Track your time

I’m quite excited. This week, I’m giving a new workshop about time management to university students. It’s such a great initiative to support new students as they’re juggling new responsibilities: Attending class, submitting assignments on time, studying for finals, working their full-time job, raising a family and still having fun with their friends.

We all have 24 hours in the day and yet, some people just seem to be in better control of their time. What sets them apart? How do they just do it?

One activity will focus on how we’re spending our day. Did you ever review where your time goes? If not, do it for a typical week.

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Me time – Take care of yourself and just breathe

Christmas BeachThe festive season is almost over and the long weekend seems to be months away. It was such a wonderful time celebrating with my loved ones on the beach. But then, I was shocked seeing a Facebook post about my cousin in the US. She was hospitalised – suspected stroke! While she’s better and at now home now, it was terrible news.

It made me realise how important spending time with our loved ones really is. We’d expect something to happen to our parents, not to our cousins and friends.

We’re all so busy wrapping up outstanding projects at work, finalising that sale before year end, preparing for the Holidays, rushing from one party to another, getting the nails done and so on. There’s hardly any time for us to just breathe. Even at the hairdresser’s, it’s writing down what needs to be done next.

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Wrap up the year

Year End PartyThe last few weeks of a year always seem to be a mad rush. Last week, we had our company year end party which was such a great laugh. In less than 2 weeks, we’ll celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and Christmas. For a lot of expats in Dubai, this will be time to travel to their home countries and many are also thinking how and where to spend New Year’s Eve. I’m so happy that all this is sorted and I’ve some peace of mind!

Yet, as we’re getting ready to celebrate, it’s also time to wrap up 2015. Nowadays, year end is almost forgotten and few people only use it to reflect. Instead, we’re already focusing on the next year. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s finish this year first. Here’s a list of activities to wrap up in 2015:

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Overcommitment

This year, I led various projects consuming substantially more hours than originally anticipated. Some of them left me feeling exhausted. Yet, I wouldn’t let my personal life be stopped by it. Meetings with friends, participating in races and playing golf, studying for professional certifications, volunteering and travelling to fascinating destinations, you name it. I didn’t want anything to be put on hold or, worse, be cancelled.

Unfortunately, being overcommitted torments me. It makes me juggle my numerous activities and leaves me tired and frustrated. I feel bad for not having given each their deserved focus. After all, a meeting with a friend for a coffee rarely lasts only 10 minutes.

There are different strategies to avoid to being overcommitted.

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Productivity tips from entrepreneurs

This weekend, I was meeting some ex-colleagues for a delicious and relaxing high tea. It was so lovely to see them again and, as usual, one of the first question we asked each other was how the other one was. “Busy!” This seems to be the answer these days. When was the last time you heard anyone answer with “Good, keeping well, thank you”? Who’s not a busy bee?

As our afternoon carried on and we left the superficial “How are you” question, it became apparent that “busy” had all kinds of meaning. One was introducing an automisation project at work, for others, it was relocating the offices, helping their children with their homework or researching the next holiday destination for the upcoming Eid weekend. Everyone had so many things to juggle every day.

The conversations left me thinking how we use the same 24 hours in a day. Like you, I know some folks who seem to be constantly chasing the activities on their to-do list, looking frazzled about what to do and completely stressed when not achieving as much as they’d like to. Then, there are others who seem to just breeze through their day, with hardly any signs of stress or panic.

What can you do to use your 24 hours in a day more wisely? Here are some tips from entrepreneurs for you:

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Eat your frog first – 10 tips to beat procrastination

Does this ever happen to you? There’s something lingering on your to-do list. No matter how often look at it, it’s still there. No matter how much you wish it away, it’s still there. It’s procrastination of its finest and it happens to all us.

Having to write that business report, ironing the shirts or deciding when to visit relatives may make you cringe. It’s easier to wait for another day, then tackle it. How many other things can you do than the one you should be doing? It happens to all of us. Yes, also to me. Rather than cleaning my stove top yesterday (it was already long overdue), I could find everything else to do. Calling a friend, doing the weekly shopping, watching TV, surfing the web, you name it. It’s procrastination of its finest.

What can you do to eat your frog first? Here are 10 tips to beat procrastination:

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Are you benefiting from a routine?

Anybody with children knows how important a routine is for them. Ignore their nap time and you’ll have a grouchy kid for the rest of the day. In the past, routines were ridiculed as taking the spontaneity or creativity out of something. These days, more and more people are recognising the benefits of routines.

The benefits have been widely described as:

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Time savers = Life savers?

Do you ever have the feeling that time just flies by? This happened to me this last weekend. It was a fun packed one. An organising job, meeting my friends, playing a decent round of golf and finally having purchased new bedroom curtains. Luckily, I didn’t have to do any of the boring or time consuming activities. I’m very grateful for having found some time saving shortcuts, making my life a lot easier. Here are some of my favourite time savers = life savers:

  • Automate your bills and savings. Set up a direct debit or standing order and have your mortgage/rent, utility, TV and phone bills paid directly. While you’re at it, create a regular transfer on pay day and put however much you can afford to into a savings account.

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Own the Weekend!

The weekend is barely over and I’m already writing about the next weekend. Am I nuts? No, though some of my friends may question it at times. Rather than waiting for Thursday night, then debating how to spend the weekend and wasting valuable time, start thinking about it now. To me, it’s also a great motivator which carries me through the week. Are you also looking forward to some of your weekend activities?

When’s that opening of the long awaited restaurant again? Is there an artisan market which you meant to visit for weeks going on? What about this nagging home improvement list that you’ve been putting off? Do you need to complete a proposal for your business?

Follow these easy steps and you’re ready to own the weekend:

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Benefits of Being Organised

While I’m no big believer in fate, I sometimes wonder why a certain person would be sitting to me on is trip. During the NAPO a conference, I met some awesome organisers who shared different stories and insights, leaving me invigorated and energised.  On my return flight, David was sitting next to me and what a beautiful conversation we had.

Working at JFK airport, his belongings created stress for him. He hated driving or even more so being stuck in traffic. When he finally made the decision to sell his car, he could feel a load being taken from his shoulders. For him, deposing a number, well, a lot, of his belongings meant gaining freedom. “I’m relieved,” he said. “I’ve space in my apartment and can focus on the people and things that really matter to me.” For him, decluttering his life style clearly have paid off and he described him as a more balanced and appreciating person.

What could you gain from being (more) organised?

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