Time management

Set Your Targets Closer and Set Your Sights High!

cherrys iphone 247Have you ever set your heart on a career or goal and then lost your focus?  Distractions and life events you didn’t have control over cropped up as obstacles and you had to put off what you were working on, or maybe you just put it aside hoping someday you might get back to your dream.  I have.  I remember dreaming of doing things, working hard to set goals and lists, then becoming discouraged because there were too many other things I was responsible for at the time and it seemed my dreams would always get shoved aside.

Here are some things you can do to stay motivated and keep making progress towards your dreams.

  • *        Focus on the outcome instead of the activities.

It’s easy to fill up a “to do” list with a lot of activities that seem necessary and valuable when we write them down, but are they?  If you aren’t careful what seemed like a good idea and vitally important can get confused with “busy work” and before you know it you’ll find yourself with a big to do list that you aren’t getting done, a feeling of despair because you aren’t making the progress you thought you would, and sometimes thoughts of giving up because you become discouraged, or feel overwhelmed with the distractions and events.

When you focus on the outcome instead of the activities – put up reminders of where you want to be.  Don’t do a big to do list, instead just focus on what you want for an outcome.  You will surprise yourself finding ways to fit in the things that must be done to get you to your goal.  What’s more is you may come to realize things you thought were important are just busy work and aren’t necessary to get you where you want to go.

Resources you didn’t see before will come into focus because you aren’t worried about the “to do list” – you’re looking for your end result.  When you keep your focus on the outcome it sets your brain and eyes in motion to look for opportunities that you might’ve otherwise missed.

  •     Set your targets closer

Another way to stay motivated is to set your targets closer.  When you want to gain self-confidence it helps to set some easily obtainable goals, once you reach your target – celebrate!!  Every success counts!  Get used to that feeling of celebration when you reach your goal, stop and enjoy it!  Build on your successes and keep the momentum going!  You can do it!

It seems silly to remind to celebrate, but how many times do you reach a goal and think, “okay, that’s done, now what?” and just move on to the next thing?  I was doing this a lot.  Where is the enjoyment? Where’s the lasting sense of accomplishment?  Well, gee, I just bypassed it and went on to the next thing.  It’s important to celebrate the little successes, it will make the big successes that much more sweet! Life is a joy to live and we need to celebrate when we reach a milestone or goal.

  •     Surround yourself with people who will hold you accountable and encourage you.

Notice I didn’t say – surround yourself with people who will beat you up and try to whip you into getting things done.  This may work for some, and I confess now and then I kick myself into gear, but put me with someone who’s going to belittle or make me feel bad for not reaching a goal on time and it has the opposite effect on me.  Eventually I may even start avoiding that person.  Who wants to talk to someone whose intent on judging you?  I’d rather find someone who will listen to my concerns and offer some encouragement and helpful suggestions.

Just keep that ant philosophy.  Ants don’t get distracted or let obstacles get in their way.  They just keep on going, up, down, around, under and through whatever gets in their way to reach their goal.  When they need help they send for reinforcements and get the job done.

Cherry Coley ©

Slightly Irritated with Spam

Brand new Mayan calendar and the spammers are driving me nuts!  Honestly, do you really have nothing else to do other than torment bloggers by filling up their comments sections?  Perhaps a course in time management might help you to realize how much of yours and every one else’s time you are wasting?

Perhaps your self esteem is so low that you are doing this for attention.  There are other more useful ways to get attention.  Why don’t you spend the time doing something nice for someone else instead?

It’s Christmas time, are you saying you (as a spammer) honestly have nothing else that you would rather be doing?  How sad for you.  I feel sorry for you and your lack of friends, self esteem and apparent lack of interests.  Maybe you could spend some time in a library and find something more interesting to do.

Oh well, Merry Christmas to you anyway.  I do hope you will find joy in spending time with others and find ways to enjoy, and grow the relationships with the people in your life.  Good luck to you. 

Cherry Coley (c)

When It Rains It Pours

Lately it seems that there a lot more things to do than there is time in the day.  I can’t even say that it is bad time management, there has just been a lot of last minute issues popping up that cannot be put off, which leads to other things not being done or completed when I would like them to be.  Not being able to complete things on time – even though they are personal goals or items – brothers me at first, then quickly moves me into frustration if I let it.

 I have been running sick kids to the doctor, dealing with a sprained elbow, and struggling through colds of my own for the last 3-4 weeks, running last minute errands, and attending school programs, which basically means I haven’t gotten home on time but maybe 3 days out of that time.  I treasure my personal time, it’s time spent reading, writing, doing artwork, photography, walking, yard work, or spending time with friends.  When that time becomes so encroached upon that I can’t manage to do those things, I start to feel cranky, then eventually worn down. 

