Time Management


“Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.” – Earl Nightengale

I hope you are enjoying the final precious days of summer! Many of my clients tell me that, while they enjoyed the extra time and fun activities with their families, they also look forward to getting back into a more focused daily routine, once school starts.

Whatever the season, I believe that EVERY day should start with a personal practice to center, calm and focus you so that you can be as productive and happy as possible.  If you don’t take the time to prepare your mind and spirit each morning, it’s easy for your daily schedule to end up running you instead of you running it.

I hope this lightly-edited blog from two years ago will demonstrate how simple it is to master your mindset and energy by starting each day with quiet, focused time for yourself that will pay big dividends in prosperity, health and productivity!

May 31, 2015

A man is but the product of his thoughts.  What he thinks, he becomes.” – Mahatma Gandhi

If you are reading this, you are undoubtedly someone who cares about your personal development.  You believe that good ideas, tips, techniques and the experiences others share can contribute to YOUR success, well-being and happiness.

I would venture to guess that you also invest precious time and money attending workshops, trainings, webinars and/or reading and listening to a number of gurus, experts and inspiring speakers whose wisdom can help you reach your Big Goals and develop your personal potential.

If so, bravo!  You are one of the few people who are willing to go beyond the status quo and make a real effort to develop new skills, explore new ideas and even change any limiting beliefs that may be holding you back from greatness.  As a result, you could be delighted with your growth and progress in your business, family life and well-being.

On the other hand, you may wonder “Why am I not further along after spending so much time and money to learn all this good stuff?  Why isn’t any of it making a real difference for me?”

The Pull of the Same Old Same Old

As a “Workshop Junkie” for thirty-plus years, I can attest that simply paying the fee, listening carefully, taking good notes and underlining good material will NOT change your life. Returning home with a “workshop high,” then parking my notebook on the bookshelf and never opening it again is something I did many times.  Sure, some of the more vivid ideas from trainings and books stuck with me and I implemented a few here and there.  But unless I made a concerted effort to put what I learned into DAILY practice, all those great Ah-Ha Moments soon faded from my memory and I inevitably found myself reverting to my entrenched habits and comfortable old beliefs.

Unfortunately, after your thoughts and beliefs have been stirred up with something new,   your own Ego is pre-programmed to get you back to status quo as soon as possible because that’s what it thinks is the safest thing for you to do.  It knows you can survive your life just as it has been, but it’s worried that all those NEW ideas and tactics might change you in ways that could have dire consequences. Any time you try to implement something NEW, you are going to have a fight on your hands from your own Ego.

Installing New Thought Patterns

So how can you overcome this strong inner voice telling you to stay comfortably parked on the couch and not change anything about your life? The answer is simple: PRACTICE.  Training studies done by NASA on astronauts prove that it takes 25 to 30 days of consistent repetition for the human brain to build a new neural pathway for electrical thought impulses to flow through.  These thought corridors in the brain enable you to drive a car without having to consciously think about where your feet go on the pedals, or how each of your fingers should move to play a piano sonata or type an email message.  They form new go-to thought habits, if you will.  A single infusion of inspiration or knowledge – no matter how impactful – won’t stick around for long without being anchored in your brain via consistent repetitive practice.

I’ve found that while I’m learning an online accounting program to keep all my business records up to date so tax time will be a breeze, I must practice it regularly in order to master it.  If I don’t use it on at least a weekly basis, I inevitably forget parts of the process and have to refer back to my notes.

What You Think About, You Bring About

As Gandhi said, we are each a product of our own thoughts. The Law of Attraction (which states that energy attracts like energy) dictates that the people, resources and circumstances that habitually show up in your life are a reflection of your inner reality.  For things to change in your outer world, you must habitually think new thoughts and feel new feelings in order to attract what you want in your life.

But how do you develop consistently positive thoughts and energy?  I believe it is through simple Daily Personal Practices. If you will discipline yourself to spend just 30 to 60 minutes each morning on your own personal practices, they will help you turn many great ideas you are exposed to into consistent, habitual thoughts and actions that will set you up for success and inner enrichment.

