Strategic Teams Achieving Results

399 Miles to Empty

Posted on May 15th, by Mary Elizabeth Murphy in 2009, Weekend Attitude Adjustment. 2 comments

running on empty2_290x136_scaled_croppDo you feel like a Super Hero when it comes time to planning your life? Would a colorful cape, some cool boots and a lasso be all you need to complete this persona to help you conquer the world and meet your everyday responsibilities?

What about that feeling of losing control over your time? Somehow it’s gotten off-course like a runaway train. Somehow it has gripped you with a force only someone with superhuman powers could escape. If only you could stop that train with your powerful boots or break the grip with the strength of your gold bracelets!

Last week, while I was on a business trip to Chicago I rented a car from my friends at Avis. I, put my luggage in the trunk, adjusted the mirrors and before I shifted into drive I looked at the dashboard. I saw in bright neon green numbers and letters the following message – “399 miles to Empty”.

And I thought – hmmm – what if we humans came with the same type of meter. I little register in our system that monitored and mentioned to us how many miles we had left in us to EMPTY!

Everywhere I went in that car I was reminded of how many miles I had until EMPTY! It actually became a bit annoying – I found myself much more concerned about my gas tank than ever before. It was right there on my dashboard, dead center and unavoidable. I just kept thinking there was a greater message here and certainly something for me to share with you, the Weekend Attitude Adjustment Community. So here goes …

Where do you start or stop when you realize that you are not a Super Hero but a normal human running around in Super Hero clothing and driving a car that will be EMPTY in 399 miles.

The fact of the matter is that time is the great equalizer. We all get the same amount to use everyday. Twenty-four hours, 1,440 minutes, 86,400 seconds; however you break down your day, it’s barely enough time to get your own house in order, let alone save the world! Beginning at 12:00 am Saturday you will have 2,880 minutes for this weekend, so much for sleeping in on Saturday morning. That leisurely coffee and crumpet plan for Sunday – forget it – you only have 900 minutes left to EMPTY!

On the other hand if you run around with “your hair on fire” as a friend of mine likes to say – how long do you think you have until your internal gas tank reads EMPTY?

Any way you look at it, time is precious. How can you maximize it and at the same time maintain a human lifestyle?

First, sit back and close your eyes for a minute. Now, imagine if you could have 60 minutes of unscheduled time every day. That would be seven hours in a week and 28 additional hours in a month. Expand it for the year and that would be 14 extra free days. Woo hoo Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa here I come …

This may sound ridiculous, but it’s not. In spite of your busy work schedule, the fact that the shopping won’t do itself, and not to mention your all-too-human desire to spend time with your family, I am actually suggesting that you “Super Hero” can in fact find an extra 60 minutes in every day – for you. Time to do the things you keep on that “if I only had more time” wish list.

The following is a list of 11 tips and concepts for time management. This weekend simply practice a few of these and see come Sunday night if you still have a little fuel left in the tank.

As you review this list, ask yourself some questions: Which of these categories are most critical? Which category are you already controlling? Learn ways to develop those you still need to improve upon and sooner rather than later you will have those extra two weeks. My favorite weekend tips are in bold!!

1. Goals – Be sure that you are setting S.M.A.R.T. goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed.
2. Priorities – Most people start with the quick, easy, enjoyable things first. Instead, start with the important things. Do the weeding, shopping, whatever chores first thing Saturday morning – sip Lemonade in the afternoon.
3. Analyze Your Day – Check that your activities are consistent with your goals. Are you spending your time in a way that brings your heart joy?
4. Plan – Make sure your daily “to do” list has priorities and time estimates. You run out of time, not work.
5. Schedule – Little ever happens in your life until you create the space for it to happen. Set a start and an end time.
6. Interruptions – Schedule quiet time each day so that you can work on your priorities without interruption. Before the running of the errands… take time to visualize how you would like to see your day play out.
7. Written Communications – Ask yourself these three questions: Will I really do anything with this? If the answer is “no,” then dump it. If the answer is “yes,” ask the next two questions: When will I do it? Where will I keep it?
8. Meetings – Identify a specific result to be achieved for each agenda item. Schedule people to come and go as they are needed.
9. Delegation – Consider how you will manage the job before you delegate it. Insist on results not perfection. There are usually many ways to get the same results. Learn to live with differences. “How perfect does that lawn have to be … really?”
10. Procrastination – What causes you to put things off? Most of us tend to avoid things that are unpleasant, complex or overwhelming.
11. Team Time – Discuss goals, priorities, and plans with superiors, subordinates, team members and support staff. Do it often. Family, children, neighbors, friends – discuss the plan so that everyone can support it, have fun and save some fuel –carpool!

Not using your time wisely can impact both your professional and personal lives. You don’t have to be Super Hero, but you can lasso time back under your control.

I would love to hear from you and your thoughts on this topic. How will you use your 2,880 minutes this weekend? Please click comment below and share your ideas and wisdom.

And until next time … I remain …

Joyfully yours,
Mary Elizabeth

2 thoughts on “399 Miles to Empty

  1. Mary Elizabeth,
    The beginning of your message made me recall strains of Stephen Covey from my Franklin Covey “FOCUS-Achieving Your Highest Priorities” training. How true it is that priorities are important – even on (or perhaps, especially on) the weekend.
    I love your tips and like the idea in #8 about letting people come and go as required in a meeting rather than having people’s time occupied unnecessarily.
    You asked about weekend plans. Yadkin Valley Wine Festival here we come! It should be a fun time. We have never been before, and are anxious to sip the savory liquids of NC.
    Hope your weekend is relaxed before traveling next week.
    God bless – be safe,

    • Thank you Karen for your thoughtful response and update on weekend activities. You will find a new energy and more efficiancy in your meetings by scheduling in this fashion. It shows that you respect and value others time and allows everyone involved a higher level of engagement.

      I’m actually in Philly now waiting for my clients arrival. We will travel together up to the conference I will be presenting at this week on Organizational Strengths. Enjoy Yadkin Valley!

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