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Time Management – Are you doing this one simple thing?

Hello, it’s Dr Ro speaking to you from the beautiful Byron Bay in Australia.

I want to recommend that you watch the video at the top of this blog post. Watch it all the way through to the end. You’re going to be blown away by the view that I’m going to get at the end of this track.

So, stay with me. 

And let’s talk about time management. 

A question I’ve been asked lately is, what is one thing on time management you wish you were doing?

My secret to time management is to make time for reading, for processing, and for evaluating. Because one of the biggest factors that hinders time management is overwhelm. 

You may be completely overwhelmed with a situation, there is so much going on. You’re being hit from the left with emails, you’re being hit from the right with text messages. 

Someone is giving you work to do, and there is mail at home that is piling up. You’ve got the phone ringing while somebody sending you WhatsApp messages. 

Maybe you’re communicating through Facebook and social media, so you’ve got to get your head around that as well. And there is just so much information, so much coming at us from left, right, and centre these days. And people just get completely overwhelmed. 

So, what can you do to deal with that? 

One simple word, please write this down: downloading.

You might wonder what I mean by that. Well, I love the concept of downloading because it means to take whatever is in your head and assess it. Get it on paper.

The other thing you have to do to download is to gather everything you’re working on in one place. Now that might sound crazy, but think about it. If you walk through your house, your apartment, wherever you live I bet you’ve got magazines lying around, you’ve got notes that you’ve left yourself. You’ve got reminders of stuff that you’ve got to get done. 

There’s probably a package to be delivered or something that you need to pass on to somebody else. You’ve got work sat there piling up in the corner that you might need to work through as well. 

If you’re a parent, you probably have stuff to do with your kids that you need to get in place as well, and the trouble is, there’s so many visual distractions. 

The challenge that most people have is that there is too much clutter around, so downloading is the concept of decluttering. Now you can use the same word and you can actually de-clutter if you prefer to use it that way. 

For me you could combine the two and you can do a physical declutter and a mental download. And that might be the way to remember this.  So, if you’re watching the video or reading this blog right now and you’re not at home, when you get home tonight all I am going to ask you to do is grab a black bin liner. 

One of these black bin liners, maybe a recyclable one if you want to be environmentally friendly, and essentially what you do is you go around your house and you put everything into that. That is one way to do it. It doesn’t matter what it is magazines, pens, newspaper clippings, some stuff that you had to get fixed, some notes from the kids, kid’s toys if you’ve got children. Whatever it is, mail, just put it all into one place. That’s one way, you de-clutter because the thing about decluttering is, it’s a physical decluttering, but it’s also a mental decluttering as well. 

So, you’re gathering it all into one place, so you might decide to put it on a desk, I’m not suggesting you throw it away. But you have to put it somewhere and then the whole point of this exercise is one sits in one place. You’re going to then have to apply a system to that, i.e. you’re going to have to start to work through it. 

Basically prioritise things. Now that’s not the purpose of this video. This video is purely to get all the mess, all the stuff that is going on around you physically or in your head and get it into one place. And then you’ve got to have a direction, the same way I have to decide in my direction, look I have a path that way, I’ve got a path that way, and I’ve got a path that way. It’s the first time I’ve come down this route and I’m going to the beach. Now I’m going to assume that this path continues on to that path. Well life is no different. When you gather everything together in one place, you’re then going to have to decide what’s your priority.

That’s another conversation for another video, but based on projects, based on priorities, based on to-do lists, based on what goals you’ve set, you’re going to have to decide how much of that decluttering stuff there is essential and non-essential. How much is important, how much is urgently important, and what needs to be done now, that’s really important.

One of the reasons that you’re feeling stressed is because there’s too much stuff. Get it all into one place. This gives you a chance to breathe. Then you can at least separate it into different categories and start to prioritise it. 

Now parallel to that the concept of downloading is bringing whatever is in your head and putting it onto paper. So the decluttering, by the way, can also include electronic decluttering, so that means going into your in tray and maybe categorising everything. You might have a whole batch of emails, and of the things I do is basically create folders in my electronic inbox and as stuff comes in you can set up rules on your information coming in, your emails coming in. And I send those emails to different folders and that allows me to categorise, it gives me a chance to de-clutter, meaning that it’s not all just one big mass of emails. 

Previously when I used to do this, I was like, “where’s that information? Where’s that information? Where’s that information?” And I’d have to go through it, but now I’ve got a system that parks emails from my PA into one folder, email from one particular business project into another one. Emails from people I’m starting new opportunities with into another one, and I don’t get confused. So, that is decluttering.

The concept of mental downloading is when I take all my ideas, all the stuff that is going on, “I’ve got to do this, got to do that.” I take all of that and I get a piece of paper and I just download into one place. Gather that information and get it down to paper and then start to categorise it. That’s what I want you to do next.

This is all similar to decluttering, except we are taking the ideas and we are taking them from our head now instead of the physical thing, and we are putting them down. Now of course you can link that to emails, you can link that to messages you have had. I would do the same thing by the way with your phone messages and text messages. If you’ve got a backlog of WhatsApp messages, if you’ve got a backlog of emails or text messages and voice messages, listen to them.

Even before I left this morning, I had a whole bunch of stuff come in from WhatsApp, and I made a note of certain things that I want to address as soon as possible. The rest can be parked because it’s not essential. And when you do that, it gives you the opportunity to enjoy the rest of your day.

Managing your time gets the stress out of your body, and gives you a chance to breathe, and start the process of getting your things done soon as possible efficiently and with passion. And let go of the things you don’t want to do, and you start to focus on the things you really want to do.

I’m going to sign out now, to go for a walk on the beach.

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