37 Responses to “Not enough hours in the day? Pah!”

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  1. I have been putting off designing a new website for over a year. I seem to faff the most around this web site. I know I have to do it and its costing me dearly in lost business. Love your articls.

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  2. What fantastic post! It’s so refreshing to hear it put so bluntly too! We all have the ability to make choices, and recognising how we choose to use our time can be quite hard to accept.It’s no good complaining that we can’t get things done; we need to be brave enough to make difficult choices, and most importantly prioritise what matters. One of my favourite quotes is by Jim Rohn;

    If you really want to do something you will find a way. If you don’t, you will find an excuse!

    The bottom line is, if it matters enough, you’ll do it!

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  3. The timer device is a great idea – must get one.

    What I find really useful is a ‘diary’ of hanging files. You have one hanging file for each day of the month, and one for each month of the year. You then sort things in these files according to when you wish to deal with them. You need a daily reminder to look at ‘today’s’ file and a reminder on the last day of each month to re-sort the next month’s file into the appropiate ‘day’ file for the ensuing month.

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  4. Great post Karen!
    I ban the phrase ‘time management’ with my clients (I’m a meanie I know!) – and encourage them to use ‘self-management’ instead, because of course that’s what it boils down to – knowing what is the important stuff in the business which YOU have to do, and finding ways of delegating,deleting or systemizing and automating the rest.

    Having said that, I would confess that I too am a work in progress with this (aren’t we all somewhere on this continuum!), and have to be strict with myself, especially to get the balance right with my 10 yr old twins, and non-work life!
    My procrastinator’s 12 step program is 1.Define the goal 2.Action it 3.Review and tweak 4 – 12. Repeat 1-3!!!
    As one of my mentors used to say “One ’til done” is how businesses are built successfully :-)

    Hope you’re enjoying your hols!

    cheers

    Tanya

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    Karen Skidmore Reply:

    Thanks Tanya. And yes, hols are going grand. Lots of lego building and girlie shopping trips!

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  5. Di

    Oh this is soooooo true! My children are the same ages as yours now Karen and in the school holidays I find myself slotting all my work into defined 1, 2, 3 hour slots when they’re engaged somewhere else.

    My favourite piece of advice to pass on is to set a timer to just spend, say, 30 minutes doing e-mail and then stop.
    I’ve found the perfect free online resource here: http://www.online-stopwatch.com

    Once it pings on my desktop it’s time to move on!

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    Karen Skidmore Reply:

    Like that online stopwatch – thanks for the link Di

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  6. Great article Karen. It’s all about discipline. Jim Rohn said something like ‘never start the day until it’s finished on paper’ – i.e. always plan your day on paper with a very focused (and prioritised) list of the things you must achieve. This list must be done at the end of the day before – so you go straight into the actions first thing next morning. Don’t agonise over the list or take too long over it, it only needs a few minutes – you know what you have to do! – just commit it to paper (and in the right order). The next day just work through it – do the things you HAVE to do, not the things you LIKE to do (unless they happen to be the same things)and don’t be distracted……. I SAID DON’T BE DISTRACTED!!!

    The only caveat I would add is that occasionally something may crop up which legitimately revises some priority in your ‘list’ – allow the correct amount of flexibility to deal with that occasion sensibly.

    Good luck to you all – make your day really work for you.

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    Karen Skidmore Reply:

    So I can’t be distracted by Twitter? Or Facebook? Or emails? Doh!! It’s sad but true! I know the days that I faff the most is when Hootsuite is on in the background. Dangerous place to be Twitter.

    Thanks for sharing, Arthur.

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    Clare Evans @clareevans Reply:

    If you’re easily distracted – switch off the distractions. Check in with Hootsuite or Facebook between tasks and keep it to a minimum.

    I have Hootsuite on in the background too Karen – but I check in only a few times a day. Usually mid morning, lunchtime and in the afternoon and sometimes the evening. Stay focused even with your social media activities to stop time running away.

