More Time for You: A Powerful System to Organize Your Work and Get Things Done

Overview

If you're overwhelmed and overworked, you don't need sympathy-you need a powerful system for getting more done in less time. More Time for You shows you how to take advantage of today's most versatile and effective productivity enhancers -mobile devices, online tools, and calendar software-to become more organized and lead a less stressful life. The authors reveal their proven, practical approach for prioritizing, achieving goals, reducing stress, and increasing your capacity to...
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Overview

If you're overwhelmed and overworked, you don't need sympathy-you need a powerful system for getting more done in less time. More Time for You shows you how to take advantage of today's most versatile and effective productivity enhancers -mobile devices, online tools, and calendar software-to become more organized and lead a less stressful life. The authors reveal their proven, practical approach for prioritizing, achieving goals, reducing stress, and increasing your capacity to do what matters most. The book shows you how to:

Make better, faster decisions based on your priorities • Tame your inbox with easy and efficient e-mail triage techniques • Set up a calendar management and reminder system • Handle distractions and interruptions • Lose that nagging sense you are forgetting something • Maximize the benefits (and minimize the time sink) of social media

Illustrated with screen shots from Microsoft Outlook®, the authors' simple tips and step-by-step process make workplace organization a reality. Their upbeat tone and get-to-it approach make starting and sticking with the program easier than you'd ever imagine!

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“…a practical guide that gives readers a clear list of rules for increased efficiency…file the purchase of this book in your Do It Now folder.” --CareerDiva

"... a great book...Read it!" --CEO blog

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814416471
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 8/11/2010
  • Pages: 242
  • Sales rank: 956,255
  • Product dimensions: 9.28 (w) x 11.04 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

ROSEMARY TATOR (Dover, NH), as Principal Partner of 2beffective™ LLC, helps clients increase effectiveness while reducing stress.

ALESIA LATSON (Sharon, MA) as Principal of the Latson Leadership Group, helps executives at all levels to expand their management and leadership effectiveness.

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Read an Excerpt

INTRODUCTION

ALESIA’S STORY

The bane of my existence has always been the management (or

in my case, the mismanagement) of time. I have struggled with

finding time to ‘‘do it all.’’ In high school and college, I was notorious

for pulling all-nighters to study or write papers (a habit I have

not outgrown). When I started my career, I was often the last to

leave the office. As a consultant, I am challenged to travel, facilitate

workshops, undertake project work, address client needs, prospect

for new clients, and write for a living. In addition to nurturing my

marriage and caring for my family, there is all the stuff of life:

friends, holidays, parties, errands, bills, exercising, piano practice,

classes, reading, theater, vacation, thank-you notes, e-mail, tax

preparation, and so on. For me, it all can get daunting. I’m embarrassed

to tell you how many flights, trains, appointments, and opportunities

I’ve missed. How many times I’ve run out of gas. How

many birthdays, anniversaries, and events that I wanted to attend,

but forgot about. How many books and articles I haven’t read; movies

and plays that I haven’t seen; classes that I haven’t taken; or

trips and sporting events that I haven’t enjoyed—not because I

didn’t have the time (trust me, I’ve had plenty of time to do these

things), but because I didn’t appropriate the time. I was neither designing

my days consciously nor creating my life purposefully. This

proven system to organize your work and get things done, the system

that Rosemary and I share in this book, is the result of our

own experience and exploration into finding a way to manage our

busy lives to be fulfilling—not just full of things to do.

Is my life perfect? No. Far from it. Am I late for the occasional

meeting or appointment? Yes. Do I do everything I want to do? Not

always. But do I have a great life? Yes! Not because I get everything

done that I want to do in a day, week, month, or year, but because

I’ve designed it to be full of the stuff of life that means the most to

me. And that couldn’t happen without the system that we’ll introduce

to you in this book. So settle in and buckle up. It’s going to be

a great ride!

