Getting In Control

Written by Eileen McDargh, CSP, CPAE

In a world where “too much to do and too little time” is a common mantra, there’s a sense that everyone and everything has more control over our day than we do. While we might be atrepparttar beck and call of clients, there are still areas whererepparttar 123934 culprit is none other than ourselves.

Usingrepparttar 123935 word “control” as an acronym, let me suggest ways in which we can begin to gain some relief from self-induced pressure.

(C)anrepparttar 123936 clutter. Do you walk into your office and instantly feel a sense that you could get buried in all that mess? Papers are piled onrepparttar 123937 desk, onrepparttar 123938 floor, and in tiered boxes. Note that if this is your natural style of organization, you’d feel pressure by having items out of sight! But if you’re like a great majority of people, clutter only adds torepparttar 123939 time spent in finding what you need. Do you use everything that you have on display? Can you find items when you need them? If you’ve answered “no,” proceed torepparttar 123940 next recommendation.

(O)ut with excess paper. Examine what surrounds you. What can you throw out, give out, leave out? If you are months behind in journals and other publications, scanrepparttar 123941 table of contents and keep only those items that you KNOW you’ll need. Throwrepparttar 123942 rest away.

(N)o, not, never, not now. Say it. Practice it. We frequently nod our heads “yes” like a wind-up toy because of guilt, fear, or a sense that obligation. Ask yourself, why do you say “yes”. Perhaps even a “not now” would suffice. I am convinced that if we do not put limits on our time, it will vanish with our unknowing permission.

(T)alk up. To curtail long conversations or meeting, learn these sentences. “I would like to be able to talk with you but I have another engagement. Can you please tell me your request (situation, concern, etc.) in 25 words or less?” First, you won’t be lying with your opening statement. You will always have another engagement—even if it’s withrepparttar 123943 report in your computer. Second, you have indicated a willingness to respond. You have merely put a concise cast torepparttar 123944 conversation. It’s amazing how “25 words or less” can increaserepparttar 123945 speed and fluency of conversation. As a variation on this theme, you can also curtail a drawn-out conversation with this question: “How would you like this conversation to end?”

The Art Of Balancing An Unequal Life

Written by Eileen McDargh, CSP, CPAE

Studyrepparttar best seller lists ofrepparttar 123933 past few years and you'll notice titles that range from Peter Lynch's "Beatingrepparttar 123934 Street" to Thomas Moore's "Care ofrepparttar 123935 Soul: How to Find Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life." This juxtaposition capturesrepparttar 123936 dilemma facing all of us inrepparttar 123937 business world. How does one swim withrepparttar 123938 sharks, squeezerepparttar 123939 margins of an angst-filled financial world, and still lead a life of wholeness in spirit, mind and body?

Nor is this a new question. Marsilio Ficino's 15th Century treatise, "The Book of Life," sought to helprepparttar 123940 Medicis and their merchant counterparts create a renaissance of spirit amidrepparttar 123941 draining demands of commerce and a new creature called capitalism.

Whether a Renaissance banker orrepparttar 123942 CEO of a high tech conglomerate, whether a guild master of stonework or a manager of information services,repparttar 123943 issue is still one of balance.

But balance is not an equal measure of work, love, prayer and play. Nor is it a state that can be achieved and frozen in form for all time. Rather, this amorphous thing called "balance" is an on-going, deliberate set of decisions that makerepparttar 123944 journey of life much likerepparttar 123945 metaphor of sailing.

Considerrepparttar 123946 single person sailboat. When there is much wind,repparttar 123947 little boat appears off balance, moving forward at an angle, sails filled to bursting andrepparttar 123948 sailor leaning back overrepparttar 123949 craft, with one hand onrepparttar 123950 sheet and toes hooked underrepparttar 123951 railing. What allowsrepparttar 123952 sailor to stay inrepparttar 123953 boat is that he is connected to allrepparttar 123954 important parts of that craft. Whenrepparttar 123955 wind shifts, so too mustrepparttar 123956 sailor.

Life is also like that. We give ourselves tremendous mental stress when we think that life must balance. Having a different image allows us to see where we might be out of control.

Briefly, there will always be competing and unequal demands upon our time ... much likerepparttar 123957 tug ofrepparttar 123958 tiller orrepparttar 123959 push ofrepparttar 123960 wind. Depending uponrepparttar 123961 course we have chosen for ourselves, we respond to these demands. We might decide to change direction, seek harbor, or give full rein torepparttar 123962 beating waves and blustery wind. The quality of these decisions depends uponrepparttar 123963 direction of our sailboat,repparttar 123964 prevailing winds,repparttar 123965 depth ofrepparttar 123966 water, andrepparttar 123967 need for overhaul and repair.

Direction refers torepparttar 123968 goals, created by our values, which we have established. The wind andrepparttar 123969 depth ofrepparttar 123970 water represent those people and events, outside our control, which make demands upon our time. Lastly, overhaul and repair stands forrepparttar 123971 need to cease and desist, to nurture and renew our physical and spiritual self, and to re-examinerepparttar 123972 course we are sailing.

If we consider sailing as a metaphor forrepparttar 123973 "balance" we all seek along life's journey, then what is needed are navigational aids. What could help all of us on such a journey is a process, a formula, whereby we might take stock of our decisions, weighing them against our personal values, goals, and physical requirements. Since we are all bound byrepparttar 123974 same relentless 24-hour day, we would be best served by looking at not how much we can cram intorepparttar 123975 blocks called "time", but how wisely do we choose what we put into our finite day.

Step 1: Answer these questions to help you determine what is of value to you. Value has more to do with who you are and how you live your life, not what you have achieved. For example, you might value life-long learning, financial security, service to others, loving relationships, and spiritual growth. Once you have identified what is of value, you have a screen with which to filter through goals and activities.

One ofrepparttar 123976 best ways to identify values is to create an imaginary sounding board composed of 4-5 people whom you value and admire and who, in turn, sincerely respect and like you. If each one were to give eulogy, what type of person would they say you were and why. What values arose? What goals or activities supported those values? Isolate those values and write them down. You might even be able to rank orderrepparttar 123977 values.

Step 2: Forrepparttar 123978 period of one week, keep a pad of paper handy and make a note of every task you perform and what role you play. For example, my roles are professional speaker, writer, wife, mother, friend, office worker, manager, daughter, sister, student, volunteer, and just plain ME. The latter refers to a role that nurtures and cares for me, not necessarily anyone else. Amazingly, I've discovered that every task is related to a role and that almost all tasks come in 15 minute increments.

Step 3: On a scale from minus 5 to plus 5, rate these roles and accompanying tasks according to enjoyment and personal value. In looking atrepparttar 123979 tasks of a week, interesting discoveries arise.

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