Working on Your Goals When You Don’t Have Time to Work On Your Goals

Finding Time to Make it all Happen

Today: Identify the little spots of time you have right now to make progress on your goals.

How to Waste Time on Your Laptop – an Expert’s Guide (or, My Real Life Strategy for Getting Things Done.)     Don’t you just love your computer?!?! It is such a time saving device. I can do my banking, order groceries, talk to my agent, invite friends over via, and design my next newsletter anywhere in the world that has a Verizon tower nearby. It is amazing all the tasks I can get completed the aid of a power outlet.

So why have I spent a large part of my summer playing Free Cell?

I have just hit some major deadlines in my life after 18 months of running at full steam ahead. I realized just this last week apparently I am not capable of work unless I am under tremendous pressure and have a sense of overwhelming guilt.   I just kind of sat there thinking, “I know I have things to do, but I don’t want to do any of them.” Real mature attitude – yes?

So I have got to go back to giving myself some rules and boundaries when it comes to my time on the computer.

Here are some of the rules that I am now abiding by when it comes to time wasters:

1. No More than 20 minutes on Facebook a day.   I have to tell you, I loves me some Facebook.   I love seeing what old friends are up to. I love hearing about the little things in my niece’s life that my brother probably wouldn’t call to tell me, (“Elsa said A-B-C today. We have started the Harvard Fund.”) Love hearing the latest industry buzz and reading what my favorite authors and readers are up to. Love Love Love.

And that is where the trouble begins.

I love checking out what everyone else is up to, and can get super caught up in commenting on people’s status. That is fine when I am standing in line at Safeway. But when I should be writing my next chapter on time management? Not so much.   So when I am at home, I am keeping my Facebook addiction down to 20 minutes.

2. Clear out my inbox once a week.   I will do anything to avoid answering unpleasant or complicated e-mails (see my Free Cell reference above.) So I have been giving myself a weekly inbox dump where everything must be dealt with (and then I reward myself with an episode of Top Chef – hey, it’s better than chocolate chip cookies.)

3. Turn the Wireless Off for a Chunk of Time – Every Single Day   Twitter and Facebook and E-mail – Oh My! I have several ways to keep myself entertained on my computer. I love hitting the reload button on my Outlook to see what new mail I have sitting there (yes, we have already established I have a problem. Now let’s move on, shall we?)

So, for about 3 hours every day, I turn off my wireless and concentrate on just working. Whether it is writing a blog post, writing a chapter, brainstorming a new speaking topic or having a conversation with a client, I focus completely on the task at hand and not on the e-mail that I am waiting for.

I call this my “Cave Time” and it is the only portion of the day that I can trust myself to do anything that involves numbers or creativity (which for me, both require super-human concentration.)   Now don’t get me wrong – a little Free Cell every once in a while is a good thing. But I want my computer to be a tool to get more things done, instead of a distraction that keeps me from getting things done. (I can watch all the cute cats on You Tube I want once my speech is written!)

Maybe wasting time on your computer is not your vice. When I asked a group of women what their secret (or not-so-secret) time sucker were, here is a list of what they came up with:

• Celebrity Gossip

• Phone time with friends

• Texting

• Glamour Magazine

• Shopping (for self and kids)

• Looking for recipes

• “Stupid” TV

• YouTube

• Solitaire

• Twitter and Facebook

All of these things, in moderation, are fine for most of us. But, I know that I have let an hour of writing time turn into “Just checking out a few LOLCATS pics. Gulp.

Fear of Success Sometimes, it can be a bit scary to start working on things we are passionate about. If we never get started, we never get disillusioned. It is a lot easier to give up on a game of Spider Solitaire or watch Entertainment tonight than to get frustrated by bumping up against obstacles while working toward your goals.

I have to set up rules for myself when it comes to computer time. Is there an area of your life that you need to get in control of, time-wise, in order to get stuff done? How will you do it  – set time controls on your computer? Have a friend hold you accountable?

I have given myself a not so subtle reminder. Whenever I open up my computer, there is a quote that pops up to remind me how I need to choose to spend my time…

“Lost time is never found again.” – Benjamin Franklin

In the commetns below tell me is there an area of your life that you need to get in control of, time-wise, in order to get stuff done? How will you do it? You could win Just too busy: Taking your family on a radical sabbatical by Joanne Kraft.