—Alesia Latson

ROSEMARY’S STORY

For most of my life, I have taken on more and more projects,

events, and things to do than there is time to do them. As soon as

I get into a project, I see all these resources and people that could

enhance the project, and I add them to my already-bulging schedule.

I come by this honestly. I consider myself a ‘‘professional multitasker’’

and have been at it since my childhood. As the oldest of

seven children, I learned from the best of the best: Back then,

multitasking meant finding one child’s mittens while sending the

other one out the door, while telling my mother, ‘‘Everything is all

set.’’ And it continued into my career. I hate to admit it, but I actually

trained people to hire others based on how well they could

multitask.

Adding to my ‘‘condition’’ is my high-energy, upbeat, ‘‘I can do

it’’ attitude. At first blush, this characteristic of mine may sound

like a great blessing and a benefit in accomplishing things in life.

Perhaps it would be, were I in control of it. You see, these qualities

affect not only me but other people, too. At times everyone around

me is spinning with me at the speed of light. As exciting as this

experience may be in the moment, and as great as the ‘‘high’’ may

be for pulling things off once again, as my husband says, ‘‘Dear, this

is totally unsustainable.’’ You can just about predict the forgotten

messages, the missed thank-you notes, and the settling for less than

what would have been possible if I had been more realistic with my

time. My inability to deal with twenty-four hours in a day and 168

hours in a week has been a major cause of angst throughout my life

and career.

The processes and practices that Alesia and I share in this book

are a direct result of our own experiences, struggles, and triumphs.

We not only write about these practices and coach and train people

in them, but we live by them, too. This system of practices ‘‘grounds

me.’’ I face the reality of the time available to me as never before.

It supports me in remembering that I truly can only do one thing

well at a time. Making choices has become a natural part of my day

now, and my reliability has greatly increased. I have the time to

focus on what I say is most important. I’m still an optimistic person,

but now a much more realistic one also.

As you make your way through the book, try these practices on

for size and make them your own. This is your one life.

—Rosemary Tator

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

Part 1 So Much to do 5

Chapter 1 Time and Effectiveness 7

Chapter 2 Three Coping Strategies that don't Work 25

Chapter 3 Time and you 39

Part 2 Knowing what you Want 47

Chapter 4 Being Clear about what is Important 49

Chapter 5 Creating Your Life 61

Part 3 The More-Time-for-you System to Organize your Work and get Things Done 73

Chapter 6 Capturing Your Thoughts 75

Chapter 7 Designing Your Days 93

Chapter 8 Dreams Come True when you Plan 114

Chapter 9 Managing E-Mail 123

Chapter 10 Reducing E-Mail Volume 149

Chapter 11 Back on the Triage Wagon 161

Chapter 12 Social Media is Here to Stay 165

Chapter 13 Relaunching Your Created Life 175

Chapter 14 Parting Words 197

Appendix A Implementation Action Plan 199

Appendix B Additional Techniques for Managing Calendar and E-Mail Systems 202

Notes 219

Index 221

About the Authors 227

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First Chapter

MORE TIME for YOU

A Powerful System to Organize Your Work and Get Things Done
By ROSEMARY TATOR ALESIA LATSON

AMACOM

Copyright © 2011 Rosemary Tator and Alesia Latson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8144-1647-1


Chapter One

TIME AND EFFECTIVENESS

Live a good life. And in the end, it's not the years in the life, it's the life in the years.

—ABRAHAM LINCOLN

If you had Aladdin's magic lamp and could make three wishes, it's a good bet one of them would be to have more time. You wouldn't be reading this book right now if you already had all the time you wanted. Chances are that you are interested in having more time not just for the sake of having more time (after all, who wants to have more time to be in the dentist chair?). You want more time for particular purposes. You want more time to do all the things you dream about doing. More time for the things you love; more time to spend with friends and family. More time to engage in work that is fulfilling, rewarding, and satisfying. More time to spend in places that you dream about going, or places that you long to return. More time to shop, read, dance, cook, sing, play, sail, travel, paint, listen to music, run, walk, read, sleep, eat, kiss, ski, fish, knit, journal, garden, volunteer, entertain, play golf, meditate, hike, make wine, or swim. More time to enjoy the nectar and sweetness of life.

