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time management

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24 Seconds that Will Change Your Life

This post originally appeared on my blog in July 2014. It has been shared thousands of times on social media, Huffington Post and on my site as well. I welcome your comments below.

Life gets complicated. We all have the same 24 hours each and every day. And it’s up to us how we spend our time. We need to invest our time wisely in order to maximize our day and yet, no matter how good we are with time management, we never seem to have enough time to accomplish what we set out to complete when we wake up in the morning. Putting one more responsibility on your daily to-do list may not seem like a practical thing to do, and yet, what I am about to share is so simple that even the busiest person can carve out 24 seconds for it.

People Skills 101 teaches us the importance of building connections. Without relationships, all business will come to a halt. You might have an amazing product or service but without solid relationships, you have no business. And on a personal level, without connecting with others, life will be far from happy. So my 24 second task is designed to help build, strengthen and solidify existing relationships. It is fast, effective and reliable. And best of all, it requires no prep, planning or practice. Ready?

Take out your smartphone. I know you have one. Some of you are reading this blog on your smartphone (according to Mailchimp, 32% of you are actually reading this blog on your smartphone). I only have 24 seconds, so do it now. The clock is ticking. Pick any name on your contact list. It does not need to be a client, anyone will do. Send a text message saying the following:

“Just thinking about you. Hope you are having a great day.”

Hit send. Boom. 12 seconds. Repeat it one more time. Task complete, 24 seconds. And done. If you are fast at texting like my son Adam, you may even be able to send out three or four text messages in the 24 seconds you’ve allotted. 

Here is what happens when you start this practice. Sometimes, you will get nothing in return, and that’s ok. Many times you will get back a response saying thank you and wishing you a great day in return. But every time you send a message like that, you are making the receiver of your text smile, feel good and be happy. I am confident I do not need to tell you the importance of happy people in your life. Happy is contagious and if done right, happy will be paid forward. Ultimately happy will come back to you, guaranteed.

Make it a practice to pick two or three contacts during your day to send text messages to while you are standing in line, pumping gas, or having your coffee at Starbucks. Try not to repeat the names too often since your goal is to be random. Approach this task to spreading happy, not to gain business. If some of these messages are being sent to customers, you are proving (12 seconds at a time) that you are a human being, with feelings. Important rule of this practice -- You cannot text about business, unless the response from the recipient involves business. 

Switch up your message. It would not be unusual for me to send a message saying, “I love you. That is all.” or “Thanks for being in my life.” or “My life is better because you are in it.” If that doesn’t sound like your voice, build your own set of messages that work well. Under no circumstances should you send this message as a group message (don't automate this practice -- I want you to stay human please).

I’ve been doing this for over 15 years, and many days I send out much more than 2 messages. I know that as a result of my messages, others have adopted this as a way to spread love, happy and good vibes as well. I now get messages daily from friends, clients and others telling me to have a great day. Plenty of times those messages come to me when I am in a tough spot in my day or when I have had a challenging moment. 

Twenty four seconds wisely invested can change your life. Want to try this out? I am happy to be the recipient. Feel free to invest 12 seconds and send a message to me. 410-340-6861. I will return the love, I always do.

I am passionate about my message and ask that you spread this message on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I would love to get text messages from around the world wishing me a happy day and I wish the same for you too.

Want to find out about other simple to adopt techniques that can change your life, check out my Business Building Bootcamp by clicking here.  I am available to present my programs to your group as well. You are welcome to message me or email me at doug@dougsandler.com

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The Art of Focus. How to Get Into the Zone.

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Early on in my career I was always amazed at exactly how little I was able to accomplished in my day. It wasn’t until I learned an easy concept regarding focus that I began to realize there was potentially a solution to my unproductive behavior. It took me years to discover this concept and several more years once I heard about it to actually put a plan into place for myself. Once I put this time tested principle in place, I gained control of my schedule, my day and my life. Prior to my discovery, it wasn’t just my business day that got all screwed up, my personal life seemed to suffer as well, because I was trying to accomplish so many responsibilities, doing none of them well and disappointing others in the process. I was often late for meetings and appointments, often felt scattered when I got there and never seemed to be quite in control of what was going on. If I hadn’t done something, it could have been an even bigger mess.

If you can relate to what I am saying, you are part of the overworked, overstretched and overstressed populous.

I truly believed the best way to accomplish many tasks given to me was to multitask and get them all done at once. But, it seemed, the more I multitasked, the worse things got. Still today, when I slip and revert to my old ways, it’s amazing when I witness how horrible multitasking actually is for my productivity. Try responding to an email and simultaneously heading over to Twitter to compose a tweet. Prior to finishing, go to LinkedIn and share a post, but first, try and listen to your last voicemail message. You will get so confused, frustrated and lost in your multitask craziness you will be more likely to get up and get a snack then try to finish any of the tasks you have on your plate.

If you can relate to what I am saying, you are part of the overworked, overstretched and overstressed populous. Before you read further, stop for a moment (it’s ok, I am given you temporary permission to multitask), and write out five to seven critical work activities that you must accomplish each and every day. For example, email, voicemail, text messages, social media, blogging, client calls, sales calls are my top seven activities that I need to accomplish just about everyday. List the tasks on the top section of a piece of paper. Underneath the list write down all of the things that usually distract you from accomplishing the tasks on the top list. For example, you get hungry, you get tired, your boss interrupts you, the phone rings, your kids need to reach you, etc. It’s essential that you recognize both your priorities and the things that distract you from accomplishing your priority list. Get at least 5 of each written down.

