Never Be Late Again

Clock from Stress ExpressAre you one of those people who is chronically late?  Who always rushes from place to place and leaves people waiting on you, creating tension before you even start?  Do you realize that being late is actually a broken agreement, that it says to the person you are meeting “You are not important enough to me to be on time.”  It’s unfair, insulting and unprofessional, and that’s so not like you.

How to Be on Time

Choose and prioritize.  Make the decision to be early instead of late. Set your clock 15 minutes ahead, set your phone alarm to beep you 15 minutes before you have to leave and then 5 minutes so that you make it on time.  Use whatever little tricks you have to get out the door in plenty of time.

Plan on delays, in traffic, in elevators, in subways, etc.  Life is like that, so build in a time cushion.  I have a meeting this morning that takes me 1/2 hour to get to- without traffic glitches.  So I will leave at 45 minutes before to give myself a 15 minute cushion. If you’re early, stay in your car and get things done before you go in.  Showing up 5 minutes early is fine, 15 is probably too much.

Call when you are running behind.  Demonstrate respect for the person you are meeting. Give them an accurate assessment of when you will arrive.

• Prep for meetings and events the night before.  Have everything you need all set to go. That saves scrambling around at the last minute.

Have one place in your house for keys, cellphones, etc.  Leave your keys there.  This prevents last minute rushing and looking for lost items.

Once you make the commitment to be on time, you will find the quality of your relationships improves and you will feel better about yourself, instead of guilt and ashamed.  You’re capable and competent, you know how to handle this.  Just do it and reap the rewards.

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Don’t Let Email Run Your Life

Manage Your Email Time and Reduce Stress

Say No

You don’t have to look at your email all the time….

I’ve heard so many professionals tell me in my speeches that they get hooked by their email and get stressed out.  Some even have an alarm that rings or chimes every time a new email comes in.  Turn that OFF!  No wonder your stress levels are skyrocketing through the roof!
Here are some simple ways to destress your email.

1. Remember Snail Mail?  You know, you go to your mailbox, pull out the letters, flyers and junk mail and trash about half of it before you even get home?  Do that with email.  Organize it into folders: important action, read later, associations,etc. and trash the rest.

2. Only check email 3-4 times a day- Do your HIGHEST PRIORITY money making tasks first always every day. Then check email at lunch, when you take breaks.  No alarms or flashes when you get a new one.  It’s probably spam anyway.

3. Use a SPAM FILTER.  One of my many email addresses (yes I get hundreds of emails every day) has no spam filter.  And now in addition to the Viagra ads, I get Asian character emails which I cannot read.  I keep that email only because I want to make it easy for people to reach me, but I have spam filters on all the others.

4. Have No -Email times every day.  Sunday, my husband and I went to the beach.  Ahh- glorious sunshine, surf, quiet and peace.  No email.  None- just focused time on my family.  Take time like that everyday.  Don’t make your children resent your phone.  It can wait.

 

For a free report on how to get and stay Fired Up!, go here http://firedupnow.com/top20tips/ 

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4. Have email-free times everyday.  We were at the beach on Sunday, and even though I have a smartphone, I did not read my email at all until late in the day. It was wonderful to have that freedom.  It lowers your stress and frees you to appreciate the people around you.

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How to Prevent Last Minute Unpleasant Surprises

Proactive Strategy and Collaboration Make a Huge Difference

Clock from Stress ExpressDo you ever feel you are at the mercy of others when it comes to meeting your deadlines? Are you frequently caught short in terms of time or resources because one of your clients waited until the last minute to ask for your help? Does one of your vendors let you down on the same service over and over again?

In each of these circumstances, it would be ideal if your employees, clients or vendors changed. But in reality, that’s not very likely to happen.

What You Can Do to Be Proactive

A far better approach is to be proactive. Ask your customers and clients what their plans are for the next 12 months. Ask them what projects they might need your support with and when the deadlines are for those projects.