Develop A Daily Personal Practice

Here are four simple but powerful Daily Personal Practices that I recommend to all my coaching clients:

  • Read or listen to an enlightening, uplifting message each day. This can be religious or something secular that is positive and uplifting. There are scores of  books, message texts or emails you can subscribe to for a positive daily thought or affirmation. I particularly enjoy both Joel Osteen’s daily messages and the affirmations in the Daily Word put out by the Unity Church, but they don’t necessarily have to be spiritual or religious. Reading any inspiring and uplifting messages will expand your consciousness and empower you to handle whatever challenges or opportunities you may face that day.
  • Pray or Meditate for a few minutes. After putting some good thoughts into your head, you can close your eyes and pray or meditate for maybe five minutes to let them sink in.  The goal is to stop your Ego’s monkey-mind chatter for just a few minutes so you can receive valuable guidance from your Higher Power or Higher Self.  It has been said that “Prayer is talking to God and meditating is listening to His reply.”
  • Maintain a regular Gratitude practice. I love to keep a Daily Gratitude Journal in which I list 10 things I am grateful for in my life right NOW. I learned this from Oprah, who said that just knowing she was going to have to list the things she was grateful for that day before she went to bed made her NOTICE all the good things in her life, which made her happier with her life.  And, of course, the Law of Attraction causes whatever energy you are sending out into the world to come back to you. So, whatever you feel grateful for now will attract even MORE of the same to you – like money, for instance!
  • Get some kind of exercise every day. Just 30 minutes of walking has been shown to provide substantial health benefits for people of all ages.  If you claim you “don’t have time” to exercise, you are REALLY saying, “Health and well-being are not a priority for me.” You can get up 30 minutes earlier or spend an extra 30 minutes after you drop the kids at school before you start in on your daily routine IF you value your health.  I walk for one hour six days a week and use this time to do a walking meditation and prayer session.  You could also listen to a daily positive message while you walk or do yoga. So you see, there’s really no excuse for not getting all four of these beneficial personal development practices done in just 30-60 minutes every morning!

Be Patient and Keep Practicing

Like any other habit, developing your Daily Personal Practice takes time, so be gentle with yourself as you explore different ways to fit it into your day and make it a priority. (One client listens to her recording of a weekly business training call each morning while putting on her makeup.) Just don’t let your Ego fool you into thinking you can do it once in awhile and still get meaningful results.  If you consistently do your Daily Personal Practice, your thoughts and energy will inevitably grow more positive and help you to get The Best results from your day.

One of my clients recently shared some major positive shifts in her life, which she attributes mainly to consistent Daily Personal Practices helping her develop a more positive mindset: “My business has really taken off, yet I feel so much less stressed than I used to be! I am sponsoring the right people with more ease. My life feels more balanced between work and family.  My Team and I are having FUN together and they seem more motivated.  I even took the whole Memorial Day Weekend off with my family and just enjoyed being together in the outdoors. There was no cell service, so I was completely cut off from work, and yet I still met a great new prospect for my business while we were fishing!”

 If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to http://practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top.

****************** The Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ********************

I invite you to offer someone you care about a truly unique gift that can change their life — ONE HOUR of Personal Success Coaching!  It is absolutely F*R*E*E* of charge, with no obligation and no strings attached!  And if YOU haven’t coached with me in awhile and would like a “tune up” session please give yourself this gift!

To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make this the BEST year yet, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com or call toll-free 888-503-8145.

 

“I learned that we can do anything, but we can’t do everything…at least not at the same time. So think of your priorities not in terms of what activities you do, but when you do them. Timing is everything.” – Dan Millman in Stress is a Choice

 Everything is going great guns in the first annual Prosperity Summer Camp course!  I am running fast to stay one step ahead of 52 eager “Campers” who are each actively working on manifesting a Big Goal by August 31, using the three steps of the Law of Attraction I am teaching them.  We are gaining insight and assistance from reading “You Are a Badass at Making Money” by Jen Sincero, who has truly mastered the art of allowing dreams to manifest more quickly and easily by letting go of the How.

To give me time to prepare for the weekly course, I want to share (again) with my cherished readers some simple but very effective suggestions for recharging yourself mentally, spiritually and physically, so you can manifest your own dreams with greater efficiency, focus and ease. Here is the edited blog that was very popular with my readers two years ago:

April 26, 2015

“Dedicate yourself to the good you deserve and desire for yourself.  Give yourself peace of mind.  You deserve to be happy.  You deserve delight.” – Mark Victor Hansen

 You may recall that one of my suggestions for “How to Beat Burnout(see blog #188 if you missed it) was to take at least one full day off each week and one entire weekend off each month.

If you find it challenging to imagine creating that much “recharging” time for yourself, I understand.  It’s challenging for me too.  There always seems to be plenty of paperwork, errands and projects to tackle on the two days a week I don’t have coaching clients. But I am striving to walk my talk and take regular time off to rest and re-charge my mind, body and spirit so I can be a more effective Personal Success Coach for my clients, a more attentive and loving wife to my husband, and a happier, more fulfilled ME to myself.

No matter how diligently we try to keep up, the chores will always be there. Trust me, the world will keep spinning if you unplug from them for a few hours a week. Isn’t it more important to nurture yourself and your personal relationships than to have a spotless house or completely orderly office?