Unfortunately, there is no way to get more time. We can't manufacture minutes. It's impossible to add more hours to the day. We have a fixed quantity of twenty-four hours in a day to work with. So, it's not how much time we have; it's what we do with the time that we are given.

That's what this book is all about. It's about adding "life in the years," and having compelling answers to the following questions: What will you do with your allocation of time on this planet? Who will you become? What will you have? What legacy will you leave behind?

If you want more time for you, then you are going to need to increase your capacity to be more effective, efficient, and productive with the time you currently have. This book gives you step-by-step instructions on how to do just that.

Our journey begins with the lives of three people who, in juggling the priorities of their professional and personal lives, feel overwhelmed by trying to plan and do all the tasks required for all aspects of their lives. Starting with these stories, this book explains what robs us of our time, and then provides a powerful system for organizing work and getting things done so that there is more time for you to live your life on your own terms.

ELIZABETH'S STORY

Elizabeth is a hardworking, committed wife, mother, and professional who defines herself by how much she is able to accomplish. She knows it is often impossible to complete every task on her daily list, but continues to feel incompetent when she fails to get something done. She finds herself caught in a vicious cycle: The more she struggles to do everything that needs to be done, the more there is for her to do. And the more there is to do, the more dissatisfied she becomes in her role as a wife, mother, and professional.

When Elizabeth began her job as a commercial real estate broker, she was both confident and excited about this new opportunity; nowadays, she finds it difficult to handle the demands of her professional and personal life. A typical day might involve showing the mill property, meeting with the developers for the new school, searching for the tax card for the multifamily house that she's been trying to close for the last two months, catching her son's soccer practice a half hour late, picking up her daughter from Girl Scouts, and making ten calls to organize the bake sale for her church. But no matter how hard she tries, no matter how much she manages to get done, she continues to fall behind.

There are some obvious signs that Elizabeth is in trouble. The first sign is that she has neglected to take care of herself. She fails to exercise or eat nutritiously, so she is overweight. She constantly skips breakfast or lunch to create more work time in her schedule, and is consumed with hunger by the time that she arrives home at 7:30 p.m. When she walks in the door, she is ravenous and eats whatever she can find that is both filling and easy to make. By this time, it is either too late or she is too tired to enjoy her family. Despite her most valiant attempts, she usually falls asleep within fifteen minutes of sitting and relaxing with her husband and children. At 5:00 a.m. the following morning, the alarm jolts her from sleep, and by 6:30 a.m., she begins her commute back to her office, at work once more.

Another sign of trouble is clutter. Elizabeth moves so quickly that she creates a wake of clutter behind her, one wave after another. The accumulating mess becomes so daunting that she cannot bear to face it. She is incapable of sending or receiving e-mail because she has exceeded her storage quota and filled her inbox. She can barely find anything on her desk because of the massive clutter. She has piles of papers on her floor, file cabinet, and every other surface, leaving only the seat of her chair as an available resting place for important documents. Elizabeth has become oblivious to the albatross around her neck. Arms flailing, she is drowning in the waves of responsibilities and clutter, with no hope of rescue.

PHIL'S STORY

To the naked eye, Phil appears to be a successful manager at a computer company. He holds a high-paying position and has an administrative assistant, Rebecca. Unlike Elizabeth in the previous story, Phil has Rebecca nearby to manage the papers, the filing, and the clutter. As his gatekeeper, Rebecca schedules his important personal and work-related appointments and makes sure that people don't interrupt him unnecessarily. With all of this support, you might think Phil would have everything under control.

Phil has three teenage boys and realizes the importance of having more time to spend with his family and being present in the lives of his children. He knows and honors that crucial role he plays as a teacher, role model, and father to his sons. He wants to spend as much time as possible with his boys before they are grown and engaged in their own life endeavors.