 It’s not unusual to have things happen, after all life loves to throw in the unexpected for us to navigate, and I know I am not the only one struggling through all the “stuff” right now.  I have had many friends tell me they are struggling with their own versions of the same issues of having to rush to get everything done and miss out on things they like to do or need to do in the process.

 How do we cope? For me – taking a moment to meditate and/or pray can make a tremendous difference.  Even if it is a brief moment, just to be able to relax, listen to some soothing tones, light a candle or incense, and drift off into a peaceful mindset for a bit can make the day much better and offer a bit of energy and spiritual renewal.  Another way I like to recharge is to take a walk outside, but since I have been getting home after dark, there hasn’t been opportunity to do that. 

 Today, I am rearranging my schedule again, running errands at lunch, hoping to free up time after work.  I have a lot of house work to catch up on, but as long as I can actually get home, I can multitask and knock out a lot of those type chores at the same time, even while listening to a book or catching a favorite show on television.

 I hear people often say they need more hours in the day.  Me? No thank you.  I don’t need more hours, I just need to manage what I have better, have a few less crisis and last minute items pop up, and to multitask a bit faster and more efficiently, nothing that can’t be done as long as one can keep the right attitude and keep putting one foot in front of the other. 

 Remember to take a moment in the middle of the chaos to stop, find things to be thankful for, people to appreciate, and be grateful for the fact that we are still here.  Ask for help if you need it, find joy in the sunrise, sunset and realize that each day, no matter how stressful or wonderful it may be, is a gift.  You get to decide your response to what happens along the way which will help decide the outcome.  Just do the best you can and give yourself a break when you can. 

 Cherry Coley ©

 

Temper Temper

My grandmother used to tell me that one of the things you never want to lose is your temper, so if you keep a close watch on it, you won’t lose it easily.

Grandma always had a good sense of humor, but there really was wisdom in those words.  In this world where we live at such a quick pace, rushing to work, rushing to finish errands, working to get things done, or put away, running running all the time, it is easy to grow impatient. 

I confess there have been times when the cashier was carrying on a grand conversation with the person in front of me and I wanted to ask them to trade phone numbers and catch up later.  Still, what’s the real harm?  Why is it a crime to pause briefly and exchange pleasantries?  Is being polite, kind and friendly becoming a lost art?

Of course there is a place and time and a conversation at the checkout stand should technically only last as long as it takes to ring up the purchases, a sort of unspoken courtesy to the other people waiting in line, but still, we shouldn’t huff, puff and growl when someone says hello.

Nothing irritates me more than being at a red light and the light barely turns red when the guy behind me lays down on the horn.  Well, you just bought a slow start from me, Buddy. 

I think one of the things that really bothers me are the people who are dragging some exhausted, screaming toddler around the store.  The kid is worn out, mom or dad is flustered, embarrassed and there’s no possible way they will remember everything they needed to get at the store anyway.  All that to be accompanied by glares of all the other customers and workers at the store who are enduring the ear piercing screams of a tired child.  Yet, I have been there a couple of times with a sick baby and no choice but to go and get medicine, I sympathize.

In any case, it temper should rarely come into play.  We are all busy, we all have places to go, people to see, things to get done and the same amount of time to do it all.  If we are short tempered because we are constantly rushed, then perhaps the answer is better time management.

A wise person said – it’s nice to feel important, but much more important to be nice.  In the end we are all remembered for the things we’ve done.  Wouldn’t you rather be remembered for doing the right thing at the right time, or being kind, generous, happy, funny, or anything at all other than the person that couldn’t control their temper? 

Cherry Coley ©

 

Getting Here From There, and There From Here

Time management is supposed to be key to reaching your goals. Time management is the self discipline that will get you to where you want to be, along with a positive attitude of course.

There’s something to be said for major life changes.  Whether it’s getting a divorce, losing a loved one, moving, getting married, losing a job, a life changing injury, or addiction, they are called life changes for a reason.  For some reason I guess I thought I would be immune? Or maybe I thought I could just zoom past parts and pieces of it all.  Not! 

The truth is, sometimes I have a heck of a time adjusting.  Time management and I don’t always get along well.  Now and then I get out of sync somehow it all just knocks me completely out of the water and I feel lost until I can sit down, regroup and get back on track. 

