Every Second Counts

  • Do you sometimes wish you weren’t always trying to beat the clock?
  • Do you seem to spend your day rushing around chasing your own tail?
  • Do you wish there were more than 24 hours in the day?
  • Do you envy those who can multi-task, seemingly without effort?

You may have attended time management courses, read books, used diary-planners [paper and electronic] to organise and plan your day but even with all these, there are always tasks outstanding at the end of 24 hours.  Sound familiar?  Well, you are not alone.

So, how well do you manage your time?  Well, if you are like many people, then the answer will be ‘not very effectively!’  Perhaps you often work late and are always trying to keep to another deadline.  Maybe you are a manager of a team which just manages to lurch from one completion date to another with just one hour before the due time.   In fact, what you have perfected is the art of ‘crisis management’ but that is not what you enjoy doing and, after a while, it becomes not only stressful but also demoralising.

On the converse side, when you do manage your time well, you are more productive at work and you are in a better mood when you get home, with your stress levels low.

So where is the key to utopia?  Is there one?  In fact, we all have it in our own hands.  We know that there are 24 hours in a day, no more, no less. The question is: how can we manage our time more effectively so that we get more out of each day?

Different types of time

There are two types of time: ‘real time’ and ‘personal time’.  In ‘real time’, there are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours a day and 365 days in a year.   Each day, time passes exactly as the day before.  When any two individuals turn 40 years old, for instance, they have both lived for exactly 40 years, no more and no less.

But in ‘personal time’, everything is relative.  Remember when you started your first, very boring job.  Time probably dragged and you counted the seconds before you went home.  But then you started an exciting job and your time then flew past.  So it all depends on what you are doing as to whether time drags along or flies by.

Ideally you want to enjoy your work and be motivated with what you doing. However, that is not always the reality as there are going to be some tasks that you are not enthusiastic about, yet they still have to be done.  There are also times when you don’t feel motivated and yet you need to find that motivation from somewhere.  And that means that you need to learn to be self-motivated by achieving any given task not only to the satisfaction of your boss, but also to your own satisfaction.

The good news is that personal time comes from inside your head and only you can create it.   And anything that is within your power to manage with the resources available, you can control – so that really is good news!  Real time is relevant, of course, because that is what deadlines are marked in, but as we live in personal time, we need to ensure that they are synchronised at some point

Are we then saying that this is a case of ‘mind over matter’?  Well, in many ways it is.  You cannot always avoid boring jobs but you can divide them up into small chunks to help you speed up the process of dealing with them.

And how many of you pride yourselves on procrastination?  Well, you can stop procrastinating and spending hours talking about what you don’t want to do, and spend more time actually starting it and getting it finished! And that may well kick-start you to do other things that you have been procrastinating about.

With over 25 years of providing support in the field of time management, contact the Carole Spiers Group if we can help in any way:  info@carolespiersgroup.co.uk

http://www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk/time-management-toolkit.php

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‘Have you got a minute?’ syndrome

work stress, keynote speaker, how to deal with stress, anxiety, stress symptoms, signs and symptoms of stress, stress free, Show Stress Who's Boss!, carole spiers, stress management, stress & anxiety, symptoms of stress, stress management techniques, stress-free, stress symptoms, de stress, wellbeing, mental health

4 Easy Ways to Deal with Stress

This is the moment you dread.  It is 3 p.m. and you have to finish a report before you leave the office.  Although it is a tight schedule, you know you can just about manage it.  But then, your schedule gets binned as your boss arrives next to your desk and says ‘Gavin, have you got a minute?’  You look at your screen.  You look at him.  He is waiting for a reply and what he is really asking is, ‘Are you doing something that is more important than me’.  You look up and say, ‘Yes, of course’ as he hands you a file for comment by tomorrow morning – which means  yet another rushed meal, a late night and too little sleep. Continue reading

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Not Another Meeting!

work stress, keynote speaker, how to deal with stress, anxiety, stress symptoms, signs and symptoms of stress, stress free, Show Stress Who's Boss!, carole spiers, stress management, stress & anxiety, symptoms of stress, stress management techniques, stress-free, stress symptoms, de stress, wellbeing, mental health

4 Easy Ways to Deal with Stress

The other day I was sent an email with five attachments and it was suggested that these were all read prior to attending a forthcoming meeting.

So I arrived at the meeting, on time, and sat and waited for 15 minutes which made me annoyed.  The meeting eventually started but no agenda had been distributed.  The attachments I had been sent were only touched upon so were not really necessary.  And so I sat there thinking ‘what was the purpose of this meeting?’

