Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Your LIfe is Precious

Speech I gave at the Telecom Park Toastmasters on 2-21-2013 and at the Area 41 Contest on 3-15 and won second place.

An old man in a hospital bed mournfully crying out, "I wasted it, I wasted my life." In the movie In Time, Justin Timberlake's character lived in a world where everyone had a digital clock displaying the number years, days, minutes and seconds remaining for their life. If you had a digital display of your minutes ticking away, would you use them differently?

How precious is your life? Don't come to the end of it and realize you've wasted it.

Today, I'll be covering two strategies for managing your time and two tactics for managing your time.

Stephen R. Covey said, "The key is in not spending time, but in investing it." Let’s take the metaphor of investing time, we can think about creating a balanced portfolio. Just like we wouldn't want to put all our money into one stock, we also need to invest in a balanced portfolio.

Think about the moment you lay on your death bed. Will you have family and loved ones around you because you invested in relationships with them? Or will you be alone but have millions in your bank account? We all know the PhD student who min maxed and lost his family, his job, and his health. Min Max is when you focus everything on only one goal. To create a balanced portfolio you need to step back and really think about what memories you want to think back on from your death bed. What will you have accomplished? Take your balanced portfolio as seriously as you do your financial investments, becuase actually its probably worth more.

Second strategy is being intentional. Does this sound familiar? At the beginning of the week I intend to save money, but then in my actions I don't. I go to Wal-Mart and buy three things I absolutely do not need. Another day I go to a cloths store and buy an outfit that when I get home I realize I will never wear. At the end of the week I wonder what happened to my savings plan. I am not matching my intentions with my goals. When you created your balanced portfolio, you created your goals. Do you ever get to Saturday and wonder what happened? We need to be intentional in our time usage to match our goals. That means using our calendars and todo lists to ensure we don't lose track of time. I used to have my watch set to go off three times a day. When it went off I'd check if I was doing something effective with my time. Your minutes are ticking away. Don't let timewasters take over your precious time. Be intentional how you spend your time to match our goals.

Next we will move into two tactics for managing your time.
The First tactic is used by CEOs and is very effective. It is called Time Boxing. They create a pie chart of time based on the priority of the area. Then they create time boxes on their calendar where they will schedule tasks or appointments for each area. They slot tasks as they come in into the appropriate time box, and when it fills up, they slot it into the next available time box for that area. This allows them to stay focused on what’s important.

The second tactic is Pomodoro time management. With this technique you set a timer for 25 minutes. You keep working on the current task for 25 minutes. Then if your not done, you set it again for 25 minutes. At that time you can take a 5 minute break before setting it again for 25 minutes and so on. I use this to keep focused on tasks because my mind is all over the place. When I am reading I think of so many ideas and I want to write them down and google things, but when I look at the clock ticking away, I go back to my task and focus. I find it works very well for me.

If you could see your minutes ticking away on your arm like they did in In Time, would you live differently? Would you create a balanced portfolio to ensure that on your death bed you can look over your life and feel like you didn't waste it? Would you be more intentional about your time usage and be sure that your intentions match your actions? Using the tactics of Pomodoro and Time Boxing you can manage your time and make sure you meet your goals.

It’s your life, make it count.

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