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Is Time Your Friend or Your Enemy?

Is Time Your Friend or Your Enemy?

Western society promotes being busy at all times and at all costs. As a result, it seems that we are always rushing. We live by the calendar and we are run by the clock. We learn early on in life that you had better be on time for things or bad stuff will happen. Be late to turn in your papers and your grade gets lowered. Be late to pay your bills and you get stuck with a penalty. Be late to finish your work and you may be out of a job.

As a result many people conclude that time is their enemy. It must be battled and beaten. But there is no permanence in any victory over time — the clock gets reset tomorrow and the calendar at the first of the month, or at the very latest at the first of the year.

Consider the popular phrase, “Life is too short to __________.” Here are some beauties you hear all the time:

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  • Life is too short to hold on to regret.
  • Life is too short to work at a job you hate.
  • Life is too short to play small.
  • Life is too short to {insert your favorite here}.

Aphorisms like these certainly imply that time is your enemy. However, time is not the reason why you ought to give up regret, revamp your career, or up your game. Even the shortness of life is not the reason. There is an assumption going on here that entirely misses where the real problem lies.

A short life and limited time would be a blessing in these circumstances. After all, the less time one spends in some undesired state, the better. A short amount of regret? Sounds great. A short time at a crummy job? Excellent. A short time of cowering in the corner? What could be better?

So let me give you a different way to look at things:

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“Life is too long to __________.”

When you approach your problems and challenges from this standpoint, time is not only not your enemy, it is your best friend. It is because of the abundance of time and life that you are motivated to seek change and transformation. After all, since you are going to be here for some time, don’t you want to make the best of it?

When you have a habit or circumstance that needs fixing, imagine what your life would be like if you delayed taking action to fix it. See yourself a year from now with this problem still hanging around. What impact has it had on you? How has it hurt your relationships? What is it doing to you at work? What cost have you paid to your health?

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Now take it out to five years. What have you lost? What have you suffered? What have the people close to you been forced to pay?

Time keeps marching on. It is now ten years with your unresolved problem. What has happened to your faith and hope? How insurmountable does this problem now look? How much weaker are you now than when this problem first arose?

We are far from the end of the calendar. Twenty years go by. Can you even remember life without your problem? Can you muster the energy to even care anymore? Are you locked in to a state of resignation?

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When you consider the impact that leaving something unresolved for a long period of time can heap upon you, you start to realize the value of taking action in this moment. Time isn’t out to hurt you here. It is giving you an opportunity. Some resolutions will require hours or days, some weeks or months. But time is there for you. Take what you need.

Time has no agenda. It will allow you whatever you need. This is not to say that some problems don’t have deadlines. But it is not time that imposes such restrictions. Time will either offer you volume or impetus. It is on your side.

Waiting for the perfect moment is a fool’s errand. You don’t have to be very experienced in life to know the truth of that. Partner with time to get the most out of life. Time is waiting for you.

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Active Listening – How to Truly Listen Recognizing the Distinction Between Blame and Responsibility Do You Have a Big Mission? The Difference Between Dreaming and Having Vision Is Time Your Friend or Your Enemy?

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Last Updated on September 17, 2018

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

How bad really is multitasking?

It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

So what to do about it?

Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

Now, forget about how to multitask!

Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

1. Get enough rest

When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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2. Plan your day

When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

4. When at your desk, do work

We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

5. Learn to say no

Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

6. Turn off notifications on your computer

For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

The bottom line

Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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