I’ve learned to prioritize and do the weekly “musts” like writing this blog first, and then if I also manage to knock off a couple of the “would be nice” chores each week, that’s a plus that makes me feel EVEN better.  What really makes me feel happy and balanced is spending a few hours each week reading, relaxing, enjoying leisurely meals with my husband and watching good television. We also make it a point to go out on a weekly date night and enjoy a “Big Kids’ Play Day” once a month with our annual passes to Disneyland.

Here are four specific suggestions that I know for certain will have a very positive effect on your personal relationships and your mental, emotional and physical well-being if you follow them:

  • Be fully present. “Haste makes waste,” is accurate. If you focus 100% of your attention on what you are doing, you will do a better job in less time. You may think regular multi-tasking is a time-saver, but it actually makes you chronically half-present in your life. You half-understand what you hear and read, and are emotionally half-present with the people you are with. If you aren’t giving your projects, conversations and reading your full attention, you will eventually miss something critical that will lead to misunderstanding and/or having to completely re-do a task. One of my clients was dismayed when her five-year-old child recently asked her, “Mommy, why are you always in a hurry?” It’s not the amount of time you spend with them, but the quality of your undivided attention, that makes your loved ones feel that you care about them.
  • Be mindful in your health habits. Obesity studies show that people who eat slowly and savor their food, instead of shoveling it in mindlessly while watching television or working at their desk, consistently consume fewer calories. Taking time to prepare dinner and eat it with your loved ones most evenings will benefit your family relationships, as well as your waistline. Similarly, in your exercise routine, if you do your running, Pilates, yoga poses or weight lifting repetitions mindfully with proper form, your muscles will respond faster and avoid injury.
  • Get enough sleep. The late evening hours when the kids are in bed may seem like the ONLY time you have to get your own tasks done or just collapse on the couch in front of the TV or on social media.  However the price of sleep deprivation is very high, including stubborn weight gain, emotional and mental stress and a compromised immune system. Falling asleep at the wheel or a tired driver’s slowed response time are now said to cause as many deadly accidents as drunk drivers. If you discipline yourself to go to bed even 30 minutes earlier on weeknights, it will pay off in greater mental acuity, emotional control, and physical health. Back-lit screens like TV, computers and e-readers have been shown to interfere with your brain’s ability to wind down and let you fall asleep and stay asleep.  Exercising too close to bedtime can keep you awake too. Make the last 30-60 minutes of your evening a quiet time to meditate, converse with your partner or read an enjoyable paper book.
  • Unplug from your devices as often as possible. 84% of smart phone owners use their device while watching TV. Many people are tethered to electronics 24/7. “If you’re with your children and checking your phone all the time, the message to them is ‘Anyone in the world is more important than you,’” says Tanya Shevitz, a spokesperson for Reboot, a Jewish nonprofit dedicated to reinvigorating Jewish culture for a modern world. Orthodox Jews refrain from business transactions, writing, driving, gardening, shopping, laundry and other tasks from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday, spending time focused on God and their loved ones. But you don’t have to unplug from the internet and your phone just for religious reasons. “Embracing the sensual pleasures of life – having a special meal, lighting candles, having conversations where we really listen to others and listen to what our souls are trying to say to us…is rejuvenating when we give ourselves a day of rest once a week,” Shevitz suggests.

You will recall that last week’s blog urged you to ask God/The Universe and/or your own subconscious mind’s deeper wisdom “What must I change about myself in order to have what I want?”  Well, you can ask that same question about how to find a way to re-charge yourself regularly.  You may think it’s impossible to get off the hamster wheel of constantly running and doing, but if you take that question into prayer or quiet meditation, I promise you will receive some inspired guidance to help you begin.

If you commit to making even one small change in one or more of these areas and stick with it, you will begin to create a more balanced, healthy, happy and fulfilling life for yourself and those you love.

And don’t you deserve that delight?

IMPORTANT NOTE: A Cup of Caroll will be taking next weekend off and will return on Sunday August 13.

If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to http://practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top. 

****************** The Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ********************

I invite you to offer someone you care about a truly unique gift that can change their life — ONE HOUR of Personal Success Coaching!  It is absolutely F*R*E*E* of charge, with no obligation and no strings attached!  And if YOU haven’t coached with me in awhile and would like a “tune up” session please give yourself this gift! 

To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make this the BEST year yet, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com or call toll-free 888-503-8145.

