Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Selective Attention and Time

Check out this cool video (on selective attention) on CLASH ENTERTAINMENT and see how you do. I'll tell you how I did in the comments later today, after some of you have had a chance to view it first.

I was thrilled when attending a writers retreat recently to learn that multi-tasking actually kills brain cells. I used to be able to juggle so many more tasks and "goings on" than I can now. I'm guessing it's age (let's blame it on that anyway), but I'm finding that I really must concentrate on one thing at a time in order to do anything well. And yet life still demands our attention in so many directions at once.

At the writers retreat that I mentioned above, Angela Hunt shared some tips on time management with us. Some guidelines she's adopted that help her focus and accomplish more with her time. And if you know Angie, or have seen how many books she's written, you'll know the woman is highly productive!
  1. Do the important things that are not urgent...FIRST. Devotional, exercise, etc... Once your day is underway, the chance that you're going to come back and get these things accomplished is minimized. Push come to shove, the "urgent" will trump the "important."
  2. The phone is not your master. You don't always have to answer. That's what messages are for. Cultivate email. Use email for those quick questions that help avoid longer conversations.
  3. Learn to say “No.” Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Pray about everything before you say yes.
  4. How do you eat a cow? One bite at a time. Break those huge projects into step-by-step tasks. Writing a book, for example, is done one word at a time. Angie prints out blank calenders and gives herself daily quotas and goals. Mark out days you can’t work (Sabbath, travel days, etc...), then on remaining days give yourself a quota or goal. If it's the first draft, it may be a word quota. If it’s editing, then it might be a page quota. Give yourself some spare days too. Give yourself a couple of triage days (to fix the book where it's "bleeding"). 
  5. A little prevention saves you time later (do the things like your annual physical, doctor’s appts, taxes, in group appointments (on the same day, for example) and get them out of the way at the same time, as soon as you can). 
  6. Realize where your time is going. Try keeping a time log for 24 hours. Really look at how you spend your time. You might be surprised! 
  7. Tame the television. Find the shows you absolutely love and mark your calendar and watch them, guilt-free. Then keep the TV off the rest of the time.
  8. Capture stolen moments. Keep some work with you at all times. Keep that book or needlepoint or whatever close by and handy to get work done in those straggling moments.
  9. Time is LIFE. Time=Life. And you only have a finite amount of it. Use it well. To waste time is to waste the life you have been given. Sitting by the lake and pondering is NOT wasted time. Neither is time with your family, your spouse, your children, etc... 
  10. Harness the power of "the carrot." When you reach a goal, give yourself a reward. Reward yourself by reading that book on your nightstand, watching a movie, taking that long walk, grabbing that latte or scoop of ice cream. 
  11. Hurry up and wait. Do not procrastinate! If a task is due in two months, aim for getting it done in 6 weeks in order to give yourself time. Life happens. Plan for those "happenings."
  12. Remember...multitasking is a myth! In 1740, Lord Chesterfield said, “There is time enough for everything in the course of the day if you will do but one thing at a time.” Hurry up and bustle is the byproduct of a weak and frivilous mind. Repeated multi-tasking kills brain cells, and lowers your IQ (more than smoking a joint, some studies show).
So, there you are. Some quick tips that are really helping me to gain better control over my time. I hope you found one or two that will help you too. Now, go seize the day! And then a carrot!

And let me know how you did on that video above! I'm curious!

1 comment:

  1. I saw 14 of the passes, but totally missed the gorilla. Duh! Guess my effort to not multi-task anymore is working. :)


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