some people prefer to have absolute silence when working. I think that also depends on what kind of work you are doing. If you’re doing some serious planning or something computational, having music blasting in your ears may not be the best thing for keeping focused. Try using headphones or ear plugs to block out the background noise but leave the music off.
  9. Fill up a water bottle.
    Keeping yourself hydrated is pretty important for all sorts of health reasons. Instead of going to the water cooler with your glass every hour, try filling up a water bottle at the start of the day. This does a couple of things – firstly, it limits the starts/stops associated every time you get up for water and secondly, it avoids being sucked into lengthy discussions around the water cooler.
  10. Find the best time to do repetitive and boring tasks.
    No matter how much you try to avoid it, you’re going to have to face doing things which are either repetitive or boring. For these tasks, I find it is best to choose a time in the day to work on them. For example, I’m more alert at the start of the day, so it’s better to work on things which require brain power early. Working on boring tasks that can be done via auto-pilot are better left towards the end of the day when I’m usually tired.
  11. Bring your lunch and have it at your desk.
    I’m not suggesting you do this every day, but if you really have to focus and are trying to meet a deadline, having your lunch at your desk really helps. The normal one hour lunch break can really interrupt any momentum you might have built up during the morning. I find when I’m eating lunch at my desk, my lunch breaks are shorter and I can get through a few emails while I’m eating. After I’m done, I’m straight back working on the next task.
  12. Don’t make long personal calls.
    Most of us have a good separation between our working and personal lives (or a least try to). I think we can all agree we should avoid having work intrude on our personal time as much as possible. The reverse of this also applies. Try limiting the time you spend doing personal things during work as they can be distracting and draining on your motivation. For example, you do not really want to be thinking about your weekend away with your spouse when you really need to get things done.
  13. Clean up your desk.
    Some of you may have desks which can only be described as ordered chaos. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as long as you can find what you need without too much digging around. However, if you can’t, I suggest cleaning up your desk. That doesn’t mean having an empty desk, it just means having neat stacks of paper, all filed in the correct location. It also helps tremendously having all the things you need easily within arms reach. For example, if you need a place to write, having your pen and notepad close by and easily accessible is incredibly useful.
  14. Get a good chair.
    If you sit for long hours at your desk and I’m sure some of you do, you might find it helpful to get a good chair. I find it’s pretty hard to stay focused when my neck and back are sore because I have a bad setup at my desk. A good chair can eliminate this, allowing you to work for long stretches without breaks and physical distractions.
  15. Use shortcuts on your computer.
    If you find you do the same thing with your computer more than once throughout the day, you might find it helpful to look for ways in which you can do them without too much manual repetition. For example, if there’s a project folder you access all the time, try adding a shortcut to your Explorer or Finder so you can get access to it with a single click, instead of expanding folder after folder in the tree panel.
  16. Close programs you’re not using. 
    In most cases, you only need a few applications open at the same time. Instead of Alt-Tabbing constantly and fighting the computer to locate the program you need, try only having the applications you need open. Close everything else. For example, if you have already located a file and no longer need a particular Explorer or Finder instance open, close it. There’s no reason to leave it around at all.
  17. Limit time on Digg, Delicious, news sites and blogs.
    I don’t think I need to say too much about this. There are so many sites on the Internet worth looking at, including this site . Digg, Delicious, news and blogs are great from an interest perspective, but they can really take you away from the work you should be working on. Try to limit going to these sites during the working day. If you really have to, try doing it during your lunch time. No, you don’t need to have your finger on the pulse every single minute of the day.
  18. Change your mindset and make work fun.
    For me, I find it difficult to stay focused on doing things I’m not by nature interested in doing. In most cases, there’s probably nothing I can do about it. However, be mindful of the fact that your perception of work is something you can control. For my last tip here, I suggest you try changing your mindset or turning work into a game. An unfocused mind, is an unchallenged mind. So make things fun!