 

“If you only did the things you don’t want to do, you’d have everything you want.” – Mel Robbins , Stop Saying You’re Fine

First, I want to thank everyone who sent me their lovely birthday greetings and good wishes on my birthday last Friday!  I thoroughly enjoyed celebrating at The Happiest Place on Earth (AKA Disneyland) with my wonderful husband, Rick.  The weather was perfect and we even manifested an unusually small crowd for a summer day.

Because of my birthday and preparing my upcoming six-session “Prosperity Summer Camp” webinar to teach you step-by-step exactly how to create ANYTHING you want using the Law of Attraction, I did not have time to prepare an original blog for today.

However, because I needed some valuable material to share with you, the Law of Attraction (which says “energy attracts like energy”) guided me quickly and easily to a great post by WalktheTalk.com (which I have permission to reprint) about an important topic that has come up a lot lately among my coaching clients: How do you prioritize the many tasks and goals competing for your time to ensure you will accomplish the ones that really matter MOST to you?

The answer follows! I hope you will find it as helpful as I did.

“Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.   In Eat That Frog, author Brian Tracy says that your ‘frog’ should be the most difficult item on your to-do list because, if you eat that first, it’ll give you energy and momentum for the rest of the day.  But if you let the frog sit there on the plate and stare at it while you do a hundred unimportant things, it can drain your energy and you won’t even know it.  Your ability to select the most important task at the moment and get it done will have more of an impact on your success than any other quality or skill.” – WalktheTalk.com

“Apply the 80/20 Rule to Everything” from the book Eat That Frog! By Brian Tracy

The 80/20 Rule is one of the most helpful of all concepts of time and life management.  It is also called the ‘Pareto Principle’ after its founder, the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who first wrote about it in 1895.  Pareto noticed that people in his society seemed to divide naturally into what he called the ‘vital few,’ the top 20 percent in terms of money and influence, and the ‘trivial many,’ the bottom 80 percent.

He later discovered that virtually all economic activity was subject to this principle as well.  For example, this principle says that 20 percent of your activities will account for 80 percent of your results, 20 percent of your customers will account for 80 percent of your sales, 20 percent of your products or services will account for 80 percent of your profits, 20 percent of your tasks will account for 80 percent of the value of what you do, and so on.  This means that if you have a list of ten items to do, two of those items will turn out to be worth five or ten times more than the other eight items put together.

Number of Tasks versus Importance of Tasks

Here is an interesting discovery.  Each of the ten tasks may take the same amount of time to accomplish.  But one or two of those tasks will contribute five or ten times the value of any of the others.

Often, one item on a list of ten tasks that you have to do can be worth more than all the other nine items put together.  This task is invariably the frog that you should eat first.

Focus on Activities, not Accomplishments

The most valuable tasks that you can do each day are often the hardest and most complex.  But the payoff and rewards for completing these tasks efficiently can be tremendous.  For this reason, you must adamantly refuse to work on tasks in the bottom 80 percent while you still have tasks in the top 20 percent left to be done.

Before you begin work, always ask yourself, ‘Is this task in the top 20 percent of my activities or in the bottom 80 percent?’

The hardest part of any important task is getting started on it in the first place.  Once you actually begin work on a valuable task, you will be naturally motivated to continue.  A part of your mind loves to be busy working on significant tasks that can really make a difference.  Your job is to feed this part of your mind continually.

Motivate Yourself

Just thinking about starting and finishing an important task motivates you and helps you to overcome procrastination.  Time management is really life management, personal management.  It is really taking control of the sequence of events.  Time management is having control over what you do next.  And you are always free to choose the task that you will do next. Your ability to choose between the important and unimportant is the key determinant of your success in life and work.

Effective, productive people discipline themselves to start on the most important task that is before them. They force themselves to eat that frog, whatever it is.  As a result, they accomplish vastly more than the average person and are much happier as a result.  This should be your way of working as well.”

Thanks, Brian! Once again, he has proven that the most profound, impactful ideas are often the simplest! If you will just discipline yourself each day to identify and then plunge in and tackle your 20 percent most IMPORTANT tasks (also often known as “Income Producing Activities”) FIRST, you will inevitably create all the success, money, time freedom, happiness, fulfillment and self-esteem you could possibly want.

And once you realize that you really DO stand to gain ALL those goodies, then eating that ugly old frog doesn’t seem so daunting, now does it?

IMPORTANT NOTE: A Cup of Caroll is taking next week off for our USA Independence Day holiday weekend AND so that I can continue preparations for my Prosperity Summer Camp webinar.  On June 19, you should have received the first email letting you know that registration is now OPEN and Early Birds who register by June 30 will qualify for two additional VALUABLE gifts!  If you didn’t get it, watch for the next email about the course that comes out Monday the 26th and jump right in! The six-module Zoom course begins on Tuesday evening July 18. I promise it will be interactive, fun and create lots of new prosperity for all who join me. Your friends, family and Teammates are welcome to join the course.  Please pass my emails along to them and encourage them to sign up too! (If you or they have any questions, please email me right away.)

