Running Out of Time?

By , February 26, 2011 11:56 am

“You don’t have to let yourself be terrorised by other people’s expectations of you.”

Sue Patton Theole, Author – Courage to Be Yourself.

Do you ever feel like Indiana Jones running away from that big round boulder in the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark??

Instead of a big ball of stone chasing you, it’s your workloads, boss, family and friends all wanting a piece of you!

Most people I talk to haven’t got enough time. They are struggling with productivity at work. Unconsciously, they feel compelled to take more work on than they can realistically achieve. It’s a form of self-deception fuelled by the need to impress the boss or because everyone else seems to be doing it. They’re stuck in a rut of reactivity and chaos.

You eventually get home and your partner, kids and even the family dog wants a piece of you! So it doesn’t stop…

Here’s the challenge…

Striving to stay ahead of that rolling ball is exhausting!

  • You don’t want to let anyone down
  • You’re frightened to admit that you can’t do it all

Trying to keep up with all these expectations means that you become thinly spread over a wider surface area.  Your own priorities go unaddressed such as thinking time, rest, quality time with the family. It’s like stretching a rubber band further and further until the tension is so great that it SNAPS…

Are you taking on more that you can comfortably deliver?

Here’s how to get out of the rut:

1. You CAN’T DO it all! To be successful you have to learn how to be selective. The truth is that you can’t DO IT ALL… It’s impossible. For example, Trying to take on the workload of three other people who resigned at work is INSANE and IMPOSSIBLE (I coached someone this week who was trying to do this!!). Selectivity starts by NOT adding more to your already busy schedule – It’s about eliminating things that are of low value and don’t help you in achieving your goals. Then focus on things that give you High Value results.

2. Get clear on your High Value Work (HVW)What is REALLY important to you? What are your dreams and goals? What is going to make you more successful, keep you healthy, increase your income and help you to create and maintain your desired lifestyle? HVW can be anything important to you in your life. HVW includes time for thinking, being creative, relaxing, regenerating, learning and sleeping! You focus your time effort and energy here!

2. Identify your Low Value Work (LVW) – What is distracting you from your goals and dreams? These are tasks, demands, other people’s agendas and time stealers that suck your energy and time but have low or no pay-off. They take us off course because we become distracted and unfocused. Some are old habits and patterns. Look for opportunities to delegate, automate or delete your LVW.

3. Define standards and boundaries – Standards are your own personal policies – what you will do and say ‘Yes’ to. Boundaries are the limits and what you will say ‘No’ to. Setting boundaries and communicating them clearly teaches people how to treat you. It gives others guildelines on ‘how we do things around here.’ Most people respect boundaries once they’ve been communicated. Write a ‘Here’s what I do…’ and a ‘Here’s what I don’t do’ list for yourself. Remember to maintain your boundaries otherwise people will begin to trespass on your time!

4. Get good at saying NO - You have to learn how to step into your power and become the leader of YOU. Saying No and pushing back on other people’s agendas and distractions stops you handing control over to others. Successful people are able to say no without feeling guilty. You’re saying no to others so you can say yes to YOU.

5. Have some discipline -Most of us are undisciplined. We know what we should be doing or where our focus ought to be. We then allow busy-ness to takeover. Discipline involves you getting good at concentrating your attention away from any distraction and focusing it on your daily priorities and longer term goals. It’s about having focus and reminding yourself daily about what’s important.

You are the source of your time. Stop being a victim of it.


2 Responses to “Running Out of Time?”

  1. Lance says:

    Elaine,
    …this is so much where I’m at right now. And for me, just the idea of easing back a bit has been like a load lifted off of my shoulders. So, this is extra-good for me to read today, and just let it all soak in a bit more…

  2. elaine says:

    Hi Lance – Glad my timing was good for you. Instinctively the last thing we want to do is ease back – It really does make a difference cuz it helps us to get clear again, re-decide and eliminate low value stuff.

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