Tick Talk Issue 30“Appointments once made become debts. If I have made an appointment with you, I owe you punctuality; I have no right to throw away your time, if I do my own." - Richard Cecil
Strengthen Your "No Muscle"
The first person we need to get good at saying no to is ourselves. We are often our own worst enemy. We often break our focus on what are really time wasting activities.
If you'd like to strengthen your "no muscle", a starting point is to take a personal inventory of your self-imposed focus breaker habits. Are you interested? Scan the following list and put a check by the things that you do that break your ability to stay focused.
|______ Insufficient planning||______ Your own errors|
|______ Failure to listen carefully||______ Your need to over-control|
|______ Unrealistic time estimates||______ Poorly defined goals|
|______ Misplacing or losing items||______ Failure to anticipate changes|
|______ Responding to trivia||______ Socializing|
|______ Surfing the net||______ Attempting to do too much|
|______ Getting lost in details||______ Preoccupation|
|______ Ineffective delegation||______ Unwillingness to say "no"|
|______ Arguing||______ Lack of self-discipline|
|______ Procrastination||______ Failure to prioritize|
How did you do? Did you check a lot of focus breaker activities? If so, don't fret. We have good news for you. All self imposed focus breaker activities are one hundred percent controllable. But first you have to strengthen your "no muscle" to yourself. How? By daily practice.
Here's the process. Pick an item on the list that is troublesome, for example, "attempting too much." Attempting too much destroys our focus because we spread ourselves too thin and stress ourselves. Rewrite the negative habit as a positive habit. For example "I never attempt too much." Put it on your action list every day in your planner. Practice it every day for at least three weeks. Practice not attempting too much just as you would practice any skill you are trying to learn.
Once you've mastered one, pick another on the list and control that one. Don't try to control all of your focus breakers at once. Work on them throughout the year. Watch your productivity increase as your " no muscle" gets stronger and stronger. It's highly rewarding and not all that hard.
Which focus breaker will you start working on today?
Meeting Yourself Face to Face
We demonstrate what is truly important to us by how we actually spend our time. When there is a disconnect between what we say is important and what we do with our time, we need to take a reality check. The reality may be uncomfortable, but it is true. We vote on what is honestly important to us with our time.
I invite you to look at your calendar and appointment schedule for the last three months. What does the record say about your priorities? If you are not pleased with the story it tells, make the necessary adjustments and align your time with what really matters to you.
Playing Tag as a Child Was Fun. Telephone Tag is NOT!
For sure, playing telephone tag is a time-waster. So why play? Make a change by setting telephone appointments and honoring them. If you can't take the time to talk with somebody who just called you, say so and set an appointment to call them back, rather than just say, "I'll call you back."
When responding to voicemail, don't just leave a message, leave the best time to reach you. And above all, avoid irritating others by saying your number so fast that it's hard to understand, forcing them to waste time by replaying your message over and over to get your number.
These simple tips not only save time, they are good manners.