How many times have you turned on more lights or plugged into more sockets than your electrical power could handle? (Yes, I live in a New York City apartment building) What happened? Usually, because of an overload the electrical power would immediately shut down. In the ‘good old days’ that meant getting a flashlight, finding the fuse box and changing the fuse. Or worse yet, at times you would have to disturb the superintendent and have him to go into the basement to change the fuse. That alone was enough to make you blow your own fuse. Today? Not to worry, because we have circuit breakers. When there is a power failure, you either pull the lever, or flip some switches. Take the time to unplug from one or two outlets. Turn the circuit breakers back on, and voila! Power is restored.
Sometimes, our jobs and lives demand more power than our bodies can handle. We’re plugged into meetings, social media, correspondences, research, phone calls, deadlines, family, and friends. And, they are all demanding equal time and attention. We’re making decisions from the time we get up until we retire for the evening. What will the children wear to school? What will you make for their lunch? Will you meet with your child’s teacher or attend that all-important meeting? Should you return a phone call that could clinch a sale, or should you meet with your boss to discuss a growing problem? Whew! If something doesn’t give, we definitely will. Yes, we will shut down because of overload.
The solution? Stress breakers. Like circuit breakers, they allow you to restore power, but first you must pull the switch. So, when you sense a loss of your physical, mental, or emotional power, pull the switch. Unplug and then restore your power.
For five, ten, or fifteen minutes before that really important meeting or phone call; before you give needed attention to your family or friends; before you have to deal with an unpleasant situation; unplug and restore your power by trying the following stress breakers:
1) When stress is beyond bearable, call someone whose voice alone can ease your tension. (Grandma, grandpa, parents, best friend)
2) Keep a book of inspirations nearby. Read from it for five minutes.
3) In your mind, relive one of the best times you have ever experienced.
4) Walk away from your desk or location and take a ride on the elevator, or go to a private area in the women’s or men’s room. Close your eyes and breathe deeply for 15-30 seconds.
5) Take a walk around the block.
6) Sip slowly on a hot cup of soothing herbal tea.
7) Do some stretches while sitting or standing at your desk.
8) Put on your favorite song and sing or dance like you mean it.
9) Still yourself. Yes. Just be still. It allows you to reassess, regroup, and put things in proper perspective.
10) Laughter is truly the best medicine. So recall funny moments in your life or that of your family or friends’ lives and laugh, laugh, laugh.
Okay. These are my stress breakers. What’s yours?
Time is one directional. Once it is gone, it is gone. You cannot get it back. You cannot make it up. However, what you can do is get in control of your time by making the best use of it. The number of books written on time management is endless. Therefore, there is no loss for words on how to manage time. I have identified seven effective ways individuals can get control of their time.
Donate, Dump, Store
The very first step to get in control of your time is to get organized. Try getting rid of items you do not need or do not use and then create ‘homes’ for items you choose to keep. You can spend several hours a day searching for misplaced items when there is disorganization. This can result in frustration, tiredness, and eventually you will give up. How productive is that? So, donate it, dump it, or store it – in a home.
Buy Out Time
Anytime you make a purchase there is an exchange. You give the sales associate or clerk the money and then you get the goods. So what are you willing to exchange for time? If you watch television for several hours a day, why not buy two hours of time from that? Do you text, talk, or hang out on social media for hours at a time? Perhaps you can buy two or three hours of time from that. Think about the things you are spending a lot of time on that is less important than what you truly want to do or need to do, and buy time from it.
Set specific times for each day of the week for when you will check and respond to your email, voicemail, and mail. Do the same when working on minor or major projects. Use the batman rule of thumb – Same bat channel. Same bat time. Same bat station.
Build in Variety
When planning your day, if the first two hours will have you sitting, schedule the next hour or two for things that will have you moving about. It keeps the energy flowing. With your energy level up, you will obviously get more done.
Plan Your Calls
If you have to call a long-winded colleague, plan your call. Many time management experts agree it takes about eight minutes to complete a planned called. However, it takes about 15 minutes to complete an unplanned call. On the other side of that coin, if you’re on the receiving end of the call, tell the caller that you have two minutes to spare, but if you can call them back, you’ll be able to talk longer.
Use the 10-Minute Response Rule
If you have a coworker who is constantly interrupting you and asking for your assistance, use the 10-minute response rule to keep control of your time. Tell the coworker to give you 10 minutes and you will be right over. Now, I ask you – What usually happens when you ask someone to wait for you to assist them? Most of the time, they will figure it out for themselves.
Just Say No
No explanation needed.