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The Four Best Ways to Defend Your Time

The Four Best Ways to Defend Your Time

Many of us are finding ourselves overbooked, over committed or simply overwhelmed by our daily work tasks.  You may even find yourself running short of time by other commitments that we make to family, friends or worthy causes.

In today’s hectic pace, you have to defend your time in order to provide your best to your family, your friends, your business, your customers and most importantly yourself.

There are countless studies that highlight the negative effects of multi-tasking and over booking your time.  Some finding indicate that trying to multi-task can even temporarily lower your I.Q. by 10-15 points, which is a greater decrease than if you were to smoke marijuana.

The following are four ways that I advise my personal and business clients to defend their time:

1.    Schedule Your Time.  If you use Outlook or other email tools at work be sure that you are blocking out time to tackle those tasks that you have to accomplish today and this week.  By scheduling you time, you are telling others that you are not available to respond right away to phone calls or emails.

If you are using a program like Cozi or some other way to schedule family or home calendars, make sure you keep your content up-to-date.  Just like in a work environment, you need to block out house chores and personal fitness commitments as an example so the rest of the family knows when and when you are not available.

2.    Control the Interruptions.  Interruptions will occur even if you have blocked off time to only focus on your current task.  How you cope with the interruptions affects your ability to get back on task and meet your deadlines and expectations.

If you answer the phone, greet the person by directly asking them “How can I help you?”  You want to cut the small talk and get to the reason for the call.

When people drop by your workspace, get up and meet them and just like when you answer the phone, ask the visitor direct what it is they need.  When you let visitors come into your space and stay, then you have just allowed a long distraction to come in and steal your time.

3.    Unplug the Phone and Email.  Another way to defend your time and control the interruptions is to unplug and drop out.

Go ahead and turn off that Instant Message and email program.  While you are at it, turn off or hide your cell phone.

If you work in an environment where your manager or co-workers expect to reactions to instant messages and emails you will need to explain how you are more productive by “going dark” every once in a while during the day.

4.    Say “No.” Saying NO to the people and distractions around you may be one of the hardest actions, especially if your personality lends itself to being overly accommodating.

However, if you are going to be serious about defending your time and your priorities, you need to say NO to distractions regardless if they take human form or not. 

Coach’s Wrap Up

It is important that once you have developed your To-Do or Task list for the day or week that you are willing to defend your schedule so that you can deliver the kind of effort, concentration and execution that you and others expect from your work.

What are some of the best methods you have found to defend your time?

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