If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to http://practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top.

 

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Steven Covey

Last week’s blog drew a BIG response from my readers!  It seems just about everyone recognized that they can use some “lightening up” in their life.  Several commented that they crave more time each week to enjoy family activities or just some relaxing “me” time.  But the challenge is HOW to carve out more free time in an already packed schedule? So I decided to share this lightly-edited blog from one year ago that answers that question:

When one of my clients didn’t call at our appointed time this week, I texted her, thinking she might be absorbed in some task and had lost track of the time. Instead, her reply text confessed that she was sitting in the doctor’s office and had completely forgotten our appointment.

Just the day before, much to my chagrin, I double-booked a coaching slot.  Fortunately, I discovered my mistake well in advance and one client was gracious enough to switch times. Nevertheless, I was quite annoyed because I take pride in being well-organized and detail-oriented.  (My husband and friends have less-flattering terms for this tendency, I’m sure!)

When I notice a recurring pattern among several clients, it’s a signal to me that the issue they are dealing with should be the theme of my blog.  This week, it was not only my clients’ behavior, but also my OWN that clearly signaled what I need to discuss.

Living an “abundant” life doesn’t depend on how much money you have in the bank, although money is certainly a good resource to have.  Abundant living depends on how much you are enjoying your life.  All of my clients are very busy people.  Some run a full-time business from home, while juggling a full-time family life.  Others have a day job AND are working hard to build a thriving business on the side, often with families to look after, as well.

It’s understandable that they sometimes feel exhausted and overwhelmed, so I share tips and techniques I have learned to help them take control of their schedules. Here are seven keys to mastering your own busy schedule and living an abundant, easeful life:

  • Write it down. The only way you can remember all of the “To Dos” that come up daily is to write them down in ONE place. You can break the list into categories if you like, under the headings “Work” “Family” and “Personal.”  Keep ONE list in a notepad that you carry with you and review it at least weekly. Trying to keep the list in your head will tax your brain and make you feel stressed.  Once it is written down, your mind can relax and focus on what needs doing NOW.
  • Schedule it. The items on your To Do list are not going to get done unless you transfer them onto your scheduling calendar. You must keep ONE scheduling calendar that has EVERY appointment and action item from all categories on it – work, family and personal. If you keep multiple calendars for your work and family events, you are inevitably going to double-book yourself or miss some important meeting.  The reason I double-booked my two clients was that I noted the appointment change in one client’s file, but must have gotten distracted and forgot to change it on my actual appointment calendar.  You MUST write appointments on your calendar the minute you make them.  Don’t rely on scraps of paper or sticky notes to remind you.
  • Plan your week. I recommend taking a quiet 30 minutes each weekend to sit with your To Do list and appointment calendar and plan the upcoming week. Schedule up to THREE of your To Dos each day AROUND the appointments you already have.  Recurring appointments include your morning personal development time, exercise time, kids’ sports schedules, etc.  If you don’t write all of these down, you will think you have time for your three To Dos, but will quickly discover that your day is actually already full of unwritten items that you can overlook until you have to do them. If you have blocked time in advance for them, you will accomplish at least 15 important To Dos each week.
  • Think ahead. Years ago, one of my dear friends had to wait by the side of the road for AAA to rescue him when his car ran out of gas on several occasions. When I asked him why this kept happening, he said, “I was late for work and didn’t have time to stop at the gas station. I thought I could make it.”Haste truly does make waste, so instead of flying by the seat of your pants, practice looking ahead 24 hours on your calendar to see what you are going to be doing TOMORROW. Make sure you have everything you will need: Gas in the car, clean clothes, cash, meeting supplies, etc. This habit will de-stress your life tremendously.
  • Focus. Men are designed to be single-focused, while women are born multi-taskers.  I know how easy it is to go into a room for one thing, and end up doing three other things while I’m there.  Many of my clients use social media as a vital tool to market their business and make new connections. Most of them confess that they plan to spend just 10 minutes posting something, and they end up mesmerized reading others’ posts for hours.
  • Discipline yourself. If you have your schedule blocked out in detail each week, you should know how much time you plan to spend on a particular task.  Set a timer for doing the task and when it goes off, STOP and proceed to the next item on your schedule, even if you didn’t finish the first task.  That “stick” will teach your brain to FOCUS next time so you can have the “carrot” of proudly accomplishing everything you planned for the day.
  • Do it NOW. Most of us are born procrastinators.  If we don’t want to do something we must do, we often postpone it until the last minute. But more often than not, our well-laid plans for tomorrow get interrupted by unexpected “fires” to put out that may cause us to miss the deadline.  One of my clients declared her New Year’s Resolution to be “Don’t delay; do it NOW.”  She has stuck with it and it has made her days much more calm and productive.  One of my favorite quotes from life coach Mel Robbins’ great book, Stop Saying You’re Fine, is “If you only did the things you don’t want to do, you’d have everything you want.”   

