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Jul 24, 201812:50 PMThe Gray Area

with Donna Gray

Make time serve you

Philip Dormer Stanhope, the fourth Earl of Chesterfield and an English writer, once said, “Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it.”

Here we are — almost August. Time flies when you’re having fun! At a recent business dinner, my tablemates were talking about how fast this summer has flown by. Some have been busy making a summer filled with lasting memories to get them through the bleak days of winter in the frozen tundra. Some have used their summer “beating the bushes” for new business for the coming fourth quarter. Everyone at the table agreed that they need to find a way to get more out of the hours available for work and play. These busy people agreed that the busier and more involved they get, the harder it is to get a grasp on their time.

I have a friend who uses more than one method of keeping track of where she belongs and when she should be there. She thinks nothing of jotting her life schedule down on an 8.5 x 11-inch calendar along with using color-coordinated pens for the different categories in her day. She also records these appointments in an online calendar along with making notes in a purse-sized calendar. I know she’s never late to a function; however, I marvel at the time and creativity she takes to get everything solidified and in the proper time frame.

A business and life coach recently shared that one reason for feeling like time is getting away is that we may be spending each day accomplishing only those things by which our performance will be judged instead of carving out time to enjoy present moments. This same coach suggests that if we want better control of our time, we should keep a daily log of everything we do. When we can see the black and white proof of how we are using our time, we’ll be ready to take corrective action. Here are a few suggestions he shared:

  • Spend time like money. Use it for what is important to you, not what others tell you to do.
  • Look at your daily life routines and change or get rid of what’s not necessary.
  • Use your freshest times of the day to do the most challenging work.
  • Several times a day, ask yourself if you’re making the best use of your time right now.
  • Even though email and texting is the norm now, write less and phone more.
  • Make an outline of topics to discuss on phone calls.
  • Go to work earlier than others to use uninterrupted time. If possible, do some of your work away from the office for the same reason.
  • Don’t take on projects that belong to others. Encourage others to produce on their own.
  • Write answers in the margins of letters you receive. When responding to emails, reply in different color type.
  • Don’t take any unneeded meetings. Conduct efficient meetings when needed.
  • Use waiting time as a gift.
  • Take work with you wherever you go so you can do tasks that you can’t find time for at the office.
  • Carry a small pad and pen to jot down ideas.
  • Work on one task at a time.

We all spend time waiting in line, in traffic, and waiting for appointments. Find ways to make better use of this time. Don’t let time fly by without you. As Willie Sutton, the famous bank robber, once said, “Don’t serve time; make time serve you.”

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