NOTE: April 18, 2014 Fast Action Fridays recap. This is not a full transcript, but rather a summary of at least one Fast Action Tip that was shared, along with a Your Turn Exercise.

Last week we talked about managing our inboxes and saving time by using email filters. I don’t know about you guys but I have several inboxes and I enjoy being signed up to many different lists.  Yet it can be very overwhelming when I have several hundred emails coming in each day so I use a use a lot of email filters so incoming emails can go automatically into different folders where I can access them when it’s most convenient for me. It also helps highlight which emails are most important and may need more immediate attention. If you missed that recap, you can read it here.

That week’s email notice included a link to download a copy of my 10 Commandments for Finding Time

This is a list I created years ago when I was doing Help! I Can’t Find Time to Write workshops.  The truth is we can never find time. We have in our reality 24 hours every day. We all have the same amount of time. So to think that we can “find time” is a pretty ridiculous notion. What we need to do instead is figure out what our priorities are and make the time … carve out the time … take the time … to work on those priorities. Keeping in mind those 10 rules can really help with that.

Fast Action Tip 1:  Post a copy of 10 Commandments for Finding Time for easy reference

If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend printing out the one page sheet and posting it somewhere where it’s easy to see several times during the day. I post it to help remind me that I am responsible for my time and to use it wisely.

Didn’t get a copy of the commandments? Click here to access the pdf now. It’s free.

YOUR TURN Exercise – Time to face the truth. Identify your time-wasters and what you’ll do instead

Grab paper and pencil and take a few minutes and list some things you did during the previous week that really didn’t need doing. For instance, how often did you check email? Did you go on Facebook reading through everything your friends posted and following one interesting link after another that had absolutely no connection to improving your life, relationships or were directly relevant and timely to the work you intended to focus on that day?  (BTW, my hand’s up … too often guilty of that Facebook and interesting linking surfing.)

Now, create a second short list with some things that you intended to do during the week but never took the time for.

Once you have both lists, it’s time to be totally honest with yourself and place a star next one or more items on the second list that you COULD have done but didn’t treat the task as a priority thus giving it the attention – the time – it deserved.

WARNING – The Guilt Gremlins are going to show up as you face the reality visible in your written lists.

That’s okay. Don’t ignore them. Acknowledge the ego-busting buggers.

But don’t let take control. Don’t let them take away your power to make choices and take action from this moment forward. You decide what you will do.

Treat the past as a learning experience, as something you don’t want to repeat when it was not in your best interest to do so AND identify those things you will recommit to focusing on this coming week. Determine what you want your next action steps to be. Plan for them. Find the time for the them. Make the time for them. Take the time for them.

Fast Action Tip 2:  Apps that boast they can help you track and manage your time

During the call I promised to include some resources and online apps that boast they can help you understand where/how you spend your time. Some have settings that can even lock you out of online sites after a certain amount of time. Imagine that!

Personally, I’m leery of giving any app that much power. I mean, what if I’m in the middle of Facebook chatting with a coaching client and … Poof! … suddenly I’m kicked off Facebook? After all, not all my Facebook time is spent meandering about cyber space.

BTW, I’ve haven’t any affiliate or other personal or professional association with any following resource links. They are just plain vanilla URLs.

If you’re brave and really want an app to control your online surfing, check out RescueTime

— According to RescueTime, the free version allows you to understand how you spend your time, track time in websites and applications, set goals, get a weekly email report

There’s a premium version with more features but, really, do you “need” to track time aware from the computer and get alerts when you meet your goals?

Fast Company article: 10 Time Tracking Apps That Will Make You More Productive 

Lifehack article: Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools 

Time Management Ninja: 12 Apps I Use Every Day To Be Productive

Beware good intentions

Frankly, I worried about including the Fast Company, Lifehack, and Time Management Ninja article links here in this recap. Afterall, some of us wouldn’t hesitate to click those links just to see what the heck was on those lists. And, they “are” good reads with useful “on topic” information and recommended resources. I even use some of those tools myself, including Lastpass, YNAB and mindmapping software.

But, if your goal is to eliminate (or at least drastically cut back) time-wasting cyber surfing then you don’t need to read them because you already own what you need to meet your intention of making time for doing what’s most important to rock your path. You know that. I know that.

So why then “did” I include those links?

Can you say “Testing your resolve.” 🙂

Good for you if you resisted the urge to click them and read the awesome lists of 10 and 15 and 12 recommended productivity tools!

You get brownie points to if you tagged them to read later. BTW, I love the free Pocket.com app for that.

Fast Action Tip 3:  Kat’s note-taking rules

  1. Every note should include the full date it was made
  2. Every note should include a one or two word topic identifier.
    That way if I misplace a note, the date and topic help me know whether the information is still relevant and where to properly file it.
  3. Every loose note gets filed in only one of three places:
    a) the project or date related folder to which it relates,
    b) a generic “idea” or “current month” folder that is reviewed and purged at least once a year, or
    c) the equivalent a or b digital folder

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  • Kat: You nailed it when you noted that its not about finding time. Everyone has the allotment every day of their life (except their first and last). It’s all about prioritization and I use a similar technique as the first fundamental for my students to get honest with themselves about their daily disciplines. Kudos too on how the cleanliness of the blog design allowed the ACTION-TIPS to stand out. Thank You, Thank YOU, THANK YOU. prp

  • Thanks, Peter. Can you tell I’ve struggled with many things in the past before finding what works to break down and move past our personal hidden barriers and bad habits?

    Appreciate the kudos on my blog design, too. Did it myself … but, oh, you should see some of my past designs. Proof, I say, of the folly of waiting for things to “be perfect” before putting it out there. It’s nice having a design I love and people comment positively on. But I didn’t wait till I thought things were perfect. In fact, a website is ALWAYS a work in progress.

    BTW, while I don’t offer webhosting and setup anymore, I do offer website audits with an eye to making sure a site is _working well_ in terms of its purpose and the owner’s goals.

  • Wow Kat, some awesome resources. I totally clicked and read the articles…but only because I’m on my lunch break at work so I have time. 🙂 I printed off that list and taped it above my desk, definitely some things I need to remember in there!

  • Kat: We are on the same wavelength. My blog today was about scheduling the Rocks, the important part of our businesses. The rest of the stuff will filling in. I will take a look at your other 10 points later. Focused now on doing my blogging/commenting.

    • Agree with you 100%, Heather. Scheduling the Rocks is so vital if we truly want to make headway on achieving our goals in life and business. I’m headed offline so I can focus on what I’ve scheduled in my planner for the next couple hours.

  • Hi Misty,
    Good for you for using some lunch time wisely. I work mostly from home office and it’s so much easier to stretch out lunch and other breaks unproductively than when I was a corporate advertising sales account rep … or even in my newspaper reporter days. Add in that I am habitually curious and LOVE everything about researching I’m always one easy click or page turn away from time management disaster if I’m not careful. 🙂

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