Then mark your calendar and check back in with them regularly to see if they are on schedule. Be proactive and notify vendors that they will have work coming to them at a certain time and have them block out time in their schedule for you.  This way, you work on your terms at your pace and you are not caught by surprise nearly as often. Clients and vendors usually appreciate the advance planning and everything goes more smoothly.

 

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The Why Do It List- TIme Management Tool

Exhausted woman on files

THis woman needs a nap!

What are your true priorities?

Most of us are overwhelmed at work every day with “To Do” lists that never end.  Mike Vardy, author and blogger, says to approach your list differently.
 
He says make a list of the top things you need to do this week, including workfamily, personal, etc. with the answers to the question Why do it” after each. Knowing the WHY instantly clarifies what has greatest value in your life. Then schedule your week. 
 
All too often, we let the real priorities in our lives, people, loved ones, exercise, fun, slide under the overwhelm of work.  And then we end up unhappy and unhealthy and resentful.  Once you know why you want to do something, you can prioritize what is most important and be sure your to do list is meaningful for you.

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©2013 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. No duplication or reprinting without permission and author reference

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Time Management Tip- Ignore Email and Focus

Exhausted woman from Stress Express!Email is one of our biggest distractions.  Do NOT start the day with email.  Instead, start with a clear FOCUS of what you most need to get done that day for finance-building and results-driven activities.  Make a list of your top 6 priorities and tackle those.  Check email only at specific times a day and do NOT have an audio bell letting you know every time you get a tweet or email.  It takes 25 minutes to get back to concentration when you are distracted. Use your time to succeed at the most important tasks.

People who leave their email on all day typically change screens 37 times a hour
How productive can you be with that?  Manage your time and be effective by checking email on YOUR schedule.

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©2012 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved.  No duplication or reprinting without permission and author reference

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I’ll Do it Later, & Other Reasons We Procrastinate

The Illusive Someday….

Clock from Stress ExpressWe all have things we put off, whether it’s the laundry, key tasks at work, filing, etc.  And we have perfectly good reasons, like “I work better under pressure,” “I’ll get to it later,” “It’s not high priority.”

The thing is, enough of those things we have not done pile up into large incompletions, which sap your energy and pull away from what could be much more significant.  Incompletions are a form of self-sabotage which can create anxiety, worry and tension.

Why do we procrastinate and what can we do?  Here are three reasons and solutions….

1. Perfectionism. Let that go. As my friend Paul Evans says, “Done is better than perfect.”

2. “I work better under pressure.”  Most of us don’t really, and it creates unnecessary stress. Map out 90 minutes of uninterrupted time and get the high level high leverage activity done! 

3. Overwhelm. Chunk the project into small steps that you can easily tackle.  Note your progress, record your successes each step of the way and the project can get done smoothly and efficiently.  Learning to manage your time more effectively can have so many benefits, from greater personal satisfaction to increased income to more time with your family.

 

©2012 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved.  No duplication or reprinting without permission and author reference

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What’s Your Peak Performance Time?

When Are You at Your Best Productivity?

Do you know your peak performance time?  For most of us, it is early morning. Many people’s biorhythms drop in the afternoon, and some are night owls.  Track yourself if you don’t know and pay attention to when you seem to have the greatest clarity, vitality and mental acuity.  You will want to apply that to your most important priorities.

keys to success from Fired Up!Once you do know, schedule your day like this. Block out 90 minute chunks with absolutely no interruptions to work in-depth on your highest priority. (The one with the biggest ROI for you.) That means no calls, no emails, no people coming into your space:  total quiet and concentration time.  Work for 90 minutes on that one priority and after 90 minutes, take a renewal break. Stretch, connect with others, drink 8 oz. of clean water, eat some nourishing food and look at nature.  If you’ve been sitting at a computer, get up and gaze off long distance, to refresh your eyes.  If you can, get some physical exercise, as too much sitting can be dangerous.  (see earlier blog post.)


After a restful break, you’ll be refreshed and ready to tackle your next 90 minutes.  Try this technique and see how your productivity soars.  For more information on this concept, check out Tony Schwartz’s book, Be Excellent at Anything.