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    Arthur Reply:

    Mot distracted Karen – but you can and must deal with those that have to be dealt with (Facebook, Twitter and emails etc) – just build in official time-slots for them. Your post arrives in one go from the postman and you deal with it in one go presumably – do the same with your emails – have a specific time of day for dealing with then (or perhaps a few specific times) and stick firmly to those times.
    How do I edit errors im my previous comment please?

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    Arthur Reply:

    Doh…another typo – should say Not distracted….I must re-read my posts more carefully before ‘submitting’ since there seems to be no means of subsequent editing (or deleting).

    Karen Skidmore Reply:

    Thanks Arthur – and have corrected your typos. All done!

  7. Great article Karen and I totally empathise too. I did exactly the same thing too when I started my business, spent weeks designing a flyer to then chuck 1000 in the bin when they arrived! Being a mum of 2 pre-schoolers, my childcare is very limited and like you say, I always work better when I have a deadline. So if someone takes them out for an hour, I seem to fly through 3 hours worth of work!

    And you’re completely right, when you run your own business, you can just keep on and on. My husband always says ‘have you finished your work’ and I always answer that I’ve never finished!

    Thank you for writing this honest post.

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    Karen Skidmore Reply:

    No, work never finishes does it. Ha Ha!! Appreciate your thoughts Vicki.

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  8. Great article – always make one feel better about oneself when other’s admit to the faffing too! I have come to realise though, that my own personality style is such that I work at my best when I have a deadline and I have come to accept that is just how I am and not to fight it anymore.
    Having my own business allows me to work at any time I can – even if it is until the early hours and when I am juggling family commitments with my business, knowing that I have those hours once everyone is in bed is something that helps me feel in control. I am just glad that I am a night owl and able to do productive work in the later hours.
    So, if that is the way you work too – don’t fight it – accept it….and of course…..enjoy it too!

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    Jean DAvies Reply:

    I think that’s key Julia – understanding that we’re all so different, and you’ve come to know what works for you. This discussion has opened up lots of ideas we can all consider, but end of the day, do what’s right for you.

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    Karen Skidmore Reply:

    I’m a deadline girl too. Can’t get a project done unless I’ve committed it to someone. It’s why I love live events. If you tell people something is happening, you’ve got to get on and do it! Thanks for stopping by Julia.

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    Clare Evans @clareevans Reply:

    Set your own mini deadlines by using a simple kitchen timer. Set it to 15, 30, 60 minutes – however long you need and see what a difference it makes.

    I run Focus days with some of my clients – constant mini-deadlines that enable you to get a huge amount done in a short period of time.

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    Di Reply:

    Great minds, and all that Clare! See my entry below posted just three minutes before yours! :-)

  9. Yes, another Faffer Anonymous owning up here too!!! But let’s not beat ourselves up too much about that. It’s often the time spent in faffing and unfocused activities that take our brain off the hook and let in the great ideas and insights. How about allowing so much “faffing” (or daydreaming for me!) time everyday, even if only for a few minutes. Then we’ve had our fix and had that Eureka!! moment it’s much easier to get heads down again.

    And wnen we become aware we’re faffing or dancing around things, if we try too hard to focus again, it just doesn’t work. That’s the time to break the cycle by doing something different and unrelated for just a few moments. Just going to make a brew, doing yoga or meditation for 10-15 mins, or walking the dog can be great at letting you be focused when you start again. Sometimes the harder you try, the harder it becomes.

    One final thing I’ve found…… If I look at my diary one morning and think I don’t know how I thought I was ever going to fit all that in today, then I won’t. But if I accept there’s a lot, but that somehow everything will work, and just let everything flow without resistance, it always works so beautifully. Time is elastic, but we just have to know how to be with it. (Great book – Making Time by Steve Taylor – really gives you something to think about!!!)

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    Karen Skidmore Reply:

    Thanks for the book recommendation Jean. I’m going to check that one out.