One day at work, Phil found himself thinking, "I have to stop this! I need the time to see my children grow up. No matter what, I must stop spending so much of my time at work." Despite these undying pleas to himself, he continued to be consumed by his work.

So he told Rebecca, "Please, make sure I leave work on time."

She replied softly, "I'm not even here when you leave, Phil."

"Well," said Phil, "let's just try not to schedule appointments for me after 5:30 p.m." Rebecca readily agreed. This plan was successful for only two days before Phil fell back into the same trap. He found himself leaving work at seven-thirty or eight o'clock at night.

Disheartened and exhausted, Phil feels defeated. Even with the help of an assistant, he cannot manage his schedule such that he can be home in time to have dinner with his family.

ERIC'S STORY

Eric, a senior vice president of sales for an insurance company, is respected as an energetic leader, an influential member of his community, and a caring father and husband. He attended one of our two-day productivity and effectiveness workshops where we discussed how many seemingly helpful strategies for managing time, such as multitasking, are actually detrimental.

That first evening, Eric went home and took his wife and two children out for ice cream following dinner. He turned his car onto Interstate 91, the same busy road that he takes to work. Suddenly, his cell phone buzzed, and he instinctively began to attend to a text message. His wife looked over at him in disbelief and asked, "What are you doing?" When Eric failed to respond, she escalated her concern and screamed, "What are you doing!"

Eric looked at his distraught wife and realized that he was not mentally present in the car with his family. Instead, he was on his way to work, doing what he did every morning: combining the tasks of communicating and driving to remain ahead of his steady workload. However, in the moment, he was unaware that he was jeopardizing the safety of his two sons, sleeping in their car seats, as well as himself and his wife. Before this incident, the inherent danger in sending a text message while driving had never occurred to him. Today, texting while driving is illegal in some states. But that doesn't seem to stop the Erics of this world.

Eric's story is symptomatic of many executives who lose touch with what is important when trying to do more than they can handle. They fail to recognize not only the dangers, but also how much of life they are missing out on. Eric is an example of a person who is "chasing" to get it all done at any cost.

When it comes to managing your life, what's your story? Can you relate to Elizabeth, Phil, and Eric? Whatever your personal experience, regardless of how overwhelmed you feel, you can rest assured that you are not alone. Many of us are longing for more time for ourselves and looking for a way to manage time so that we are getting things done and living more life.

TIME SHORTAGE

Ask anyone what they want more of and time is sure to be at the top of the list (or at least a close second to money and sleep). We live with the persistent thought that there just isn't enough time. So where did all of the time go? With modern advances in technology one would think that we would experience more time to do what we want to do, but that's not the case. We've run into a wall regarding our current thinking about productivity and effectiveness. Our old models are obsolete and ineffectual. The to-do list no longer works; neither do weekly objectives. We are far beyond the scope of what those practices were designed to do. There are valid reasons why we find ourselves operating in a state of wanting more time. We'll illustrate how these factors have been creeping steadily into our lives to make our current productivity practices insufficient for the life and work demands of the twenty-first century. Understanding why feeling overwhelmed has become a common condition in today's world and why it is important to develop a new relationship with time is the first step in learning new practices and gaining more control of your life.

Pace

We live in a new and unprecedented time. Life around us moves faster and at previously unthinkable speeds. Just look at the popular television show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The producers identify a family in need of a new home, and then a crew of contractors, designers, and volunteers swoops in, tears down the old house, pours the expanded foundation, puts up a new frame, paints and furnishes the new house, and landscapes the property. In one week, while the family enjoys a Disney vacation, the crew builds a beautiful new home and then the family moves back in.

Books are printed and shipped overnight. With e-mail, documents are transported instantaneously. News events are broadcast as they happen. Vacation photographs and videos are sent instantly by phone. When you stop and think about the world that existed only twenty-five or thirty years ago, it seems as though everything back then happened in slow motion.