Sometimes I wonder if people who arrange meetings fully appreciate the responsibility entailed?  I am certainly not saying that some meetings are not invaluable and if organised and delivered well, are essential to develop projects, initiatives, clarify thinking, to brainstorm and to encourage networking.  However, when using other people’s time, it is necessary to ensure that there is a valid reason.

Often, I arrive at a meeting that starts late, and I begin to lose focus and interest. And when they do eventually commence, the AV equipment has not been tested beforehand, the micrphone doesn’t work and it becomes more of a ‘fire-fighting activity with loads of excuses rather than a business meeting, Continue reading

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Getting the Most Out of your Day

We all have just 24 hours in a day so why is it that some people seem to get more out of their quota than others?  Well, in the end, it is down to using techniques – and below are some of my favourites.

Take the first 30 minutes of your day so that you can plan your daily activity.
Don’t start your day until you have completed your time plan.  The most important time of your day could be the time you schedule to schedule the rest of your time!

Be organised and plan activities in advance so that there are no last minute surprises which take up precious minutes, or hours, and stress you out.

Go to bed early.  An extra hour‘s sleep gives you an additional 365 hours per year!  Now that can’t be bad!

Do your ‘to do’ list before you leave the office so you know exactly what you are doing the next morning.  Organise all your files before you leave so you have everything to hand.

Don’t answer your email as soon as you get into the office unless you have given yourself a specific time to do this, but when you do – then turn your email off!

Schedule extra minutes when you leave to go to an appointment.  Don’t always be the last one to arrive, with everyone looking at you.  Grow the reputation for being always on time and reliable. Continue reading

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Are you a Good Time Manager?

As I sit in my London office waiting to coach Marian, a PR consultant, I am wondering as to why, if I am on time, she is not.  We have the same 24 hours in the day, we both have very busy diaries and I wouldn’t dream of keeping her waiting as that would be disrespectful.  But she consistently fails to arrive for our meetings on time.

When she eventually turns up, she is profusely apologetic with countless reasons as to why she is late, but it is now getting to the point where I am really disinterested in her reasons.  All I know is that she is ruining my schedule for the day and, realistically, there is no reason why this should be happening.

Marion then tells me that she hasn’t completed a piece of work that I had given her to do from last week. She tells me, ‘I had forgotten that my children had to be collected from dance school and then the computer crashed and I couldn’t do it!. I am really sorry!’ I had to swallow hard listening to her excuses and obvious procrastination.  I asked as to why she didn’t plan this task earlier into her week and again came another
round of reasons why she couldn’t and didn’t.

Of course, Marion is not alone in her poor time-keeping habits but if she is to be successful in business, then she is going to have to take some hard decisions in her life and make some real changes.

Time and Stress

In reality, of course, we cannot manage time, we can only manage ourselves and our
relationship with time. But if we are to be taken seriously then we must be aware of the timetables of others and our ability to either respect those time-schedules or to ignore them. If we ignore them, it is not only discourteous but can cause real problems, for most of us are a scheduled link in the daily lives of others and if we break the link then they have to run harder to reconnect it further on. And that is to unnecessarily increase the workload and the pressure for everyone. Continue reading

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Stressed? 20 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Stress in 2011

Find out how to deal with stress

4 Proven Steps to Beat Your Stress!

By Carole Spiers

As a weekly columnist for Gulf News, I have addressed many issues relating to workplace stress.  Many readers have written to me to ask me various questions regarding the best way to manage stress, so I thought it would be a good idea to share some of these with you.

Q:  What is stress?

A:  Stress is the adverse reaction that people have to excess pressure or other types of demands placed on them.  It arises when they perceive that they are unable to cope with those demands

Q:  Is stress good for me?

A:  No.  It is often mistakenly thought that stress is good for people, when in fact, long-term stress is invariably harmful.  A certain amount of pressure can indeed motivate and can therefore be useful, but stress is never so. Continue reading

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Time and Management: Tackle enemies of efficiency

Find out how to deal with stress
4 Proven Steps to Beat Your Stress!

Buy Carole’s New Book here: http://www.showstresswhosboss.co.uk

“Are you good at multi-tasking?”, was the question raised at a business seminar last week. It probably will not surprise you to learn that most of the women in the audience raised their hands, whilst most of the men present, seemed to be unsure as to what the term actually meant!

