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The Value of Summer Time: 5 Steps to a High Performance Year

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Post The Value of Summer Time: 5 Steps to a High Performance Year   Sat Aug 13, 2011 9:47 am

Ahhh, summer. As things slow down a bit at the office, it's an ideal time to ponder the past and consider the future. I think a lot of us look back at the year and wonder, "How did another year pass by?" If you are concerned about your lack of accomplishment over the past 12 months, summer is an opportunity to take stock of your time management abilities and make some changes for future success. Even if you are pleased with your achievements, nothing beats the summer slow down as an avenue to reflect on your skill set and plan for a high-octane year!

Keep the following five steps in mind, and you too can use your summer "time" for a more productive and accomplished year:

1. Reflect on your time
2. Consider your achievements
3. Clarify where you want to be
4. Find your motivation
5. Be disciplined

1. Reflect on your Time: how did you spend it this past year

Your first step is to inventory your time management abilities. Are your strategies effective? Are there ways to increase your efficiency? Do you use a "do not disturb sign" on your cubicle door? Delegate effectively? Run your meetings well? Block time out on your calendar? You might also think of ways to eliminate all the time wasters that exist in your environment: unnecessary meetings, too much water cooler chit chat, emails that don't concern you, etc.

But this reflection only helps us get better at managing time. The next step is to reflect on what we actually do during that time.

2. Consider your Past Achievements: what did you accomplish

Spending your time on the RIGHT activities is the best way to "get ahead." Stephen Covey's famous Quadrant II (Not Urgent and Important) is where we all should be spending our time. Unfortunately, many of us end up spending too much of our time in Quadrant I (Urgent and Important). Understanding what is and is not important certainly helps to clarify where we should be spending our time. For some, it actually makes us realize that we don't know how to really prioritize all the important things that need to happen!

3. Clarify your Destination: where do you really want to be in the next year

Take the time to consider your goals for the year. The clearer your objectives the better. This will become your "compass" for the next year. If you ever have a conflict or time pressure, this "guidepost" will simplify how to best spend your precious time.

4. Find your Motivation: envision your success.

Now, it's one thing to have a clearly defined map or compass to identify your end destination: but without the fuel of motivation, you won't travel very far. Think about WHY you want to accomplish these goals. What are the consequences of success? What if you fail? Try to envision how it would feel to achieve your goals, or fail at them. Some say that the greatest motivation is fear and pain... are these driving you to where you want to go?

5. Be Disciplined: break it down into achievable steps

In the end, if you can't discipline yourself enough to get there, you're just wasting time and energy. You surely have a lot to do. We all do. But if you don't do the first step, then the next step toward your goal, it just won't happen. Focus is key. You can blame all the external factors that led you not to accomplish your goals; however, in the end, you have a huge influence on the fuel required to move the ship! (Check out last edition's article, "The Power of Focus" for more info.)

Try to think differently this summer as you take a bit of time off and reflect on where you want to be next year and how this will make you feel. Then reflect on why you absolutely need to be there next year: this will be your super turbo fuel!

Be amazing!

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