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Ten irreverent, light-hearted tips for time management during a life transition

Time Management for a Life Transition

An irreverent guide

A life transition calls for a new concept of time. You no longer have the luxury of waiting to clear the deck so you can focus on your new goal. You've moved to fantasyland when you say, "I'll begin planning my transition next month, when I have more time."

Next month you might have less time -- and a new crisis, too.

1. Discover the "better than zero" rule.

No time or motivation to write a thousand words or fire off ten phone calls? Any action is better than none. Skip a day because you don't have enough time and you'll lose momentum.

2. First, do what you dread.

You'll be fired up with energy for the rest of your day.

3. Fifteen minutes a day can move you to your dream.

Set a timer. If you go over the fifteen minutes, you don't get to skip a day.

4. Prioritize actions that lead you to your goal.

Easy to put off going to the gym or working on your business plan. After all, your old life still goes on. During the crucial stages of a life transition, you need to run on two tracks at once.

5. Are you a butterfly or a flower? Schedule accordingly!

Butterflies like to move around. If you have six projects, spend a little time on each task each day.

Flowers blossom when they have time to grow in one spot. Dedicate an entire day or afternoon to each project.

6. Give yourself a treat every day. No exceptions!

Find something truly delicious and decadent: ice cream with fudge sauce, your favorite music album, quality time with the dog, walk by your favorite scene.

7. Decide if you need to be a dog or a cat.

A cat is finicky: everything must be just right. A dog cuts to the chase, fast and sloppy. No point spending time as a cat when a dog will do.

8. Sometimes more is better.

Believe it or not, researchers find that people with multiple roles tend to be happier. Why? A big win in one role can compensate for a bad day in another. And most people accomplish more when they are forced to budget their time.

9. Set a deadline for process as well as outcome.

"I'll give myself two hours to write this memo" can be a great motivator. When I work at home, I accomplish more when I have a lunch date than when the whole day spreads out before me.

10. If you really don't want to do something, ask yourself, "Do I really have to?"

One client kept forcing herself to work through a journal-writing program. I finally told her, "Most of the world does very well without that program. If you hate it that much, why not find something else to do?"

If you really have to, and you don't want to, get creative. You can hire help for part of the project, redesign the process, blast your favorite music or promise yourself a spectacular reward.

Most important: Know what motivates you. I don't get motivated by rewards or status reports -- I go for the music and I love to hire help. I have a friend who hates to clean house but motivates herself effectively with ice cream. No rules here!

Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D. is an author, career coach, and speaker. She works with mid-career professionals who want to make a fast move to career freedom. Visit her site http://www.movinglady.com or call 505-534-4294.


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