If you were working in a typical office during the 1970s or even in the 1980s, you might remember having an inbox sitting on your desk. It was a physical, oblong box, often labeled "IN." Stacked on top of it, or on the other side of the desk, sat the box labeled "OUT." During the day, people made requests directly: They used telephone calls, mail (of the "snail" variety), interoffice memos (physically copied and distributed), and for companies doing business internationally, telex messages. There was no videoconferencing, no e-mail, and no instant messages. By the end of the day, almost all work tasks were completed; the inbox was empty and even the documents were filed away. While there were exceptions, this was the way most people worked.

Magnitude

The volume of what we deal with each day is also unprecedented. There are many new ways to be bombarded by advertising, information, and opportunities on our music devices, cell phones, smartphones, and computers. Sophisticated picture-in-picture technologies on TV and computer screens make it easier to watch multiple shows at one time, and with digital recording devices, we won't miss anything.

We once relied on a set of hardcopy encyclopedias to look up information on a subject; now, Internet search engines allow us to access resources instantaneously. Digital cameras make it possible for people to take hundreds of pictures, creating a quagmire of photo files embedded in the hard drives of their computers. Just a decade ago, most families took only a few family pictures each year.

The dramatic change in the cost of computer storage has now made mass storage affordable. However, the by-product of cost-effective memory is that, because it is available, we fill it with more information.

Clutter

It's not only the glut of information, but also the physical clutter that bombards us. We consume and accumulate more things and new technological toys, but we don't make choices about what we already have. For example, we have clothes for different seasons, activities, and sizes. We have closets full of clothes, yet we might complain about having nothing to wear for a given occasion. We have books, old magazines, and dated reports we don't throw out. We might have a garage or basement full of older-model televisions, computer monitors, and DVDs we don't watch anymore, and outdated technologies such as VCRs and cassette tapes.

The clutter includes the e-mails in our inboxes, electronic files in desktop folders, and the papers in our file cabinets or on our desks. There is so much to do because so much fills our space as we accumulate projects, materials, and goods we don't use.

Could this situation account for the emerging field of professional organizers, the popularity of feng shui to help us create harmonious space, and workshops that instruct us to clean out closets, empty our kitchen junk drawers, and eliminate expired, worn-out products from our medicine cabinets?

Complexity

We live in a 24/7 world that offers both convenience and complexity. Globalization means we now deal across continents, time zones, and cultures. Many of us no longer have standard office hours, as employees around the world need to collaborate in virtual teams. Sections of this book were written virtually via an Internet phone connection, with one person in China and another in New England.

We have a myriad of different technologies for communicating with one another across distances and time zones. Computers have become more than data-entry machines. Equipped with microphones, video cameras, and color printers, computers are multipurpose publishers, televisions, radios, telephones, scanners, and fax machines.

We have integrated many kinds of media into everything we do. Not too long ago, writing a report, giving a talk, or holding a meeting or conference call were separate tasks. Now, meeting presentations include slides with video and audio clips, and you can host a web meeting so that people can, from remote locations, ask you questions while you talk. You can e-mail or print full-color handouts. Everything has become flashier, more integrated, and more complex.

The increase in volume and speed of access to information adds to the complexity of managing it all. We have much more data available to us and we have easy access to it; the challenge is making sense of it, learning from it, and synthesizing it fast enough. A decision you made yesterday may change tomorrow because of new data.

The increase in volume and speed of access has also increased the complexity of our lives. Think about it: A person can contact you at your home phone (if you still have one) or by cell phone, office phone, e-mail at home, e-mail at work, instant message, text message, fax, U.S. Postal Service, overnight mail, and/or courier service. On a daily basis, you may carry a cell phone/smartphone on your belt or in your purse, wear a Bluetooth receiver in your ear, and pack a laptop in your briefcase or backpack. You may think that with all of this "productivity firepower" we would be producing at a higher level and with greater ease. But here's the reality: We're not. E-mail is the perfect example.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from MORE TIME for YOU by ROSEMARY TATOR ALESIA LATSON Copyright © 2011 by Rosemary Tator and Alesia Latson. Excerpted by permission of AMACOM. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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