Say no to time thieves

Make sure you're focusing and not allowing time thieves to take advantage of you!

Did you know interruptions consume 28 percent of an average workday? It's true. And interruptions can be even more time-stealing if you're working from home and not setting limits. Case in point: the other day I was working from home. That's typically a great place to work, especially during school hours. But, one of my kids was home sick. She slept most of the time, but still needed checking, food and comfort. Then, I answered the home phone, instead of letting the answering machine grab it. A mom looking for help with the Lacrosse car wash this weekend. And finally, my oldest signed himself out of school and arrived home with a big project.

And what time does that leave for the things on my list? None, if I allow that to happen. But I can't. I've made a commitment to my business, to me and my team. If you're looking for a job or starting a business, this is vitally important. No matter what comes up, you need to remember that if you don't manage through the interruptions and still accomplish your tasks for today, you'll feel more stressed and less available tomorrow. And that ruins your weekend.

For me, my kids and for everyone else, I need to find a way to get it all done. Here's how:

1. Don't lose steam. Even if you need to take an hour out to comfort, to help, to run an errand, to go to an unexpected meeting, to whatever, get back on track as soon as you can.

2. If you're frustrated, let it out. Go for a walk. Express your frustration. Simply tell your kids, your spouse, your friend, your coworker that you're on a deadline so you need to make this meeting, appointment, errand, call, whatever, quick. To the point. It's ok to tell others you're rushed.

3. Practice saying this little word: NO. I'm not good at it yet, and you probably aren't either. Let's work on it, shall we?

4. Remember each day is a journey, just as your career and life are a journey. There is no straight path. Look at it as a continuum. Perhaps during this interruption, something you are learning, listening to or helping with holds a kernel of truth you can apply when you're back tackling your job at hand.

5. Just do it. Really. Now that you've paused to read this tip, you are fired up to get back at the task at hand. No more excuses.

I feel better. Hope you do, too. According to many surveys across numerous fields, we all want to feel joy and a sense of purpose about the work we do, the career we pursue. Have you found that? You deserve it. In this time of uncertainty, make a plan for yourself. Remember, it's about defining yourself in one word, and then defining your passions—your hobbies, interests, loves. Within those things, you'll find the answers, and you can begin to pursue them. The answers to fulfillment are within you. And—if the task you're putting off is one that is crucial to your new passion path, you really have no excuse! See #5.

Have a great weekend! Follow me on Twitter, and I'd love to be a friend on Facebook!

Make time for yourself, because your future starts now.

Wow! This may be a tough one for those of you with kids. And even if you don’t have a family, it’s a challenge in today’s world to get away for a while. But taking a break is necessary for your well being. So, if you can, head to the hills, the ocean—or even a hotel for a night or a weekend. This guilt-free time alone is essential, and what better time to plan your getaway than during the dog days of summer. Do it now—before school starts and before the holiday rush kicks in. This will give you some time to think, plan and dream. Chances are good that you’ll return recharged and ready to take on the world.

Women everywhere, and in all stages of life, are planning time for themselves. For some, it’s as simple as the solitude they experience while driving alone in the car. Others report that a long bike ride in the country is the best antidote. And some listen to music alone, take long walks in the woods, participate in a retreat, vacation alone—maybe even escape to a hotel on the other side of town. It doesn’t matter how you choose to make time for yourself. Whatever you do, you’ll quickly discover that spending time alone can be empowering. The key is not to delay. Plan your time today.

Don’t waste another minute. Plan your personal getaway time during the slower days of summer. When you return—refreshed and rejuvenated—get more inspiration from the new Real You Web site to be launched later this summer.

Be selective with your time

You're a busy professional with limited time to devote outside of work and family, so that’s why it’s best to only join organizations that have meaning to you. Start by visiting several groups so you can determine which ones are right for you. Then be selective, because attending too many meetings, or joining a long list of organizations, is the opposite of real.

Once you find that perfect fit—an organization that turns out to be exactly what you’re looking for—volunteer your time as a leader. Why? Because you’ll get the most out of it that way—and so will the organization. Leaders who give their time this way quickly learn that the benefits far outweigh the input.

Learn more in Real Fact No. 7 of Real You Incorporated.