As we discussed the issue, and even though many of us can, and do, handle more than one task contemporaneously – it soon became apparent from our conversation that the skill of multi-tasking may not be as advantageous as we might think. In fact, when we concentrate on one task at a time, then we tend to be more efficient, more focused and benefit from no interruptions.

Time and Management

Disruptions and disturbance are the enemies of efficiency. Sitting quietly writing when my concentration is broken by my iPhone suddenly ringing or by the beep that signifies the receipt of a text message, both disrupt my train of thought and my focus.  So does the person who interrupts a private conversation to give an unwanted opinion or enters my personal working space, uninvited. Continue reading

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Stressed? The Stress of ‘Letting Go’ of Children When They Go to School

One of my clients is the family of Mark and Clare Turner. They are very excited because their son Darren, who is nearly five year old, has just left kindergarten and is due to embark on a new chapter of his life by going to school full time. But, at the same time, they are also nervous because this will be the first time that they will be ‘letting go’ of their first child. The reality is that this is big step for both parents and youngster. Clare told me that a part of her is relieved because she will have more time for herself and her other children. However, on the other side, they are both sad because they know that they won’t have so much control over Darren when he will now have other influences in his life around him with his new teachers and peer group. They feel that their ‘special time’ with him will, in future, be somewhat different and not be quite the same as the first years when they were his ‘whole world’. Continue reading

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Learn to Work from Home and How to Deal with Stress

With many people now taking early retirement or being made redundant and starting up their own businesses, now might be good time to look at the challenges of running a business from home.

You may think this is an easy one, not having to put a suit on in the morning, with the bonus of increased productivity with less travelling time. Unfortunately, the fine line between work life and home life soon start to merge and you will need to be highly disciplined in order to succeed.

It is all too easy to play with the children or watch a football match on television and leave a task until tomorrow but this is exactly the time when you need to be self-motivated.

There are many rewards from working from home if you can get it right! So here are some tips to help you along your way.

1. Space demarcation

Keep your office space separate from your home environment. Keep your office ‘off limits’ to your children while you are working so that they understand that a closed door means ‘No Entry!’

2. Time management

Your time must be structured. Have your to-do list right next to you and ensure that you make those calls and keep those appointments. The advantage of working from home is that you can take off a couple of hours in the middle of the day to go to the gym, go to your children’s sports day and then you can catch up at the end of the day.

3. Outsource

You will still need a support team to keep you working efficiently. When you are in an office, this support is often taken for granted: particularly technical and administrative, but when you work from home, it can be much more difficult.

4. Technology

You will need to use technology more and whereas before you could see someone face to face. It may now be better to use video conferencing. And, a remote, personal answering service is far more professional that having an answering machine taking your calls.

5. Interruptions

As soon as you start to work from home, family, friends and neighbours may think you are always available and they need to know that working time must be respected.

Be careful with people who just pop in for a chat. Don’t forget, you need to set the ground rules for those around you, and in time, they will learn to respect your needs.

6. Frame of mind

Know when you are the most productive. If you are a morning person, then choose to do the tasks that need your full concentration early in the day. The important thing is to know when you are at your best and take full advantage of that fact.

7. Network

Because you will be working by yourself, it is vital that you maintain your own peer group to keep you aware of what is happening outside your own home environment. Join networking groups, either during the day or in the evening.

It is easy to fall into the trap of becoming unmotivated at home and sometimes the ideas and the energy from someone else will help raise your energy levels.

8. Take a break

It is also important to make sure you have a daily exercise programme and at least one social break during the week. It maybe a breakfast, lunch or dinner or maybe even a quick coffee.

Keep those brain cells stimulated otherwise your brain can slow down and you will lose your energy and creativity.

Working from home is not for everyone. Some will love the flexibility and others will hate the lack of organisation. If you go down this route, make sure you have the right team in place and have the necessary support.  But it is not right for everyone, so do your homework before you go that route.

Key points

1. Working from home is good for some – not for everyone

2. It needs self-discipline and self motivation

3. You will need to utilise technology to the full

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, BBC guest-broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact work related stress and effective communications presentations.

Stressed? See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX and find out the latest ideas about work stress, stress management training. Get instant access to stress reduction products http://bit.ly/FjL5L and stress management training aimed to reduce stress and delivered to blue-chip clients from IBM to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, Dubai, UAE and worldwide at www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

A Date for Your Diary

1st Global Woman Summit Conference, Washington DC, 8 – 11th October 2011.