I hope these tips will take you closer to more focused and productive work days. If you are still in need for more tips about staying focused, you can take a look at a previous blockbuster smash hit article I wrote entitled 11 ways of staying focused. In that article, I approached the issue from a top down, rather than bottom up perspective.

Hey, what are you still doing here? Get back to work!

Source:
Dave Cheong,  http://www.davecheong.com/2006/08/14/18-ways-to-stay-focused-at-work/

Top 10 Tips for Time Management
by On August 4, 2009

time management tipsYesterday we announced our Contest Winners in our Time Management Contest. Today, for the Top 10 Tips Tuesday, we wanted to give you some time management tips.

Be Free!

1. Work on your Highest Priority Task Durning Your Peak Performance Time

Schedule demanding tasks to the part of the day that you work best, where your energy levels are at their highest. It maybe first thing in the morning or early afternoon – work out when it is and then see yourself moving ahead.

For me, I am most productive in the morning. I schedule all of my “high brain” activates such as writing and planning at that time. I save administrative tasks for the afternoon.

2. Check Your Email on a Schedule

It’s not effective to read and answer every email as it arrives. Just because someone can contact you immediately does not mean that you have to respond to him or her immediately. People want a predictable response, not an immediate response. So as long as people know how long to expect an answer to take, and they know how to reach you in an emergency, you can answer most types of email just a few times a day.

One of our instructors at Freedom Personal Development actually lists when she checks and responds to email in the bottom of her signature. You can also set up an auto responder that states when people can expect a reply.

3. Ask Someone who is Efficient – What their Secret is?

Ask the most efficient person you know what their secret is and how did they develop these habits. Then see if it will work for you. Make sure it isn’t someone who is efficient just at work, but in their entire life. They get tasks done ahead of schedule and still has time to spend with family, work out and take vacations without stressing out.

If you want to go right to the source of time management mastery, check our Brian Tracy’s program, How to Master Your Time. Brian will give you so many strategies to impore your efficiency you can pick and choose the ones that work best for you.

4. Don’t Allow Anyone to Take Your Time from You

Set up boundaries around your time. If you are stopped in the hall for a conversation or someone barges into your office, ask for this person to arrange a meeting with you (if appropriate); don’t allow co-workers to infringe on your home time; if someone is late for an appointment and haven’t contacted you – give them 15 minutes past the appointed time and then move on. It is up to you as to how you allow other people to use your time!

5. Create Daily Task Lists with Scheduled Times

If you don’t know what you should be doing, how can you manage your time to do it? Some people like writing this list out by hand because it shows commitment to each item if you are willing to rewrite it each day until it gets done.

To really ramp up your to-do list, actually schedule time when you will be focused on each task and nothing else. Think of this as budgeting your time. Make sure to schedule “catch up time” for items that may take longer than you expected or to schedule any interruptions in your day.

6. Eat the Elephant One Bite at a Time

Break down each big project into sub-actions: For example, if you need to send out a marketing email, break that up into: a)Write email draft, b)edit email text, c)layout email, and d)send. When you break down projects into smaller tasks, they become more manageable, and you can allot a realistic time frame for getting the project completed.

7. Learn How To Say No

In all honesty, there are times where you may not be able to refuse a project at work or a task at home, but try to not take on more than you can accomplish. If you must, look into using outside help. In your business or the workplace, this outside help can come from another company, someone you met at a networking event or look at doing a skills exchange like……….you may be able to provide a service in return for whatever.

Rather than trying to do it all yourself – sometimes all you have to do is ……ASK!

8. Practice Delegating Tasks and Assignments

An effective manager of time recognizes that our use of time in certain areas is truly wasted. There are some tasks that others could accomplish for us and thus allowing us to focus on those things of more importance. It might be useful to allow our children to wash the dishes or gather up the dirty clothes. It could improve work related assignments by sharing them with others who are capable of doing them. It also helps build character in others when we demonstrate a trust in their ability to do something normally performed by us.

