My cat Annie is full of useful lessons. And for those of you who say that lack of time is keeping you from getting your life story told, here’s what Annie knows about good time management.
- Decide what’s important and drop the rest. There’s always time to do the important things. Annie has clear priorities – sleeping, eating, observing, playing, and snuggling. Anything else is of little interest to her and she doesn’t do it. Take a moment and make a list of things you have to do today. Now put an “A” beside the absolute must do items. Drop the rest. This may sound drastic but you can’t humanly tackle everything you think needs doing in a day.
- Learn to say “No”. Ever try to convince a cat to do something it doesn’t want to do? It’s taken me a while to do what Annie does really well, and that’s to say “No” and not feel guilty about it. No is a very powerful word. It helps you set boundaries and drop those time-sucking activities.
- Concentrate on one thing at a time. Annie never multitasks and she’s wise because studies show it doesn’t work.
- Reward yourself. Annie has learned that good behavior, like coming when I whistle for her, comes with a small treat. It reinforces good habits I want to instill in her. When you’ve completed a difficult task make sure you give yourself a treat – maybe a good bottle of wine or fine chocolate truffles.
- Establish routines and stick with them. Annie is a creature of habit. She thrives on routine. She expects me up at 6 am to feed her. While my porridge cooks, we have a ten minute play time. This is usually followed by her first outing of the day. If we know how our day is structured, we can better fine tune it to meet the demands that arise.
- Start your day right. Annie has a good breakfast followed by 30 minutes of meditation. For some reason she loves to curl up with me as I do my daily Vipassana Meditation. If you’re too rushed to find a moment of calm in the morning, the chances are you’ll start your day stressed. This in turn will lead to poor decision making and ineffective use of your time.
While we can’t create more hours in a day, we can manage our time so that we create the space we need for those important projects, like our life story. What are you doing to manage your time more effectively?
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