Time Out of Mind
High-profile Delawareans and local life coaches share secrets for managing their days and minimizing their stress.
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Work With Your Biological Clock Are you a morning person or a night owl? Maybe you get your second wind late in the afternoon. Knowing when you’re at your best and planning important tasks for that time is effective time management, Wood says.
Practice Intelligent Neglect Eliminate the trivial or chores that don’t have big consequences. Family business advisor Jane Luke of Newark used to be meticulous about organizing her magazines and CDs, but now feels the time could be better spent on other projects or just as alone time.
Golly says shucking some tasks, like leaving your bed unmade some days, can be good for the psyche. “Choice empowers,” she says. “You feel like you’re controlling circumstances, not like they’re controlling you.”
Don’t Be A Perfectionist Some projects need to be closer to perfection than others, but paying excessive attention to detail in every task can be a form of procrastination. Williams recommends living by the 95 percent rule: “Which is worse, missing the deadline or making it and being 95 percent right?” she asks.
Conquer Procrastination Many people procrastinate, but some are so chronically affected that it stops them from realizing their potential and jeopardizes their careers. Brown recommends reminding yourself of the consequences of not finishing a project.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, life coach Hope Ellsworth, president of Light Quest in Lewes, suggests taking the Swiss cheese approach. “Try poking holes in the project,” she says. “Start on one of the easier parts of it, or give yourself 10 or 15 minutes on it. Chances are you’ll get to a point where you’ll want to finish.”
Delegate Assigning some tasks to others allows you to devote time and energy to important activities only you can perform. Delegating may often be difficult for high-achievers, but it frees up your time while helping others develop their talents.
Learn To Say No It’s such a small word, yet so hard to say. Focusing on your goals can help, but first you must be convinced that you and your goals are important—which seems to be the hardest part, says life coach Linda Lucerno of Newark. Harker has had many invitations to join worthwhile groups since he became UD’s president, but he realized that, for now, he had to devote his time and energy to the university. “That will change over time,” he says. “But I think if you have a fairly clear sense of what you need to accomplish and when, it’s easy to say no.”
Multitask Many low-intensity activities can be accomplished simultaneously. Attorney Mike Parkowski has managed the fine art of listening, reading and thinking about totally different things at the same time. “It’s a necessity, not a choice,” he says. “I think you can do it if it’s not something intense.”
Minimize Interruptions Technology has done much to improve productivity, but being wired 24-seven can hinder your ability to get work done. Experts recommend you establish times when you will not tolerate interruptions.
Schedule Down Time Like your body, your brain needs to power down and recharge. Brown favors meditation. “The brain needs that space to connect at a deeper level,” he says. “That’s where your good decisions come from.”
Reward Yourself Celebrate successes, Williams says. Promise yourself a reward for finishing tasks and completing a job. Parkowski says his career is at the point where he can indulge in long weekends at the beach during summer. “I leave on Thursday, so Friday seems like Saturday, Saturday like Sunday and Sunday like a bonus day,” he says. “It’s amazing the difference it makes.”