“Being selfish with your time”

Things have slowed down at Eye of the Islands and I thought I was going to have all kinds of time for projects.  I just seem to keep filling up every moment of time available to me. 

I try to do incorporate David Allen’s GTD method, but fail often.  His website has a blog that includes articles that are often useful.  This one called "Being Selfish with Your Time" by Kelly Forrister, one of David Allen’s trainers is a great one.  Her blog can be found at:  http://www.davidco.com/blogs/kelly/

"Being selfish with your time

One of the things I hear from people all of the time is that they
are so yanked around by other people’s fires, crisis & priorities,
their own processing time takes the biggest hit. I hear stories all of
the time like:

* An 8 hour day used to be the norm, now 10 hours feels like leaving early. 

* Zero in "In" used to be a regular occurrence, now there’s backlog that would take days to process.

* So many back-to-back meetings there’s never a chance to even download what happened in the last one before dashing off to the next one. Meeting notes to be processed are piled up in a 1/2 dozen notebooks.

* Filing? Are you kidding? The "To File" pile is knee-high.

* We HAVE to read our email during meetings just to stay on top of it.

The best strategy I can share about getting in control again is to
be selfish with your time. If you are in a shared calendar environment,
there’s a good chance open spaces on your calendar are considered free
game. And I doubt anyone else is holding back from booking a meeting
with you so that you have some quality "review, get clear, get current,
stare at your belly button and figure out your priorities time" instead
of coming to their meeting. If you want that, it’s up to you. Now, I
know this is easier said than done. In some of your environments, the
volume and demands for your time coming at you like your face is in
front of a fire hydrant. That’s even more reason to be vigilant about
carving out your own processing time. Remember, processing is different
than doing. Backlog comes from the unprocessed too, not just the undone.

* Consider blocking your own calendar for meetings with yourself. I
know many people & teams that do this just to create some protected
calendar time for processing email at the beginning and end of day. A
good guideline for how much time you need is about 30 seconds to
process each piece of input you get (paper or digital). For most people
that comes out to about an hour to hour and a half per day for their
own processing time.

* Don’t accept meetings that start the moment you walk in the door,
before you’ve had a chance to process email. Otherwise, there’s a good
chance your attention will be on what’s lurking in email and not on the
meeting. I think this is why so many people process email during
meetings. Being a presenter of meetings, I can tell you I can spot a
BlackBerry user in a seminar from across the room. They are barely
"there". If what’s going on in email is really that important, is it
really a good idea for you to be in that meeting anyway?

* Consider delegating some of the things that are choking your
system–like filing. If you can’t delegate this, then get your filing
system to a place where filing something will take you less than 2
minutes and no more.

* Give yourself buffer time between meetings. Some companies will
end meetings 15 minutes before the hour to allow transport time for
people to get to the next one. Not to mention letting your brain
decompress before it has to shift gears.

And, the best thing I know for getting back in control is the Weekly
Review. If you haven’t done one lately, how about giving it a whirl?"

You need to spend quality time, detached from the daily grind, thinking about, getting control of, and managing the daily grind.
– David Allen

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