©2012 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. 
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Are You Out of Time?

Time Management for Superstressed People – Part I

Stressed out Woman from Fired Up! and Stress ExpressIn this age of constant information, over scheduled lives and frenetic activity, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that you DO have control over your own time.  If you’re a parent, you probably don’t feel that way, but there are definitely steps you can take to make the difference in your life and schedule.

First, as Tony Jeary writes in his book, Finding 100 Extra Minutes a Day, ask yourself “What is the greatest use of my time right now?”several times throughout the day.  Make sure it is the highest leveraged, biggest ROI activity you can make it. And that does not mean necessarily a financial ROI.  It could be an emotional ROI where you spend much needed time with a neglected loved one.

Prioritize your week’s schedule according to your top priorities, which have the biggest leverage.  Make everything else work around those priorities, whenever possible. If you know you have to take your son to soccer practice two days a week, plan to bring your laptop or iPad and do work while waiting.  Maximize your time so when he comes off the field, you can focus on him.

Get in the habit of saying no.  Don’t over schedule yourself.  My brother had been shuttling his son to 2-3 different sports throughout the week, taking up way to much time.  They let him pick the sport and now it is down to one.  My brother and his wife have much more time to tend to their priorities.  You will, too, once you make decisions that support what is best for the entire family.

Part 2 on Wed.

©2012 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. 
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Stress Express Tip: Complete What You Start

Get Fired Up By Handling Incompletions

Right now, examine your life.  How many projects are you working on simultaneously? How many books have you started and not finished?  How about unfinished articles you are reading or writing?  All of those are incompletions!

From Stress Express, image of messy home officeIncompletions drain large amounts of energy and actually create stress.  Anything from half-read newspaper to cluttered closets to the classic “to do” lists that never get finished; these are all incompletions.  Incompletions are a form of self-sabotage which can create anxiety, worry and tension.

At #Boss2011 this week, my friend Carrie Wilkerson, the Barefoot Executive, talked about finishing.  In my book Stress Express, I have an entire chapter devoted to completion.  Robert Fritz wrote extensively about it in The Path of Least Resistance. 

Why?  Because we all know how important it is to maximize your effectiveness.  We all have a finite amount of time and energy and anything that drags us away from high productivity time needs to be addressed.  So if you are constantly feeling overwhelmed and like you have way too much on your plate, try these:

•  Check your desk right now.  What can you handle and FINISH in the next 10 minutes? Do it.  Record it as a success.

• Recycle newspapers and magazines you are no longer reading.  It’s ok if you didn’t read the whole thing.  Declare it done!

• Examine your to do list.  What items can you delegate?  What really does not need to be done?  Prioritize your list in terms  of high leveraged items- ones that will have greatest ROI and take action on them.

You’ll immediately observe a difference in your energy, and you will feel a greater sense of satisfaction, productivity and well-being.

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 ©2011 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. No duplication 
or reprinting without permission and author reference.
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Celebrating Small Successes for Stress Relief & Happiness

My birthday is in July and it was a joy to celebrate twice, once with women friends at lunch and then at a party my husband threw for me.  Celebrating life’s little moments of success and joy is so important to our stress levels, happiness and overall performance at work.  It’s rare that the huge successes happen; what matters is to acknowledge all the small achievements you have every day.

Cheering women
I love this quote from Norman Lear:

“Success is how you collect your minutes.
You spend millions of minutes to reach one triumph,
one moment,
then you spend maybe a thousand minutes
enjoying it.
If you are unhappy through those millions of minutes,
what good are the thousands of minutes of triumph?
It doesn’t equate.
Life is made up of small pleasures,
Happiness is made up of those tiny successes.
The big ones come too infrequently.
If you don’t have  all those
zillions of tiny successes,
the big ones don’t mean anything.”
Norman Lear
Here’s a tip: at the end of each day, record 10 small successes you’ve had that day. Anything you intended to do and did is a success.  Catch yourself in the act of doing things right and see how much
happier and more fulfilled you are.
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