A Cruise Ship Moment
By Joe Cirillo
I bet you're wondering: Where does my time go and what can I do to have more of it? Join the club. We are all in the same boat! Speaking of boats, close your eyes for a moment and imagine you're on a cruise in the Mediterranean. There is nothing passing through your mind other than the tranquility of this pure moment. You have just experienced purity, clarity, relaxation, and having quality time. How do you get that same quality time into your daily life?
The Gift of Time
How many times have you said to yourself: "There is never enough time or "Where did the time go today?" Our society moves fast and works hard. We rarely think about the wonderful free things in life. The air, mountains, oceans, blue sky, sun, moon, and YOUR TIME! Time is a great gift, given to all of us at birth. It is yours, you own it. It's priceless and it's free. What you do with it is your choice. It can make you more successful, relaxed, confident, happy, and give you that same cruise-ship feeling in your daily life.
We tend to take Time for granted because it's there with us every day, in our faces. It almost has its own voice saying: "So, what are you going to do with me today?" ANALOGY: Time is a natural resource. It is energy just like oil, hydrogen, and electricity. These forms of energy have to be harnessed and stored and so does Time.
Two examples of this might be:
- Someone calls you to arrange for lunch, dinner, a run, a meeting, or to attend an event with your children. What do you do? You look at your appointment book or PDA and say: "I can do it, I'll block that time out." This suggests you are organized and have your time under control.
- You look at your appointment book or PDA and say," I just don't have the time, I can't do it." If this happens repeatedly, it suggests that you don't have your time under control.
In the first example, your time was stored, like energy. When energy is needed, it is drawn on and distributed to a planned destination. Stored time can be distributed like it was in the first example.
The Speed of Time
We all complain about how fast time moves, the days, weeks, months, and all of the sudden, it's, "I don't believe it, the year is over!" The solution is simple: Time is not managed in the abstract; time is managed through organizing your home and workplace. When your home and workplace are organized, your time and life are managed. Research has proven this point over and over. Two hours of productive time are wasted each day through disorganization and clutter, causing stress and pressure, never allowing for that cruise-ship moment.
How many of us are guilty of occasionally not being able to find car keys, sunglasses, reading glasses, file folders, a favorite blouse, the TV remote, telephone hand set, cell phone or even a pen? I have a friend who found the TV remote in the fridge, the car keys in the trash, his glasses under the hood of the car. None of this was a result of short-term memory loss. It was a result of disorganization.
Time is like the speed of sound. It moves at mach speeds, nano seconds. In 1942 Franklin Roosevelt said it best: "Never before have we had so little time in which to do so much." Sixty-three years later, we still have so little time to do so much. The speed of time will not change. Nor will the cultural mix of people throughout the world.
It started in the 1200s with the great seagoing explorers. Their early connection with the other side of the world not only accelerated our perception of time, but it also involved our exposure to other cultures. I tell you this to illustrate a point. One of our concerns today is other nations. That may sound a little political, but that's not the intention. The intention is to put into perspective how we got to this fast moving pace. As the world comes closer together, it seems to move faster. None of us can do anything about this. It's just going to happen. Ships, trains, the telegraph, telephone, automobiles, air, one-way radios, two-way radios, the mail system, television, satellite dishes, UPS, FedEx, mail order, computers, cell phones, the Internet. All of these contribute to our fast-moving world. Bottom line, they help our lives. We get more, it's more convenient. Is that good? Yes. These technologies have provided more opportunity to work remotely and from home, to stay connected with business and family. Does it make you want to hide sometimes? You bet!
So how can you deal with this dizzying pace? By finding your own internal rhythm"your speed. The challenge is not to keep up with the speed of time and life around you, but to find your personal rhythm and balance. How do you get in touch with this rhythm? By being organized. The best time management courses in the world will not bring you more time. They will help you to manage your daily schedule, but if your home and workplace are not organized, your time and life will not be organized.
The Origin of Clutter
How did disorganization and clutter get into our lives? The answer is our heritage and our environment. If you think about it, our ancestors came on boats to the New World, bringing with them only their prized possessions; they were the first pack rats. Their landing was the beginning of America's FAST-moving society. They had to move fast to survive, get their families settled, find work, get ahead. That early pioneering spirit established our momentum and we"ve never looked back!