As time management requires, I will set goals, create a “to do list,” create a calendar, prioritize and get everything going along really well, have a great week, then something will throw a spoke in my wheels and I am suddenly flying over the handle bars, and wind up lying on the ground and wondering what just happened.  For the record, I hate that!

What really bothers me is that for as long as I can remember I have lived a high-stress life.  I had for as long as I can remember, been running back and forth to do things for or with my parents, running to do things for or with my kids or friends, working one or two or sometimes three jobs at a time because to be constantly busy made me feel wanted, needed, productive and accepted.   IF there was any time or resources left, then I might do something for myself along the way, or spend time on something that interested me.

Now I am in unknown territory.  Here I am at a time in my life where I somehow seem to keep trying to get my momentum back and it’s not that it’s not there; it’s that it’s no longer necessary.  That is a very unnerving thing and I find myself feeling at odds and off kilter instead of wanted and needed.  Nightmare of searching through fog, looking for people or items that aren’t there.

So I rework my schedule, and redo lists, and still I wind up taking on too many things at a time, because I’m used to high-stress and being busy.  Then when something doesn’t work out, I basically trip, fall down on my face, then look around to find a tiny piece of nothing that knocked me not only off schedule, but completely out of sync.  It takes me a few days to get back in a rhythm of doing things again.

Here’s the thing, life changes are just that – life changes.  In my case, in the last two-three years, I lost an aunt, an uncle, a good friend – or two, my mom, my dad, moved twice and lost a job.  I have finally come to the conclusion that my comfort zones and old way of time management and project management just got blown away in the wind because no matter how hard I try, the old way of doing things, just isn’t working anymore.

I am now required to learn to do some things I’ve never really done, take more time for myself, personally relax, and get healthier, but at a slower pace. 

So, I will begin again, and try new things, set new habits, find out where my new comfort zones are, try to find a place to retreat and feel safe when chaos reigns, and learn to be a better surfer on this ocean of life.  I have a feeling this could take a while, a lifetime perhaps.  

Cherry Coley ©

I Have A Purpose, I Do

I have read many books in the past about living with a purpose, finding your purpose, discovering your purpose, and on and on. 

They are the soul-searching books that suggest you do steps much like these: 

  1. Identify what you want
  2. Identify what you’re willing to do to get there
  3. Figure out the obstacles in your way and how to deal with them.
  4. Set definite goals.
  5. Set forth a plan of action to get you where you want to be.
  6. Achieve success

 It all sounds like good solid advice and it obviously works because people buy and read the books, right?

It’s just not all so cut and dry like that.  It’s easy to type out what you “should” do, but the actual getting down to the nitty-gritty and “doing” these things is not so easy.

 I used to get really frustrated with the self-help type books because they would make lists like the one above and being a somewhat literal person, I would stop in my tracks right there, especially if the book had assignments or exercises you were supposed to do in each chapter. 

 I would stop reading the book until I had time to really devote myself to doing what was suggested in the chapter.  Usually I would make it through about three chapters then get distracted or my time would be required to work on some other project and it could be days, weeks, months, even years before I’d make it back to the book again.  By that time I’d have to start over because things change over time.

 One of my problems has always been that being a really creative person and one that is interested in, well, everything, I get distracted easily and try to do too many things all at once.  When I was a teenager my grandmother used to shake her head and say, “Jack of all trades, master of none.”  It took me a long time to really grasp what she meant.

 After making some disastrous and not so pretty decisions with my life, not really concentrating on any one single thing long enough to “master” it and just bumping along life’s road trying this, working with that, and falling down enough times, I can say that there are three skills I have found that I needed above all others. 

 The skills I needed to fine tune, had I worked on them sooner in my life, would have allowed me to be in a far different place than I am now after learning 20 years later.

  1. Self-Discipline
  2. Focus
  3. The art of meditation

 These skills go hand in hand, and though I THOUGHT I was utilizing them throughout my life, I really wasn’t.  I was giving half-hearted efforts as needed along the way instead of really applying these skills and making them a part of my daily life.

If you truly want to live a life with purpose, then while you are doing your soul-searching, finding out who you are, your limits, your needs and what you really want to do; take the time to develop self-discipline, focus and learn a meditation technique that will work for you.  Fine tuning these things as you go will make a world of difference and when you finally do discover your focus you will be in an excellent position to focus your attention, have the self-discipline to go after what you want, and know when things get stressful you can seek meditation to clear your mind and gain perspective, then you will find you know how to deal with the obstacles and keep going.

 Cherry Coley ©