By Tiffany Colter
The key to success is to do the right things by ceasing to do the wrong things. That is because we have a limited amount of time in each day and each minute wasted on the wrong things is a minute that cannot be spent on things that bring success.
I had this conversation with my youngest daughter this weekend. She had homework and chores that needed to be done in order to go to a space museum she really wanted to visit. At 11:00 a.m., I told her what needed to be done that day. At noon, I reminded her. This continued until 2:15 p.m. when I was preparing to leave. She hadn’t done her chores. She wasn’t ready to go. We didn’t go. When I asked her what she’d been doing with her time she replied simply, “Goofing off.”
We can see this with our kids, but how often do we “GOOF OFF” instead of focusing on the things that will get us what we want? It isn’t always as obvious as looking at books and playing with toys, but as adults we are quite skilled at goofing off. In order to not waste time, I’ve given you some red flags below.
Do you find that there are always things that seem to mess up your schedule? It could be a phone call from a friend or you suddenly find out about a great opportunity to market your business if you can get a JPEG emailed to the designer before lunch. These urgent things force everything else off of your computer and turn your world upside down. Do you stop to consider the cost/return of those things? Did you have to miss a kid’s performance, buy another unhealthy pizza, or return a project to a loyal client just a little late? And what was the return on that ‘investment’? One new project that you don’t have time for anyway? Or maybe you underbid thinking “something is better than nothing.” While I agree that sometimes we need to take a lower project or we do need to take advantage of an opportunity, if this has become your habit you might be sacrificing the important things for urgent things.
There will always be emergencies, if you respond to them. So stop allowing them to control you. Successful people who live a happy [not stressed] life have learned the difference and they focus on the important.
Evaluating why you’re doing each thing
Take time to evaluate the benefits and costs for everything you’re doing. This has been my new focus. What am I doing and why am I doing it? It is truly setting me on course to meet my goals or is it just one more thing to put me on the calendar?
Evaluating the impact of each thing you do will help you determine its benefit. Taking a project for less than ¼ your normal fee, instead of working on the novel you always SAY you’re going to write might not be the best use of your time.
Determine what you need to do and learn
I think we’ve covered this fairly well in previous blogs. I suggest if you need help in this area that you visit the website and go in the archives.
Setting a time frame to do it
What time are you going to sit down and evaluate these things? You won’t do it until you put it on your calendar. I suggest one day this week you put your dinner in a slow cooker and use the time you would normally spend cooking dinner to do this. All you need is about 30 minutes to accomplish a great deal.
I was thrilled by the number of replies last week to my blog. Many of you decided that you might like to have some coaching to help in these areas. If you were considering it, but didn’t, please feel free to contact me. $65 is a bargain for all the information we cover. Most people say to me, “I’ve taken pages of notes.” If you don’t need coaching, then look at these questions and go through the archives to see if there are other free teachings on my blog/website that can help you. I leave them up there to help you. Please, take advantage of them.
Also, let me know if there is something you’d like to see me blog on. I don’t mind coaching all of you by blog. I’m here to help writers and I love doing it. Just use that contact page link to let me know what you’d like to learn more about.
Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter, The Writing Career Coach
Don’t miss a single posting! Subscribe here to receive these postings by e-mail. Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at writingcareercoach.com.