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Bust up Your Routine to Make Time Slow Down

In the quest to catch up with today, overturning some of your time-honored routines can help

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Are you living in real time or are you trying to catch up? Sometimes, in the quest to catch up with today, overturning some of your time-honored routines can help. For example:

1. Arise one hour earlier. Sixty years ago, the concept of late night (11:00 p.m.) news was unknown. People went to bed at 9:30 or 10:00. Once people began staying up for the late news, the networks began running late night talk shows. As a result, the entire population is staying up later than the previous generation.

Why not go to bed earlier, and wake up an hour earlier? In that extra hour, you can watch the sun rise, meditate, do some exercises, or go to work before traffic gets bad. The activities you undertake in that early hour can affect your perspective on the whole day. To get a fresh perspective, shake up your routine and get up earlier!

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2. Work on your home’s porch instead of in the office. When you change your venue and the scenery, you open up new vistas. Alternatively, work under a tree or at a pool during nice weather. Being outdoors opens up a way of viewing things that you cannot get in the office. When working in a natural, tranquil setting, you’ll gain peace of mind in your otherwise hectic work routine. Do this for some of your tasks (especially tasks that require conceptualization or creative thinking), and you’ll be more productive than ever before.

Begin to identify the places in your life that are welcome retreats to go and work whether they be a library, or even simply sitting in your car in a shopping center parking lot. When you change where you’re working, you can benefit quickly.

3. If possible, don’t get your mail until Friday. Postpone tearing through all your mail. Most things are not so urgent that you need to attend to them each day. We often tend to place an unnecessary immediacy upon our lives.

4. If possible, hold all calls for a while. Think of it as if you were on vacation and unable to be reached for a couple of days. You don’t have to respond immediately to every call. When you hold your calls for a few hours – or a day – you open up time to get things done in a way that is impossible when you are preoccupied with answering calls. Work surveys show that the primary disruption and time-waster of the workday is the telephone.

5. Drop the unproductive 80 percent of your activities. The Pareto Principle (the “80/20” rule) states that 80 percent of your activities contribute to only 20 percent of your results. The remaining 20 percent of your activities contribute to the other 80 percent of your results. Take a hardware store for example: about 20 percent of its stock accounts for 80 percent of the revenues; the remaining 80 percent of the stock accounts for only 20 percent of the revenues.

The key to successful retailing is identifying the 20 percent producing the bulk of the revenues. A smart store manager knows to place that 20 percent where it is most accessible, and to put the rest where, though it can be reached, it is out of the immediate way. Identify which activities in your work (and personal life) support you, and are bringing you the best results. Have the strength to abandon those activities that are not benefiting you – get rid of that unproductive 80 percent.

6. Ask For Input – Have you ever gone to lunch with a colleague and begun discussing ways to approach your work more effectively? After a few minutes, you both are deep into the conversation, generating all sorts of great ideas. Then, when the waiter takes your order or brings your check, what occurs? The conversation dies down.

When you both go back to work, those ideas are often forgotten or put on a back burner. If you consciously schedule a meeting for the sole purpose of letting the creative sparks fly, you’ll grab control of your time, and have some of the most productive sessions you’ve ever had.

When you come in contact with other people, you’re exposed to whole new worlds – their worlds. When you interact with another person, you get the benefit of his/her information, in addition to your own.

Stay Tuned

Always be on the lookout for other ways to shake up your routine, especially for the insights and breakthroughs that might result – every day and every moment holds great potential.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Business

Gone in an Instant

Our e-files are so fragile that they can be gone in a moment’s notice

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Many people retain all of their text messages with their various correspondents. My daughter Valerie, for example, has more than one hundred text message correspondents — in other words, a running dialogue for each of the people with whom she sends and receives text. I only maintain two such longitudinal files, and one is with Valerie. With friends, relatives, clients, and acquaintances, I save the text streams for a few days or weeks, but then clear them out.

One evening, my sister Nancy texted me, and I texted her back. We went back and forth for a while. So, my message roster now included both Valerie Davidson and Nancy Davidson. After a while, I decided to clear the Nancy Davidson file, and you know what’s coming. I hit the wrong “Davidson,” file, and in an instant, more than a thousand texts between my daughter and myself were gone.