Here’s a final piece of hard-won wisdom from this recovering People-Pleaser: If you can easily fulfill another’s request, by all means, do so. But if it will suck up your time or resources so that your own dreams, family or personal well-being are likely to suffer, just say “NO!”  Many things we are invited to attend, join, buy or facilitate aren’t something we truly want and keep us from our own purposeful pursuits. If you respectfully decline, the requestor/inviter will appreciate your honesty and will ask someone else for whom it will be a purposeful opportunity.

If you will implement one or more of these tips, I am confident that you will soon experience more ease, productivity and time freedom in your life!

If you would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to my website at http://www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top.

****************** Give the Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ********************

I invite you to give a friend, colleague or loved one a truly unique gift that can change their life — ONE HOUR of Personal Success Coaching.  It is absolutely F*R*E*E* with no obligation and no strings attached!  You can give this to as many people who will really appreciate it as you wish.  (If you haven’t been in coaching with me for a while, feel free to claim it for YOURSELF, too!)

To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help them clarify their Big Goals and get into ACTION to make this their BEST year yet, have them contact me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com  or toll free 888-503-8145 to schedule their session.   

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Steven Covey

When one of my clients didn’t call at our appointed time this week, I texted her, thinking she might be absorbed in some task and had lost track of the time. Instead, her reply confessed that she was sitting in the doctor’s office and had completely forgotten our appointment.

Just the day before, to my chagrin, I had double-booked a coaching slot.  Fortunately, I discovered my mistake well in advance and one of the two clients was gracious enough to switch times. Nevertheless, I was quite annoyed because I take pride in being well-organized and detail-oriented.  (My husband and friends probably have less-flattering terms for this tendency!)

Living an “abundant” life doesn’t depend on how much money you have in the bank, although money is certainly a good resource to have.  Abundant living depends on how much you are enjoying your life.

All of my clients are very busy people.  Some run a full-time business from home while juggling a full-time family life.  Many have a day job AND are working hard to build a thriving business on the side, often with families to look after, as well. It’s understandable that they sometimes feel exhausted and overwhelmed, so I share tips and techniques I have learned to help them take control of their schedules.

Here are five keys to mastering your own busy schedule and living a more abundant, enjoyable life:

#1 Write it down. The only way you can remember all of the “To Dos” that come up daily is to write them down in ONE place. You can break the list into categories if you like, under the headings “Work” “Family” and “Personal.”  Keep ONE list you carry with you everywhere and review it at least weekly. Trying to keep To Dos in your head over taxes your brain and creates stress.  Once you write it down, your mind can relax and focus on what needs doing NOW

#2 Schedule it. The items on your To Do list are not going to get done unless you transfer them onto your scheduling calendar. You must keep ONE scheduling calendar that has EVERY appointment and action item from all categories on it – work, family and personal. If you keep multiple calendars for your work and family events, you are inevitably going to double-book yourself or miss some important meeting.  The reason I double-booked my two clients was that I noted the appointment change in one client’s file, but must have gotten distracted and forgot to change it on my actual appointment calendar.  You MUST write appointments on your calendar the minute you make them.  Don’t rely on scraps of paper or sticky notes to remind you.

I recommend taking a quiet 30 minutes each weekend to sit with your To Do list and appointment calendar and plan the upcoming week. Schedule up to three of your To Dos each day AROUND the appointments you already have.  Recurring appointments include your morning personal development time, exercise time, kids’ sports schedules, etc.  If you don’t write all of these down, you will think you have time for the three To Dos, but will quickly discover that your day actually is already full of unwritten items that you overlook until you have to do them. If you have blocked time in advance for them, you will accomplish at least 15 important To Dos each week.

#3 Plan ahead. Years ago, one of my dear friends had to wait by the side of the road for AAA to rescue him when his car ran out of gas on several occasions. When I asked him why this kept happening, he said, “I was late for work and didn’t have time to stop at the gas station. I thought I could make it.”

Haste truly does make waste, so instead of flying by the seat of your pants, practice looking ahead 24 hours on your calendar to see what you are going to be doing TOMORROW. Make sure you have everything you will need: Gas in the car, clean clothes, cash, meeting supplies, etc. This habit will de-stress your life tremendously.

