| Beware of the barrenness of a busy life!– Socrates|
In May 2013, I invited you to look into listening as the Quiet Power you gain when you pause and add white space to your conversations.
Now, at the end of 2014, I invite you to look at how the suggested Four Pillars of Pause Power can help you refresh, refocus, and renew your energies. The goal here? Propel you into 2015 with a new perspective on how you can get the most out of your time hour by hour, day by day by asking yourself frequently, Is this the best use of my time?
If one or more of the Pillars doesn't fit your life, remove it and replace with a Pillar important in your life.
The Four Pillars
1. Appointment Pause
Avoid back-to-back booking gridlock that allows a traffic jam or needy customer or boss to screw up your whole day. Plug in Pause Spaces to give yourself wiggle room.
Be generous with your definition of “appointment.” Consider your daily “To-Do List” contains appointments you make with yourself for the day. Look at the daily marching orders you demand of yourself. Realistically allot time for each. Remember, an impossible “To-Do List” stresses you and drains you in overwhelm all day.
2. Social Media Pause
Over half of the population in the United States, and one in four people worldwide use Social Media, many are literally addicted and park on these sites two or more hours a day. Monitor your Social Media daily time for two weeks every day, including weekends. Then, divide by fourteen to see your average daily time. Ask yourself if you are getting good business return on investment for this time use. If not, move Social Media to a leisure time activity. For most of us, Social Media discipline takes a real commitment. When I did this exercise myself on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook alone, I averaged two hours a day. That's 25% of an 8-hour workday. What's my return on investment? None that I can actually track to bank deposits.
Going on Social Media sites on computers or devices keeps workers from doing their jobs and wise employers monitor its use during the workday as much as possible. Is Social Media use hard to monitor? Since so many multi-use electronic devices allow access, you bet it is a challenge for bosses to monitor. That forces you to wisely keep both eyes watching what employees are doing as well as monitoring individual productivity levels.
Does CB Radio use by truckers fall under the Social Media category? Since work use is while driving, CBs can be helpful in emergencies and getting a heads-up on traffic situations, I believe it has value in return on investment.
3. White Space Pause
These little bits of time center and focus you before appointments, telephone calls, work on the next project, and mentally prepare you with a clear mind to move forward undistracted. A White Space Pause is as easy as taking a deep breath or two, getting up and stretching, going for a refreshment.
White Space Pauses also allows time for Stress Level Checks. The operative question becomes Are you managing your stress or is your stress managing you? Stress causes system upheavals. You know this.
A body/mind/spirit/emotional Stress Checkup points your focus on how efficiently and effectively your four systems are functioning for you in the moment. Frequent checks can help alleviate or reduce headaches, keep back and neck knots from forming, as well as keep stomach acid and anxiety from becoming pain distractions.
4. Rest, Refresh, Refocus Pause
Are you taking at least one 24-hour day off work? Are you taking two 24-hour days off work? Or, does work ribbon through your life while you do other things in the evenings and on weekends, day in and day out?
After over 50 years of every day is a work day, the weekend of October 19 and 20, 2014, I took both Saturday and Sunday off for the first time as an entrepreneur. And, Sunday, I even stayed off the Internet for the first time since I began using it in 1980. I started taking back my life nine weeks before that when I made a commitment to take every Sunday off work for the rest of my life. When the crazy-busyness gets to me during the week, I can remind myself Sunday’s coming. When I get tempted to jump-start my week by doing a project I really enjoy doing anyway, it takes all my commitment and discipline to keep my Sunday free of work. As an entrepreneur, basically, I love everything I do or I don't do it, or I get creative and figure out a way to make the drudge work a game. Still, Sundays are sacred, period. Now, Saturday has joined Sunday.
What are my takeaways from this 4th Pillar of Pause Power? Stress migraines are less frequent and severe. My days are more focused, cleaner, neater, more on target with my goals. I am finishing more of what I start and foregoing starting projects that eat up time without giving me enough value. I spend much less time on Facebook and more time on Twitter and LinkedIn. Why? The latter two give me information, connection and visibility value. The former is an addictive time sucker I will no longer visit daily.
Final Monitoring Log to Launch Your Pause Power into Action
Consider doing a two-week business and personal monitoring to see where you spend your waking time each day. Remember to plug in your Social Media two-week log, if you kept that as one of your Social Pillars. While every reader's fourteen days will have some unique aspects such as hobbies, exercise, sports activities, here are some general categories to consider:
➢ Telephone conversation and texting time
➢ Appointment time, all appointments as well as employee meetings
➢ Other computer and electronic device time, including time on the Internet
➢ Task time, actual working time where you do your job outside of people interaction, reading mail, writing to others, doing reports, planning, goal-setting, preparing schedules or tasks for subordinates
➢ Managing by monitoring
➢ Vehicle travel time, including getting family members and others where they need to go and bringing them home ➢ Television, gaming time
➢ Time spent with family
➢ Time spent with friends
Plans & Actions to Start Your Take-Back-Your-Life Engine
You want to feel your best, do your best and be your best. The above Final Monitoring Log well-done will let you know what you are doing with yourself every day. Now, you've done everything but take Action. Here are some things to consider:
• How will what you learned about your time expenses propel you to separate your work life from the rest of your life?
• What did you see in your time-spent logs that surprised you?
• Where is what you are doing giving you good value and where it is just spinning your wheels?
• How much time are you spending showing your God, family and friends how much you love them?
• How much time are you spending just being good to yourself, making sure you have a high quality of life?
Jump-start your New Year 2015 to give yourself a business and personal life you'll love living!