What you will learn in this lesson:
- Setting priorities so you can focus on the most important things
- Managing your calendar so you can get it all done
- Figuring out your workflow so you can program things when they will happen best
What best describes your feeling at the end of a long week of work, family activities and other pressures? Do you feel energized or drained? Can your Palm Pilot stand any more entries? How can busy dads with multiple demands on their time avoid "burning out" during the week, and needing to spend the weekend or the holiday simply catching up? This article offers a number of tips and tricks to managing the hectic pace of life in the fast lane, and avoiding being overwhelmed in the process.
Don't lose sight of priorities. Envision your own funeral. What is it that you hope people will say about you and your legacy? If people who eulogize you would comment on your stock portfolio and the size of your home, that those are priorities for you. If they would say you were an excellent father or mother, that is your priority. With all the competition for our time and attention, it is easy to forget what is most important. Preparing and reviewing your personal mission statement will help you remember what is most important.
Consider what you would lose by taking something off your to-do list. Are there things on your list that could be removed without major consequences? Is every report you prepare read by the people to whom you disseminate it? Are your expectations about your home chores unrealistic? Are your tasks focused on your priorities? Sometimes skipping something and seeing if it is missed is a good strategy.
Don't be afraid to use the word "No." Is your presence critical at every meeting to which you are invited, or could a few comments before or after the meeting suffice? Can you remind your boss or your client of what you are working on when you are asked to do something new? Can you train your subordinates not to "delegate upward" when bringing problems or concerns to you? Be cautious of those things to which you say yes, because it increases the other things to which you must say no.
Get that desktop clean. Focus on one project at a time and give it complete, undivided attention. You will find that you can finish faster and have more energy for what is next. This applies equally to your workbench at home!
Use technology when possible. If you can resolve a situation via fax, e-mail or telephone, do it. Don't neglect the face-to-face contacts that keep us all human; just be selective.
Try to make your work count twice. If you prepare a report or write an article, often you can with little effort modify that written product into a speech or presentation. Watch for opportunities to take an existing product and modify into something else that may be useful to you later.
Make good use of downtime. Those of us who have a significant commute to work can choose to make the commute productive or relaxing, or can simply give in to road rage and frustration. How you use this valuable time is your choice! Have a "to read" file at your desk or in your briefcase so that you can take the opportunity of a few minutes of free time to do something meaningful.
Schedule time for yourself. Who says that blocks of time on your calendar have to involve a meeting with others? Schedule a meeting for yourself, and keep the appointment. Block out time for working on a tough project. Schedule uninterruptible time for personal or professional development, planning and goal setting. And don't forget the importance of saying yes to your health by getting enough sleep and exercising.
By following these steps, busy and committed dads will find the ability to develop energy on the job instead of just consuming it. Managing the pace of your life will pay huge dividends in productivity, personal satisfaction and fulfillment in life.