#4 Focus. Men’s brains are designed to be single-focused, while women are born multi-taskers.  I know how easy it is to go into a room for one thing and end up doing three other things while I’m there.  Many of my clients use social media as a vital tool to market their business and make new connections. Most of them confess that they plan to spend just 10 minutes posting something,but end up being mesmerized by others’ posts for hours.

If you have your schedule blocked out in detail each week, you should know how much time you plan to spend on a particular task.  Set a timer for doing the task and when it goes off, STOP and proceed to the next item on your schedule, even if you didn’t finish the first task.  That “stick” will teach your brain to FOCUS next time so you can have the “carrot” of proudly accomplishing everything you planned for the day.

#5 Do it NOW. Most of us are born procrastinators.  If we don’t want to do something we must do, we often postpone it until the last minute. But more often than not, our well-laid plans for tomorrow get interrupted by unexpected “fires” to put out that may cause us to miss the deadline.  A client declared her New Year’s Resolution to be “Don’t delay; do it NOW.”  She has stuck with it and it has made her much more calm and productive.  One of my favorite quotes from life coach Mel Robbins’ great book, Stop Saying You’re Fine is “If you only did the things you don’t want to do, you’d have everything you want.”   

Here’s a final piece of hard-won wisdom from this recovering People-Pleaser: If you can easily fulfill another’s request, by all means, do so. But if it will suck up your time or resources so that your OWN dreams, family or personal well-being are likely to suffer, just say “NO!”  Many things we are invited to attend, join, buy or facilitate aren’t things we truly want and keep us from our own purposeful pursuits. If you firmly, respectfully decline, the requester will appreciate your honesty and will then ask someone for whom it will be a purposeful opportunity.

If you implement one or more of these tips, I am confident that you will soon experience more ease, productivity, joy and success in your life!

NOTE: A Cup of Caroll is taking the next week off and will return on Sunday, April 24.

****************** Give the Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ********************

I invite you to give a friend, colleague or loved one a truly unique gift that can change their life — ONE HOUR of Personal Success Coaching.  It is absolutely F*R*E*E* with no obligation and no strings attached!  You can give this to as many people who will really appreciate it as you wish.  (If you haven’t been in coaching with me for a while, feel free to claim it for YOURSELF, too!)

To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help them clarify their Big Goals and get into ACTION to make this their BEST year yet, have them email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com  or 888-503-8145 to schedule their session.   

“I learned that we can do anything, but we can’t do everything…at least not at the same time.   So think of your priorities not in terms of what activities you do, but when you do them. Timing is everything.” – Dan Millman

One of the biggest challenges my coaching clients seem to face is how to sort out multiple priorities among all the important tasks and projects they want to accomplish each day. With a demanding full-time job and a side business to manage, along with a family that needs their time and attention, how on earth are they supposed to find time for their own personal needs like daily exercise and Personal Development time? Where is that elusive “life balance” everyone wants?

I show them how to prioritize and manage their many accountabilities with ease, using a simple system I learned years ago. I call it the “Big Rocks” weekly scheduling system, after a memorable demonstration by a time management/efficiency expert.

First, he placed a big glass jar on a table. Next to it, he placed four glass jars containing rocks, pebbles, sand and water. He asked the audience in which order he should put the four substances into the jar so that ALL of them would fit. Looking at the four containers separately, it didn’t seem that the rocks, pebbles, sand and water could all possibly fit into the one big jar, but he promised they would if they were put in the right way.

Finally, someone got it: Put the BIG rocks in first, followed by the pebbles (which filled in the open spaces between the rocks), then the sand that sifted down into the cracks between the pebbles, and finally the water, which seeped down between everything, filling the jar to the top. Yes, all four items did fit into the available space, even though it looked impossible when you considered them separately.

The point he was making is that if you take care of the BIG tasks first, all your other tasks can be done with ease. But if you eat up most of your day checking off a long list of meaningless “little stuff,” you won’t have enough time and energy left to accomplish the truly IMPORTANT things that will make the biggest difference for you.

In addition to this great prioritizing insight, I also learned another key principle of productivity from the book “Master Your Workday Now!” by Michael Linenberger. He asserts that, while you may like to think you attend to the most “important” tasks first, the truth is, we all invariably do the most URGENT tasks first, whether or not they are the most IMPORTANT to us. These may or may not be your personal priorities, but they are tasks with a short deadline that your boss, church committee, spouse, kid’s teacher or customers say they MUST have your help with right NOW.   You will put out these fires first because alleviating the internal pressure caused by the feeling of urgency trumps all.

