Have you ever felt like the only person not orchestrating your life is you? Does it feel like someone is pulling your strings from the time you wake up until you lay your head down to rest? It doesn’t really matter who the puppeteer is. All that matters is your belief that you are not in control. The great thing about belief systems is the opportunity to change them.
The first step to gaining control in this arena is to understand only one person controls your time and that is you. You could take one of the many excellent time management courses. If you are like most of the attendees, you leave feeling electrified. In your excitement you may even have purchased some CD’s, audios, videos, workbooks, and books with worksheets or any combination thereof.
While most of us are enamored at the idea of time blocking, we are also equally horrified at the idea of this kind of structure. The fact is, the ability to work with time harmoniously is not only difficult but totally foreign for most people. The balancing of priorities is an arduous task as there are many more days that run amuck than days that run as planned. The reality is that the best of intentions of doing the right things somehow become derailed by daily interruptions that take us off track.
The idea that you could achieve control over your day and eventually your life by simply following some instructions is an allure many of us cannot resist. It is my belief that as a society we have built ourselves a self-imposed prison. We see a clock or a calendar and our stomachs tighten with the dread at the idea of getting it all done. Time is a commodity that there never seems to be enough of as we fill the days. Below are some techniques to help remove the stress associated with time:
- Carry a notebook with you everywhere you go. Every time you have a flash of clarity or an idea that you don’t want to lose write it down. This will remove the baggage that prevents moments of brilliance from disappearing. You might even consider having tabs that delineate different topics, such as marketing, business growth, strategies, process flow or miscellaneous snippets that you want to revisit later.
- Schedule your business builder activities first. For some that might be calling five closed clients before arriving at the office. For those looking to increase their Internet presence, it might be writing their bi-weekly blog from home or at the local coffee establishment before heading into the office.
- Allow a breather in between scheduled tasks and meetings. This will give you space to handle the pressing matters, tabling the rest of them or delegating to appropriate team members.
- Spend a minute or two thinking about the end result you have in mind before picking up the phone or answering an e-mail. By taking the time to do this, you will script yourself for success.
- Turn off your phone and email when you are involved in your high pay-off activities. Treat this time with as much respect as you would a meeting with a top referral source. By respecting your time as much as you do other folks, you will have the ability to accomplish an enormous amount.
It is very easy to fall into the trap of prioritizing everyone else over yourself. It is time to stop complaining and blaming time for your lack of accomplishment. Take the reins, set the boundaries, do not vacillate and most importantly respect your time as much as you do others. Remember life somehow expands itself to fill all available time slots. Create the rules for the way you spend your time and others will follow your lead.
Cindy Douglas’ background includes founding three companies, developing a custom database serving retail loan officers, and building a RE lending department for a CU. She is a national/ international speaker and author of “Proven Secrets for Staying on Top in the Mortgage Business, 17 Hard Fought Lessons from Mortgage Professionals Still Standing in the Wake of 2008” (October 2014). She can be reached at email@example.com