No doubt there will be those in the workplace who simply view this as a passing of the buck or more workload for them. However, if we treat individuals respectfully, demonstrating our confidence in their abilities, they will be more readily open to helping out for the benefit of everyone. Are there tasks at work or at home that can be delegated to other employees or other family members? Can we train someone else to take on a role or responsibility normally performed by us? Why not consider it and share the work load?

9. Consider Hiring Professional Help

As previously stated, if you are overwhelmed at home, you may want to call on a professional housecleaner or gardener or use the Supestore home delivery services it doesn’t matter what tricks you use to free up more time.

10. Move Your TV to another Room

What ever room in your house the TV that you watch the most is in, move the TV someplace else. This will cut your the habit of sitting down and watching the boob tube. Try just cutting out at least two hours of viewing time and work on more important tasks.

Sources:

http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/8_Simple_Steps_to_Improve_Your_Time_Management.html
http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/Sullivan1.html 
http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2006/12/10/10-tips-for-time-management-in-a-multitasking-world/

Winners of the Time Management Contest Announced
by On August 3, 2009

Leah SimpsonThere were so many fantastic comments, over 120 in fact! Thank you for the great participation and for making the Time Management Contest one of our most popular to date!

Your answers represented many valuable aspects of time management from prioritizing, to doing important first, to Covey’s quadrants, to the importance of family and personal time.

Some of your comments about giving tasks A, B, C priorities reminded me of my mom’s weekly plans she made every Sunday growing up (I learned a lot from her!).

All of these are valuable, and in the end here’s the winner:

First Place and winner of 3 one-on-one coaching sessions with me is Julie Bernardin, comment #59.

Julie brought up a key time management concept:

Be aware of the importance of aligning activities with higher life purpose. That awareness provides value for the seemingly mundane and a framework for selecting activities that are truly important.

Julie’s comment nails dead on what so many people miss in managing their time–it’s not just about getting tasks DONE, it’s about knowing that completing those tasks draws you closer to things that are very important to you.

Many people commented about priorities (not just at work, but keeping family priority) and lists (how much more gets done with them), and this answer combines those and takes it one step deeper.

Sometime people just prioritize their tasks for the day, deciding that A is more important than B because of a deadline, or a boss, but in the end, it’s not really in line with what matters to the individual. When your time is scheduled in line with your ultimate purpose, as Julie said, the mundane is valuable, and the important becomes clear. I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Second Place and winner of an “Expect Success Book” is Ray Mondragon, comment #115.

Time management is not about organizing your calendar, it is about organizing what needs to happen in your life and committing to seeing it through.

Third Place and winner of a Freedom Personal Development Water Bottle is Felicia Burke, comment #108.

You can plan all day and not get anything accomplished. Set clear priorities, getting the MOST important or MAJOR tasks completed first (even if they are the hardest ones). Discipline yourself to begin immediately and keep working on it until it is completely done before you move forward to the next.

Ray and Felicia brought in the important concepts of commitment and discipline–its’ great to PLAN, but following the plan is critical!

Commitment and discipline are the ways that you actually move toward what you are looking to accomplish.

Thank you again to everyone who participated and congratulations to our winners. Watch our blog this Thursday for our next contest that has to do with overcoming obstacles to your goals.

Be Free!

Leah Simpson
Instructor and Coach

2 Time Management Questions to Keep You on Track
by On July 23, 2009

Time Management. What a funny word. In many ways it doesn’t really exist because time continues, we can’t manage it. We can only use it.So, how do we insure that we are using it effectively?

In my experience coaching people, there have been two simple questions that helps to guide people on how to use their time.

I encourage you to write these down. Pull out a piece of paper, right now, and a big marker and write these down and then post it right next to your desk.

#1 Is this the most valuable use of my time right now?