What you will find is that your productivity and efficiency will go through the roof when you focus.

Here comes the hard part (I will help you take a baby step). Just for tomorrow, write down the time you will spend in each “zone” you have listed on your written at the top of the paper. For example, 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. email, 9:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. return phone calls, 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. blog writing. Keep in mind, I am not asking you to change your life, I only want you to do this tomorrow (I truly think that there will be such a huge impact from doing this only one day you will want to continue for good). I also want to you to take advantage of the “gap times” and fill them in with the distractions you have at the bottom of your piece of paper. For example, take 9:30 to 9:45 and get a snack or use the 30 minute break at 10:30 a.m. to find out what was so important to your kids who distracted you earlier. Creating “work zones” and “distraction zones” will keep you focused, productive and very organized. Repeat the exercise for the second half of your day as well.

Put your priorities in focus and take time for things that matter most to you.

What you will find is that your productivity and efficiency will go through the roof and you will be much more satisfied with what you are able to accomplish in a day. As a side effect, you will be happier, more positive and more focused on your priority tasks. Give yourself permission to get into the “distraction zone” when you are not in the “work zone.” Now, you have control of your time and your life. The world wants your attention. Instead of letting others distract and control you, take the lead, put your priorities in focus and take time for things that matter most to you. I can promise you the distractions will still be here when you are ready to focus on them.

I'd love to discuss my Nice Guy philosophies with your company. If you see a potential fit, give me a call at 410-340-6861 or send me an email doug@dougsandler.com . Thanks so much!

Amazon #1 Ranked Best Seller. Check out the book over 41,000 LinkedIn members have commented about.

Amazon #1 Ranked Best Seller. Check out the book over 41,000 LinkedIn members have commented about.

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6 Time Management Techniques for Extremely Busy People

The clock is always ticking, faster than ever for extremely busy people.

The clock is always ticking, faster than ever for extremely busy people.

Successful people are busy people. With career and personal goals stacked up high, and an agenda a mile long, fitting in one more responsibility can be a huge task. People on the fast track to excellence will often get crunched seven days a week. Common place are calls from clients, co-workers and associates to put out fires. Additionally, communication from a spouse, kids, friends or other family members must become a priority even when dealing with a filled work schedule. Being self employed, I am constantly talking to my friends and family about the benefits of self employment. You see, I get to pick which 18 hours a day I work. Yes, I am busy too.

So, with so many responsibilities coming from so many different directions, time management is essential. While time management is challenging in general, time management for extremely busy people comes with its own set of challenges.

Here are 6 time management techniques for extremely busy people:

  1. Say "NO"- While sometimes an easy thing to say, often times saying the word "No!" can be troublesome. A friend, coworker, or especially a family member is hard to turn away. But in order to stay on your path, learn to embrace the word. Although it has only two letters, getting the word out of your mouth is difficult if you feel like you are hurting someone's feelings or are trying to be nice. Try this sentence. "I appreciate you coming to me with this project (issue, problem, situation, etc) and I would really like to help, but now is not a great time for my schedule. If I get a chance to revisit it, I will.

  2. Prioritize Your To-Do List - Before you go to sleep or first thing when your head is clear in the morning, go through your schedule (I know you keep a schedule) and prioritize the list. Don't get into your day without a clear roadmap of what you will need to get done. It's little victories like crossing off a to-do from the list that will drive you harder towards the finish line on your list.

  3. Delegate - The most successful time managers are those that learn how to delegate properly. A great leadership trait is understanding when to hold on to a responsibility and when to delegate it. You will never be able to do it all on your own. The sooner you realize this, the closer you will get to effectively managing your time.

  4. Don't Micromanage - Extremely busy people are generally very successful people. You will need to resist the urge to manage all of the project details you have going on in your life. Once a project task is given to someone else, do not circle back and micromanage the project. Certainly, follow up to verify the project is moving forward, but do not live by the motto, "If it's going to be done right, I've got to do it."

  5. The Small Stuff - Extremely busy people are their own worst critics. Stop beating yourself up over the small stuff. Sure, it's important that the task gets completed properly and professionally, but don't get caught up in the minute details and never second guess yourself about the small stuff. Chances are great that you completed the task with excellence. Make a mental note, and next time this type of task is to be tackled, you will know what you need to do.

  6. Refresh - Seriously, it's 1AM, do you think you are quite as sharp as you were at 11AM? Take a break. There is nothing more challenging than trying to accomplish a task while burning the late, late, late night oil. Your brain needs to refresh and your body could use a break as well. Did I mention the importance of eating your meals at a table and not from behind a steering wheel? You know I am talking to you. Every once in a while, I accept that you are too busy to slow down and eat at a table, but not everyday.

There will come a time in your schedule when you will not be as busy. Try your best to savor those moments when they happen. Just because you are not moving at a million miles an hour does not mean you are lazy. There is more to life than just arriving at your destination; enjoy the journey.

We all know busy people too, please feel free to share this blog with them as well. Thanks for helping me make the world a bit nicer and more manageable, one blog at a time.

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