Regain control a Little at a Time

time clock public domainWhen you don’t feel in control of your time, everything in your business might seem as if it’s running together into one big blur. Examining the key compartments of your day is an easy way to regain control.

It is important that you don’t attempt to tackle all arenas of your business and your life on the same morning. Not only will you not finish, but the process itself will be be horrendous. If you are enthusiastic about the prospect of streamlining your activities, then you’ve got to think about paring down a little at a time. There is no other way. You’re already working too many hours and have a lot of responsibilities competing for your attention.

Here are some suggestions on how you can pare down a little at a time without having to break your stride:

  • Anytime you’re waiting for someone in the business, at home, or in your car, use the extra couple minutes to get organized. If your children are at the age where you’re driving them around town, after only a few days you ought to have your car whipped into shape.
  • When you’ve finished a big company project and you’re not in the mind-set to tackle some other major, intellectual pursuit at the moment, pare down your holdings as a form of transition. For example, if you recently finished a big report for a client, can you now delete previous iterations on your hard disk? Can you get rid of rough drafts and notes that are no longer applicable (notes you’ll never use again)? Can you update any logs and reporting forms? Are there any memos or communications to send as a result of the completed report?

There are always a variety of mini-tasks you can accomplish following the successful completion of some major project. Much of these minor tasks are of a paring down nature. If you develop the mind-set of taking care of these mini-tasks after the major task, then you’ll establish a clean slate before starting the next large project.

I know of entrepreneurs who, because of these mental clearings, perpetually feel in control of their time – much more than their peers who handle the same level of responsibilities.

If your plans turn awry because it’s raining, the bridge is out, or the plane has been delayed for an hour and ten minutes, pare down. Despite the availability of having all manner of electronic gadgetry at one’s seat, I know high-powered executives who will have none of it. Their seats in airplanes, they tell me, are some of the few sanctuaries they have. It’s where they get to open their briefcases and go through it from A to Z, merging and purging, updating lists, getting rid of what is no longer necessary, and getting that little office in the air back into condition.

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Jeff DavidsonJeff Davidson, “The Work-Life Balance Expert®,” is the world’s leading personal brand in terms of speaking, writing, or reflecting upon work-life balance issues. He is the author of “Dial it Down, Live it Up,” “Simpler Living,” “Breathing Space,” “The 60 Second Self-Starter,” “The 60 Second Organizer,” “The 10 Minute Guide to Managing Your Time,” and “The 10 Minute Guide to Managing Stress,” as well as 24 iPhone apps in the “Work-Life Guide” series. His books have been published in 19 languages, and in aggregate 141 times. Jeff is an Advisory Board member for The Organized Executive, a monthly publication of the Columbia Books, Washington DC. He holds the registered trademark as “The Work-Life Balance Expert.” Jeff can be reached at