Machen MacDonald: Your time is now | TheUnion.com

Machen MacDonald: Your time is now

Machen MacDonald
Columnist

Productive people accept their future self won't have any more time than their current self has now to get important things done. It's pandemic when it comes to people convincing themselves and others that they will have time later to do the important things.

On a macro level, I hear it all the time — "Let me just get past this tradeshow and then I can devote the time to working on my business plan." Or, "We're too busy right now to roll out a sales training program."

Meanwhile, their salesforce is wasting exorbitant amounts of time and losing money because they are missing key steps and opportunities in the sales cycle.

On a micro level people are overwhelmed with email and voicemail inboxes that are constipated. They fantasize the solution to be a two to three hour window sometime in the future to address, process, and clear out thousands of emails that have stacked up.

Another offense is wasted time looking for lost or misplaced items. Studies show that if we added up the hours people waste looking for misplaced items, over the course of a year, they would have two extra days at the end of that year.

Let's face it, with business moving at the speed of thought, we will always have more to do than we can do. It can feel like the conveyor belt of oncoming tasks and projects won't be slowing down anytime soon.

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Something has got to give. What causes that overwhelm of overflow is — deferment.

There is a solution to increasing our sense of feeling we have more time to get things done. The answer is stop deferring. In David Allen's book, "Getting Things Done," he talks about the two minute rule.

If the task you are faced with takes two minutes or less, do it right then and there. In Paul Aker's book, "2 Second Lean," he advocates looking for ways to shave just two seconds off of every process and establish set standards to follow. Anybody can shave two seconds.

Time hacks

With other tasks or projects you may be best served by doing it now as well. Below are several simple hacks to get your time back:

If you feel you don't have the energy to exercise. Do it now. It will give you the energy you think you don't have simply by moving the blood and oxygen around in your body.

Doing it repeatedly will provide you strength and stamina in the long run. Take 10 minutes right now and do some deep breathing, pushups, walk, or stretch. You will feel the benefits immediately.

If you think you don't have time to meditate, pray, or sit in silence, think again. By doing so you increase your mental and emotional capacity to take more on more effectively.

By not doing so, the odds of the conveyor belt winning are dramatically increased.

Read, process and file or delete your emails as you see them. You will free up your bandwidth to get more done without the gnawing sense of anxiety of fearing something important is buried in your inbox.

Put things back where they belong. If something doesn't have a home. Take two minutes and think about where to make the space and place the item there … every time you are done with it.

Decisions take time and energy. Get some time back by limiting the decisions you need to make throughout your day.

Build routines and habits into your morning, mid-day, and evening. To learn more visit magnetichabits.com

Limit the time available for certain projects. Parkinson's law states — work will expand to fit the time allowed. You will be amazed at how much you can get done by setting a timer for 25 minutes of focused time.

Google "Pomodoro Technique" to learn more about the power of 25 minutes of focus.

Have that critical conversation you dread as soon as you can. By putting off having those critical conversations we know we need to have, we do nothing but add to our stress levels by continually thinking and worrying about it.

Stress impedes our judgement and performance leading to unnecessary mistakes which cost us time. Have the conversation now. You'll be relieved once you do.

These are just a few simple accelerators. Let me know some of yours.

Try these out this week and reclaim your time. Be aware, nature abhors a vacuum.

Be mindful of what you will fill your newfound free time with, otherwise it will just fill back up with more of the same drama and chaos you worked so hard to remove.

Make it up, make it fun, and get it done!

#1 bestselling author Machen P. MacDonald, CPCC, CCSC is a certified life and business coach with ProBrilliance Leadership Institute in Grass Valley. He helps business people gain more confidence and clarity to live their ideal life. He can be reached at coach@probrilliance.com and 530-273-8000.