How does this relate to organizing and managing your time? What we inherited is hard to shake. The reason why so many people have clutter, which leads to disorganization and time loss, is their inability to let go, to decide to get rid of unnecessary or inactive items that have been around for years. Most of this attitude is a result of our past. Holding on to those possessions. I present this brief history to give you a perspective, an understanding of the past so you can relate it to the present and future. Most people have allowed clutter to build up, hanging on to the old because they have accepted it as part of life. They do not want to make any lifestyle changes. This is not about lifestyle change; this is about getting more out of life by taking control of time and space. When you don't have control of time and space, time and space have control over you.
The answer is in your home, where your day begins and ends. Starting with your bedroom. As simple as it sounds, an unmade bed is clutter. If you launch your day in a cluttered room, your entire day will feel cluttered and unclear. Your bedroom should be a tranquil place, like your mind on the cruise ship. When your bedroom, closet, bathroom and dresser drawers are organized, you have achieved the first step in taking control of your time. This personal space is the model and sets the tone to organize and manage your home and workplace. When you have accomplished this you are TIME READY. Ready, organized, and prepared to take advantage of opportunities. There is no greater feeling than returning to an organized space at the end of each day, one that is calm and relaxing, and gives you that cruise-ship moment.
Planning and Storing Time
When your home and workplace are organized you are ready to plan. Failing to plan is planning to fail. TIME AWARENESS - a skill that evolves from managing your time. Being aware of what you can realistically accomplish in one hour or one day. A task list is a time-management tool. A daily task list is like a road map. Driving without one in unfamiliar territory causes time loss. The result of planning and managing your daily task is time control, having time on your side. When you do this you have extra time, the two hours of wasted time before you had time under control.
We all have in us what I call TIME EFFICIENCY. These are the peak periods in our morning, afternoon, or evening. When you discover this source"your peak period you will find that your mind and body will perform with more clarity, and that your coordination and energy level will feel like that of an athlete. Plan your personal and work activities during these hours. If you have a difficult decision to make, a challenging meeting, a document, presentation to create or an important conversation on personal matters, do them when you are at your best and you will experience the pleasure of success and relief. This use of your most productive hours will provide you with additional confidence to make your rhythm work in the speed around you.
How does procrastination play a roll in organizing and taking control of time? It delays progress. Why does it exist? Fear. Putting things off because they are too difficult, too overwhelming. Why does this happen? Mostly because of overload, taking on too much, resulting in too many pending and incomplete tasks. Procrastination contributes to time loss. A good way to manage procrastination is by prioritizing. When you have identified your most productive hours of your day, schedule challenging tasks in that period.
Let's talk more about clutter. It's everywhere. Clutter can take control of your life. It mutates, changes and appears differently. It exists in your fridge, pantry, closets, drawers, bathrooms, purse, wallet, briefcase, pockets, file folders, desk, and car. It can have an exhausting effect. Clutter causes VISUAL OVERLOAD. It's a mind clogger. How do you control it? By stopping it before the assault. Simple examples of daily infiltrators are the mail, magazines, newspapers, packages, shopping bags, groceries, grocery bags, cleaning, new clothes, athletic items, and toys. The only way to fend off the onslaught is to stop it upon entry. Go on the offensive. Mail that has built-in categories is easy to deal with"catalogs, junk mail, magazines, important. If you pick up your mail at the post office, sort it there. Saves time and stops clutter building. If it is delivered to your home, sort it upon entry. Evaluate the magazines you really read, not what you think you like or may read. Magazines are an expense. If you add up your annual subscription fees, which you probably don't even know, they could be between $600.00 and $1000.00. Magazines, junk mail, catalogs, and newspapers are the biggest clutter builders. If you are not buying from the catalog companies, call them and ask for your name to be removed from their list. If you are not reading your daily newspapers, you don't need them. If you find that you are keeping several magazines partially read, it means that your interest level is not high enough. If you don't have a recycling area to collect what has been read, you need one.
Clarity and the Clear Mind
When you have your life organized, you have clarity, which allows your mind to roam free and think thoughts other than: "Now where did I leave that remote? By clearing the clutter, you're also freeing the mind, relieving stress and the things that add to our frustrations. Suddenly your mind is clear of the negative thinking "Boy this house is a mess." And in its place are more serene thoughts, those cruise ship moments that, by the way, can add up to a full cruise.
About The Author
It's Your Time is available in bookstores across the nation or on Cirillo's Web site: http://www.joecirillo.com. Cirillo has a long list a happy customers that say his methods will help you organize everything and gain up to two hours a day. Joe Cirillo lives in Sun Valley, Idaho where he is currently releasing his second book The Italian Club, Original family recipes brought over from Naples, Italy. Contact The Cirillo Company today to be placed on the advanced copy list.
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