When confronted with that question, it’s usually not a difficult answer. Honestly, you know. You will know if you’re wasting time because the question is geared to you. Is this the most valuable use of time right now? By asking yourself this question, answering honestly and adjusting your focus when necessary will keep you on track.

In case there is any doubt if what you are doing right now is the best use of your time, ask yourself the second questions, which is:

#2 Is what I’m doing, right now, moving me closer to my goals?

One, this implies that you have goals. Hopefully, you do. If not, read some of the goal setting articles on this blog. You can also download a free copy of our goal setting worksheet.

For those of us who have goals, this question is very pointed. Again, you know if what you are doing is moving you closer to your goals. This helps you to weed out the things that waste your time. Sometimes we have projects that we believe need to get done, and honestly, they’re not that important in terms of the goals and directions that we want for our career and life.

Putting these questions in front of you and periodically checking in with yourself will keep you on track. It will keep you moving in the direction of hitting your goals and achieving the things you want in your life.

Is this the most valuable use of my time right now?
Is what I’m doing moving me closer to my goals?

Simple questions. Keep it simple. Move forward. Create solutions.

Be Free!

Leah Simpson
Instructor

PS – Be sure to enter our Time Management Contest to win 3 one-hour sessions of time management coaching.

4 Ways to Simplify Your Life
by On July 9, 2009

Simplicity allows you to move through life more easily, more quickly and with much greater enjoyment. I learned this through thousands of miles of hiking.

In long distance hiking, the goal is clear – walk from here to there. Your ability to achieve that goal with ease, comfort and safety is dramatically affected by the load you choose to carry.

Many hikers carry gear that is seldom used, contributes little value and mostly just adds weight to their packs. Over time I learned to reduce my pack weight so that everything I need to be safe and comfortable (including food and water) for 5 days weighs about 30 pounds. If I replace some old equipment, I can easily reduce that to 20-25 pounds. I know hikers who actually hike with 15 pounds of gear.

As a result hiking is much easier and more pleasant. I can travel farther and faster, while actually expending less energy. I am less prone to injury, because my body is not as stressed out. To reduce my load, I simply had to get over my fear, and learn the skills necessary to be safe and efficient with minimal gear.

If you could achieve the same kind of results in your life, in your business, your finances, your family, what would be the result? You can do this if you choose to simplify.

4 Tips to Simplify Your Life

  1. Be clear about where you are going.
    When your destination is clear, and all you have to do is get from here to there, it makes other decision easier. Examine your life to see what parts of it will help you and which parts will just weigh you down. Here are three places to start looking to simplify.
  2. Look at your time commitments.
    Are you spending too much time on unimportant activities? Consider saying no to some of these commitments. Stop doing trivial things and start devoting your time only to things that will move you closer to your goals.
  3. Look at your house.
    Do you have so much stuff that you have trouble finding what you need? Do you spend too much time maintaining your possessions? Is too much money going to pay for things that aren’t really improving your life? Identify the excess baggage and sell it, cancel it, give it away, or toss it out.
  4. Look at your friends.
    There are people who make your life better, and there are people who cause problems wherever they go. Simplify your life by spending more time with the people who improve your lot and less time with people who complicate things.

I’m fully aware that most of us live lives that are complicated. There are certain things you cannot do without – the hikers’ equivalent of food, water and shelter. But much of what we think we need we don’t. We are simply attached to it by our habits.

Be brave enough to release things you don’t need. The decisions may not be easy. It may require developing some new skills. And it probably won’t happen overnight, but you can begin to reclaim your life and dramatically increase your freedom by reducing your baggage and going lighter and faster over the trails of your life.

Be Free!

This article was written by David Denis owner of http://www.rocksolidwriting.com

David is a freelance writer for hire offering article writing, sales letters, training manuals, speech writing, seo content, sales writing, blog articles, copy-writing service, sales scripts and business name ideas.

To learn more, or request a quote visit http://www.rocksolidwriting.com/freelance-writer-quote