Archive for August, 2010

The progress of time

August 17, 2010


Make time for the important things in life

Last post we explored the importance of taking action. Finding the time in our busy schedules can be a challenge – work, home, family, commitments and sleep. What’s left other than a few minutes to relax before it all starts again?

Time is the great leveller. We all have the same number of hours in a day, rich or poor, successful or not. Successful people understand time is an asset, a commodity that has value and cost. How do you plan to spend yours?

Manage your time.

Schedule It. If you schedule it, it happens. One of these days is none of these days.

Allocate time for what’s important. It’s easy to fill your day with the urgent and relative unimportant, leaving the valuable until later. It’s human nature to want to ‘clear the decks’ before tackling a project that requires focus and energy.

Procrastination is a killer of time and energy. It drives anxiety and frustration that can lead to giving up. Don’t let that happen to you. Progress feels great. Perhaps arrive at work 30 minutes early in the morning and use that time, or maybe at lunch.

The biggest challenge is making a start. Decide what you want, be clear on the outcome, break your goal down into manageable steps and make a start. You can get a lot done by allocating just 30 minutes a day. This is certainly easier than finding a two or three hour block.

Establish a rhythm of results and focus on delivering incremental value to yourself. There can be a lot of playing around the edges that won’t take you closer to your goal.

Reduce friction. Create streamlined execution paths. Create a fast path for things you need to do frequently. Don’t allow the task to expand to fill the available time. Avoid task saturation of trying to do much at once.  Decide what’s the most important and focus your energy on that. This will improve your effectiveness. Then you can ‘bank’ some time for you.

Allow yourself time to relax and switch off. If you hit a block put it aside. Go for a walk, go to the gym or have some fun. Release and your subconscious will work on the problem for you. I find so many answers ‘pop’ into my head when I’m out surfing. Truly relaxed, enjoying the ocean, feeling free and in tune with the flow. Balance in all things.

So, if you find you’ve got no time to spare, make some time to manage your time.


The source of success

August 12, 2010


Imagine your success and take it!


Consistent action over time is the key to fantastic results. Action and striving for continuous improvement, learning what works and what doesn’t, building your experience and the incremental successes make the journey fun. You don’t write a book in a day, run a marathon the first time you go out or lose 10 kg in a week.

Over the next few posts we’ll cover specific strategies that will help you start taking consistent action:

Put in the hours. You can become an expert in any field of endeavour by applying 10,000 hours to it. Don’t despair, you’ll be well on along the path with the things you love and do now. Career progression is an excellent example. Achieving five years experience is a turning point, when the struggle of learning and embarrassing mistakes gives way to efficient confidence and a desire to take the next step.

Five years is 250 weeks (based on 50 working weeks per year) which is 1,250 days (five-day working week), which is 10,000 hours (based on eight hours a day). Work harder and you’ll progress faster towards your goal.

Personal pursuits may take longer because of the available time you have for them but if it’s something you really enjoy then the journey is part of the fun. Progress provides you with satisfaction and pride.

Paul McCartney said to a woman complaining that she would love to play the piano but had left it too late: ‘Start today and in ten years you will play like a master’. Often the size of the challenge can be daunting but the crucial step is to start.

Take action, make a start and you’re on your way. Remember to enjoy the journey and celebrate the milestones. Do something you love and the time is an investment in yourself, not a sentence to be served.

Everyone, rich or poor, successful or otherwise has the same number of hours in the day. You cannot buy time. How you use it will determine your personal success and achievement. What you do reflects your personal values and drivers.

If you don’t have the time to practice the piano but watch four hours of television a night that says a lot about your priorities. If you value time in front of the television as more important, that’s not necessarily bad; it simply demonstrates that this is higher on your value list than playing music.

Once we move past direct parental and teacher influence on our actions it’s up to us. Only you can change your priorities so the choice is to change or accept them, whichever feels right for you.

On a personal note, when I talked with a friend (who writes for a living) about my own writing, and how I wished to get better but would always delay starting or could never find the time, he said ‘writers write’. And he was right.

One thing is certain. By taking a deep breath and taking action, you will make more progress than simply thinking about it.

 ‘Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.’ Goethe

Achieving balance in your life

August 6, 2010

Finding balance in life

 This week’s post was adapted from a guest post I wrote for the MYOB Small Business Owner Blog. My great friend and talented writer Paul Hassing regularly posts incisive and thought provoking content. Certainly worth a look

Striving for success and achieving personal goals can lead to feeling apart from the wider world. Time and achievement demands weigh heavily. Always frantic, balancing current workloads with the flow of personal time, free thought, time at work and home. Never relaxing, always busy, trying to get ahead. A constant feeling of getting sucked into the doom loop.

Achieving is a philosophy for life. It’s a way of living that leads to remarkable results on all levels. To do that we must be very clear on what we want and free the mental space to achieve it.  Here are 5 steps to help you:

 1. Living with change

Serious achievers embrace change. They’ve learned to get comfortable with the unknown. To lead your field, to lead in life, you must be at the edge. Having the edge means finding the courage to take a risk and have a go. Uncertainty is big opportunity for those that lean into the ride.

 2. Taking the time

Allowing life to happen or defining your path? Reality dictates both but most only manage the first. Find the space for creative thought. Break through your own busyness or remain as a hamster on the wheel. Have the courage to try something different. No, it’s not easy but the truly important things rarely are.

 3. Plan to succeed

Set yourself goals and write them down. Commit and measure yourself weekly. Short and long term. What can you do today to make a difference?  Successful people are so because they set targets and go after them. They measure their results and take action.

 4. Take responsibility for your results

No blame. No excuses. No way. If things aren’t going to plan ask ‘what am I going to do about it?’ And do it.

 5. Action

Quite simply the most important ingredient for success. Set aside 30 minutes a day to look at the big picture, the view from the bridge. What do you see from up there, forest or trees?

Look at successful people, what do they do well? Find something to apply to your life and monitor the results. One thing at a time is enough. Small things can make a big difference.

 Do you have the courage to make a difference? What are you prepared to do today to make it happen?