Thursday, September 15, 2011

Make Quality Time A Priority

by Timothy J. O'Brien

The faster I go, the behinder I get!" said the Rabbit, "Through the looking glass."
Question: What have we done with all the time we've saved, by using all the new time saving devices? Compared to even our parents, purveyors surround us with an ever growing array of gadgets, machines and tools, each of them designed to shorten our involvement with the activity at hand. When I was young, a baked potato was an hour long ordeal that occurred as a by-product of other activity in the oven. Now, it's a four minute nuke job in the microwave. Ever make home made bread? You're tied up in the kitchen for hours; mixing, kneading, rolling, waiting, kneading again and then baking.

Now you can dump the ingredients into a cylinder inside a machine that looks like R2D2 from "Star Wars." And four hours later, you have a wonderful tasting loaf that looks a little like a mushroom. How about word processors that check spelling, grammar and make alternate word suggestions? Fax machines and cellular phones give us instant access. Now we can talk while we drive or fly or...... (you fill in the blank).Roadways are better. Planes fly to more locations more often. Computers balance our checkbooks and even write the checks. There are self cleaning ovens, low- and no-maintenance building products, and pocket sized, computerized address books. With all of these time- and labor-saving devices, we would think that our lives have become easier, less complicated, less hurried. However, for most of us the opposite is true. As technology has increased, so have the demands that we and others make on our time. What happened? Why has life become more complicated? We have a tendency to add new activities without dropping old ones. We don't set limits on our work, allowing it to encroach on our sleep and leisure time. And we have difficulty saying no at proper times. Is there anything we can do about it? Yes, if we will do some honest self-appraisal and admit to our true priorities. Then, we must act with discipline to work on what we've defined as important. Here are some suggestions on how to reclaim some of the time we've saved but squandered.

1) Drop ritualized behavior and get right to work.2) Scan the paper. Let weekly magazines accumulate for a month and then look at in reverse order. You will find less to read as you go back to the older issues. 3) Touch everything once, or as few times as possible. Handle the mail piece by piece. Toss the worthless. Answer the question. Balance the checkbook the day the statement arrives.4) Use self-discipline to pare down your duties. Resign from the marginal committee. Quit the least productive group. When necessary, say no, politely but firmly. Then once you've reclaimed time, assemble it into hours, and protect it, or you will lose it again. By following these steps, we can reclaim some time for ourselves. Remember, we all have the same 24 hours per day to work with. How we use them determines the quality of our life. Find an hour for your self this week. Then use it to relax.

More FREE articles at that will help you improve your performance and regain control of your life. By Timothy J. O'Brien M.S. co-author of the Amazon Best Seller, "If You Have Employees, You Really Need This Book."

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