These texts included photos she had sent that I hadn’t yet downloaded, the picture of her new ring,  emojis that we passed back and forth, and everything else that transpired between us.

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Our Texting History, Vanished

I was beyond crestfallen. I felt as if I had lost something near and dear to me. It was devastating. I sat down in the big chair in my office and contemplated the possibilities. I contacted my computer guru and asked him if a deleted text message file was retrievable. He said with my Android system there was no such capability, only on iPhones. I called my sister and explained what I had done. She commiserated.

Then I sat down again, for a long time, and I thought about a friend who had lost her 23-year-old daughter and only child, seven months earlier…

I called my daughter, and I gave her the news. She didn’t seem concerned. I explained to her that she was the only one with whom I had maintained the longitudinal text trail. She told me that she maintains the text trail with everybody. “It’s not like you’re going to run out of room.” I asked her if she knew of any way that it could be retrieved. She didn’t know, either. We parted company.

Eureka! If she never deletes text message histories, then she has everything that’s transpired between us. I called her back, and she said she did have them all. So, on another day, when we figure out how to transfer what she has back to me, or least downloaded them into some text file, barring her losing her phone or accidentally hitting the delete button like I did, our texting history will be intact on my device.

A Fresh Start

I feel like I’ve been given a new lease on life. The greater question now is, what kind of technology and what kind of lives do we lead when a longitudinal history can be wiped out by mistake in single second?

It is not comforting to know that critical files can be gone in a flash, but this is a condition of our era. For thousands of years, people simply spoke to each other with no way of recording anything, or even knowing it would one day be possible. Relationships right up to the 1960’s were based on real time conversations in person or on the phone. Answering machines existed in the early 1960’s but were not widely available until the mid 1980’s.

As technology became more and more powerful, as we all know, everyone has the capability today to save and store virtually every encounter that they have with anyone else in the world. Still, it is disquieting to know that our e-files are so fragile that they can be gone in a moment’s notice.

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Business

Four Reasons to Be Reflective at This Time of Year

Regardless of what kind of year you have had, there were undoubtedly many triumphs as well as setbacks

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As one season ends and we make way for the next, it is the perfect time to reflect on our careers and our personal lives.

Regardless of what kind of year you have had, there were undoubtedly many triumphs as well as setbacks. If you are a career professional, particularly if your career is thriving, you have many reasons to be thankful.

Perhaps you get to arrange your office in the way that you choose. You work with people who share, presumably, your vision in terms of advancing the organization. Perhaps, you are able to take off numerous weekends, not to mention have some extended vacations.

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A Little Reflection

It behooves each of us to stop and reflect as to how lucky we are. Regardless of any current challenges, on balance, most of the time, each of us experience a life that intermittently contains excitement, disappointments, wonders, triumphs, sorrows, and moments of pure joy.

If it has been hard for you to be reflective over the years, but you nevertheless recognize the benefits, here are four reasons why it makes sense to do so now:

1) If you have your health, it has been said, you have everything. While that might not be exactly so, health is still one of the individual treasures of our existence on earth. Everyone who deems themselves to be healthy, myself included, should acknowledge this truly great gift on a continual basis.

2) Consider your family, friends, peers, coworkers, and other professional associates. Within that broad swath of humanity, clearly there are people whom you care about deeply. There are people who make a difference in your life. There are good friends and peers who add great value on a regular basis. For this, we can be thankful.

3) Whether you live in the U.S. or abroad, presumably, you can be thankful for the many benefits of living in your respective country, where you are allowed to pursue your livelihood, make a decent income, are a respected member of the community, and look forward to years more of being held in esteem by those around you.

4) In anticipation of the next few months, and all the adventures and triumphs that are forthcoming, who would not be thankful? Right now represents a time of opportunity. We are not merely robot clones proceeding in life, looking through the rear view mirror, exhibiting only the behaviors and characteristics that we have previously exhibited.

Many Chances

We have many chances to proceed in new ways – to make new explorations, take on new challenges, assume new types of behaviors, and, indeed, even wholesale reinvent ourselves. For that capability alone, we can agree about the importance of being reflective and thankful.

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