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  10. Great article Karen, which I stumbled upon via Twitter.

    It makes you think what your priorities are if you only have 15mins – a helpful thought too of where to start when you have a busy day ahead.

    True to the saying if you want something done, ask a busy person!

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    Karen Skidmore Reply:

    Thanks for stumbling in, Ginetta and leaving your thoughts.

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  11. Great article Karen – thanks! My take-home mantra will be ‘Completion, not perfection’ from one of your replies, brilliant!

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    Karen Skidmore Reply:

    I should give credit to Andrea J Lee who I believe coined that phrase in one of my many books. She was quite an influence on me when I first started up in business.

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  12. Love this article Karen – very astute and right to the point! One of my fave quotes is “World Class at getting ready!” from a very successful business associate – and it sums up pretty much what you are saying. We’ve all done the brochure / website thing to hide from the real action we need to take. Thanks for a really thought-inspiring piece!

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    Karen Skidmore Reply:

    World Class at getting ready – Love it!

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    Clare Evans @clareevans Reply:

    It’s like finding housework is suddenly really important and needs doing ‘now’ or the urge to rearrange all the pens and pencils on your desk or writing out everything neatly on a list or creating a checklist for the project you’re about to start work on … all great ‘faffing’ or procrastination techniques! :)

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  13. OMG it’s so true! I have to admit to a degree of faffing!! I always get so much more done when I have less time to do it, and so much less done when I have a whole day to myself!! Right less list making and more action for me :0)

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  14. Love your honesty Karen. I can completely relate to all those examples ha! And I think being honest with yourself is so key to getting out of that feeling of being trapped with ‘not enough time’ because then you recognise that you have choices over how you spend your time, and focus on what YOU can do, rather than what external circumstances are ‘doing to you’. I must admit I have days when I’m scattered and I’ve learned not to beat myself up about it, and I do know that when it comes to the squeeeze as long as I have a direction, plan and focus, I can absolutely get the things done that I want to – well mostly anyway :)

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    Karen Skidmore Reply:

    Let’s start a new Faffing Anonymous Club :O) All together now – “Yes, I have faffed and I’m not afraid to admit it”

    Thanks for stopping by Grace and taking the time to leave your comment.

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  15. Hi Karen

    I don’t think it is a lack of time at all, but it could be more than just lack of a plan or direction.

    I think it could also be uncertainty, fear, a “mental block”, waiting for answers to appear, either magically or through someone else, or just about any other self-imposed barrier you can think of.

    I’ve seen all of these, and if I’m honest, experienced all of them at different separate times.

    I always think that working up to taking a decision to do something is a long process, and an internal struggle as well. But once the decision is made, the floodgates open up and off you go.

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    Karen Skidmore Reply:

    Thank you for your thoughts, Sandra. Decisions are critical to seeing a way forward, aren’t they? If we fear or are unsure of what our choices are, we can go round and a round in circles. I know I’ve got quite dizzy over the years – especially over my Web Tech Club!!

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  16. Totally agree.

    While we all use the term ‘time management’ it’s not possible to manage time, only ourselves and the choices we make with the time we have.

    We all have enough hours in the day – we need to make sure we focus on the right things and plan our day accordingly.

    Create focus by limiting the time you have available to complete a particular task. It’s a good way to stop ‘faffing’ about or getting into too much detail when it really doesn’t matter.

    Make sure you do the important things first each day and that you’re doing one thing every day that moves your business forward and affects the bottom line.

    Perfection doesn’t build a business – it’s something that stops us from getting started or finishing a task.

    To-do lists are all very well but a perfectly written list won’t get things done. How many people spend far too long in the planning part of the process but less in the doing.

    Stay focused, use your time wisely and you’ll get more done in less time.

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    Karen Skidmore Reply:

    Thank you Clare for your wise words! One of my favourite sayings is “Completion, Not Perfection”

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