Linenberger believes that, as a rule, we can handle a maximum THREE such urgent matters each day. When more than three urgent tasks are competing for your attention at once, your brain loses the ability to prioritize and accomplish them. Most of the time, attempting to accomplish more than three urgent “Big Rocks” causes your brain to shut down and not finish some or all of them, or makes you to try to get them done in a slap-dash way that produces poor results.

What is the best way to accomplish your most urgent and important Big Rocks tasks each day? Rule #1 is DO NOT schedule yourself for more than THREE Big Rocks per day. These are defined as tasks that must be done by YOU (meaning you cannot delegate them to someone else) and must be done or worked on TODAY. If it can be delegated, ask for help! If it can be put off to a later time and still be done properly, schedule it as one of your “Big Rocks” for another day.

All this talk of urgency probably doesn’t sound very easeful, does it? So how do you accomplish three Big Rocks, along with the rest of your To-Dos every day with a feeling of ease and control? Simply PLAN your Big Rocks in advance! Here’s how Mr. Linenberger’s book taught me to do it:

  • 1) For 20-30 minutes each weekend, sit quietly with your long To-Do list of upcoming tasks and projects and your day planner calendar. Study your list carefully and decide which tasks are going to be your Big Rocks to accomplish during the coming week.
  • 2) Schedule a maximum of THREE Big Rocks tasks per day into your weekly planner/calendar at the TIMES of day you think they should be done. Some Big Rocks will be appointments at set times, such as a job interview at 10am on Tuesday, a dentist appointment at 3pm on Friday, getting your car’s oil changed on Thursday morning, going to your kid’s soccer tournament Thursday at 4pm, etc.   Other daily Big Rocks will be projects and tasks that YOU must choose the best day and time for YOU to work on. In that case, you will be BLOCKING out times that you feel are optimal for you and the results you want, such as making prospecting calls from 10am to 11am each day, writing a report that’s due by the end of the week from 2pm to 5pm on Tuesday, practicing the cello each day from 5 to 6pm, in preparation for a recital in two weeks, etc.
  • 3) IF a conflict arises between a previously-set appointment (which, of course, you wrote in your planner the minute you set it) and a Big Rock task or event that came up later, your weekly planning time alerts you to either change the standing appointment OR negotiate a change for the task or event. Being in integrity requires that you notify anyone else who will be affected by such changes, just as soon as you become aware of them. If another’s expectations are not going to be met, alerting them ASAP allows them time to either get someone else to fill in for you or to negotiate a new time for you to accomplish it.
  • 4) After scheduling the Big Rock tasks and appointments for each day of the coming week, you then can fill in the rest of the open times with your “Pebble” tasks. These are not as important as the Big Rocks and/or they can be done at flexible times, so you can fit them in after you see what the Big Rocks schedule looks like each day.
  • 5) After that come the “Sand” and “Water” items, such as errands. If these small items don’t get done today, it’s not a big deal; you can still fit them among the Big Rocks and Pebbles another day this week. Try to be efficient by looking at your To-Do list for multiple errands that can be done in the same trip and block those out for 30 minutes or an hour in a given day. TIP: Always have something useful to read or listen to while you commute or are stuck waiting somewhere for a few minutes.   Don’t waste precious time playing games on your smart phone when you could be reading a good book or listening to a recorded training call.

IMPORTANT: In order for this system to work,

  • You absolutely MUST keep a daily/weekly planner that has slots of at least 30 minutes for each day. (My coaching appointment calendar has 15-minute time slots from 8am to 8pm each day.) AND
  • You must keep ALL of your appointments – business, personal, doctors, kids’ sports, social engagements, etc. — on the SAME planner/calendar. If you have multiple calendars going for different areas of life, you will eventually double-book yourself or miss something important and tears will flow.

My clients who faithfully use this simple “Big Rocks” weekly scheduling system report that it really works! They have a greater sense of control over their time and no more stress caused by double-bookings or forgotten appointments. And they have a real sense of accomplishment at the end of the day because they were able to complete the things that really mattered, instead of just checking off a bunch of little tasks that can’t help them reach their Big Goals.

If you will devote just 30 minutes each weekend to planning and scheduling the week ahead, I promise you will gain a greater sense of control, lower your stress level, and begin to create that “life balance” we all crave. Seems totally worth it, doesn’t it?

****************** The Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ********************

I invite you to offer someone you care about a truly unique gift that can change their life — ONE HOUR of Personal Success Coaching! It is absolutely F*R*E*E* of charge, with no obligation and no strings attached! And if YOU haven’t coached with me in awhile and would like a “tune up” session please give yourself this gift! 

To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make this the BEST year yet, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com or call toll-free 888-503-8145.