It is anticipated that Michelle Obama will be opening this prestigious, 3-day educational programme that will unite and honour leading women in international fields. Meet and listen to world leaders, diplomats and experts plus your opportunity to network with eminent women from diverse occupations. Leave having gained greater insight and increased knowledge of women who regularly break the glass ceiling. Don’t miss this unique event. Book your place in our audience now! www.globalwomansummit.org

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The Key to Success: Plan for a Stress-free Retirement

As retirement becomes a new chapter in your life, it is important to approach that lifetime change in a positive way.  One issue that many people fail to consider when planning for their retirement, is the potential stress that can come from a fundamental lifestyle change coupled with an often new environment.

For many, the necessary change of role and identity will be a welcome departure from maybe 40 years of work, but for others, it is the beginning of the experience of financial worries plus the challenge of filling one’s day in a way that brings satisfaction, not boredom. Adjustments to lifestyle will be inevitable as both you and your immediate family learn to adjust to different roles than before.

The vision of not having to go to the office everyday but instead just a lazy day, can seem attractive initially but that soon palls and your brain will need a new challenge to prevent it atrophying!    The skill is to treat your new-found freedom as the start of another phase in your life – an exciting and challenging one in which you have greater control over what you do and where you go.

 The Key to Success

Retirement can bring with it an amazing new journey.  Getting down to writing that book you have always dreamed of, taking up singing lesions, upgrading your computer skills, opening up a new fun business can all form part of this new chapter and of course travelling to those far distant places you have always meant to explore.

There is so much to see and do and that can be part of the problem.  And in some ways that alone can contribute to stress, after finishing full-time work.

Change of Attitude and Mindset

During the years you were working, you had to conform to various rules and time-tables. But now you have no timetable other than your own and that is why you need to be self-motivated and disciplined.  It is all too easy to stay in bed late and watch TV, then wonder what indeed you have achieved during your day.

Moving Home

For many, moving home in order to downsize, becomes a priority.  The children are now in university or working themselves and the existing home is too large.  Wherever you decide to live, life will be different; friends from work may be lost, but new ones gained dependent on your new social activities.

Personal Relationships

There will inevitably be changes in your personal relationships.  No longer do you need to get to the office at 7.30 a.m. every morning – instead you can take an easy breakfast and talk to your husband, or wife. Of course, this in itself poses problems, for a wife who is not used to having her husband at home all day, it can be stressful for both, unless there is some domestic structure in place.  Probably, a schedule should be agreed as to domestic responsibilities, including shopping etc and also financial matters such as the payment of bills and other expenses.

Returning to Work

I see retirement as an exciting opportunity to live life to the full with extra leisure time for hobbies and holidays, and the opportunity to explore personal interests or adult education.  Quite often there is a wish to return to part-time working or you might consider doing some voluntary work and that certainly would ensure you maintain contact with a peer group and meet new friends.  It would also give you a new focus which is often difficult after one retires.

Keeping Healthy

This is your retirement after having worked hard all your life and this is time to really enjoy the rest of the journey.  There will be changes and adjustments along the way – but if you plan properly, look after your health, keep fit and keep interested in the world around you – it can be the most rewarding period of your life. If, however, you fail to do any of these, then retirement can become boring and stressful. And that is a recipe for depression, diabetes, hypertension and a short life expectancy. It’s all up to you. There are choices.

Key Points

  • Maintain a positive attitude and mindset
  • Be disciplined and build a new domestic structure
  • Create goals and objectives and be accountable for them
  • Meet new people and colleagues
  • Get a hobby that you really enjoy
  • Write that book as part of your legacy!
  • Have a lifestyle plan that is financially viable
  • Keep your mind active – mental agility keeps you young.

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, BBC guest-broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact work related stress and effective communications presentations.

Stressed?  See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX  or check-out our latest ideas about workplace stress, stress management training, instant access to stress reduction products http://bit.ly/FjL5L  and stress management training aimed to reduce stress and delivered to blue-chip clients from IBM to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, Dubai, UAE and worldwide at www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

Connect with Carole on LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/f2onIA 

 A Date for Your Diary

1st Global Woman Summit Conference, Washington DC, 8 – 11th October 2011.

Michelle Obama will be opening this prestigious, 3-day educational programme that will unite and honour leading women in international fields.    Meet and listen to world leaders, diplomats and experts plus your opportunity to network with eminent women from diverse occupations.  Leave having gained greater insight and increased knowledge of women who regularly break the glass ceiling.  Don’t miss this unique event.  Book your place in our audience now!  www.globalwomansummit.org   

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