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Tag Archive for: Time Management

How are you doing living on 24 hours a day?

How are you doing living on 24 hours a day?

There is so much that has been written about time and time management (and I’m sure there will be more in time to come) I really don’t think there’s much I can add but if you would like a copy on my little book on the subject please do get in touch and I’ll be pleased to email you a copy of the eBook version.

Blank softcover book template on white.



It’s a really short read (well you don’t have time for to waste)

I’d say about the time to enjoy one large cappuccino should do it (other beverages are of course available so feel free to make your own choice!)


For now I’ll share this with you as I feel it really does put some perspective on our 24 hours a day . . .

There is nothing exceptionally new here as there is nothing exceptionally new about time.
So I leave you with an article by the famous author Arnold Bennett who is probably best known for two of his books: “Clayhanger Trilogy” and “The Old wives’ Tale”
The article was called “How to live on Twenty-Four hours a Day” and was first published in 1910 and, I believe, holds as true today as ever.

I share this with you in its original form as no summary from me would do justice to such a fine piece of writing.
Please do read this. It may change your life!

“It [time] is the inexplicable raw material of everything. with it, all is possible; without it, nothing.

The supply of time is truly a daily miracle, an affair genuinely astonishing when one examines it.

You wake up in the morning, and lo! your purse is magically filled with twenty-four hours of the unmanufactured tissue of the universe of your life!

It is yours. It is the most precious of possessions. a highly singular commodity, showered upon you in a manner as singular as the commodity itself!
For remark! no one can take it from you. it is unstealable. and no one receives either more or less than you receive.

Talk about an ideal democracy!

In the realm of time there is no aristocracy of wealth, and no aristocracy of intellect. Genius is never rewarded by even an extra hour a day. and there is no punishment. waste your infinitely precious commodity as much as you will, and the supply will never be withheld from you. No mysterious power will say:- “This man is a fool, if not a knave. he does not deserve time; he shall be cut off at the meter.”

It is more certain than consols, and payment of income is not affected by Sundays.
Moreover, you cannot draw on the future. It’s impossible to get into debt!
You can only waste the passing moment. You cannot waste tomorrow; it is kept for you. You cannot waste the next hour; it is kept for you.

I said the affair was a miracle. Is it not?
You have to live on this twenty-four hours of daily time. Out of it you have to spin health, pleasure, money, content, respect, and the evolution of your immortal soul.

Its right use, its most effective use, is a matter of the highest urgency and most thrilling actuality. All depends on that.
Your happiness – the elusive prize that you are all clutching for, my friend! – depends on that.
The supply of time, though gloriously regular, is cruelly restricted.


50660945 - all the time in the world phrase on concept clock, isolated on white background

Which of us lives on twenty-four hours a day? And when I say “lives”, I do not mean exists or “muddles through”.
Which of us is free from that uneasy feeling that the “great spending departments” of his daily life are not managed as they ought to be?

Which of us is not saying to himself – which of us has not been saying to himself all his life: “I shall alter that when I have more time”?

We shall never have more time.

We have, and we always have had, all the time that there is.”


For your personal copy of ‘The One Big Mistake People Unwittingly Make When It Comes To Time Management and How To Avoid It” contact me here with your email address and I’ll get a copy of the eBook version straight to you. 

Looking back . . . a whole month without email!

Looking back . . . a whole month without email!

Looking back through some archived files I came across this I wrote back in 2013 . . .

2013 has been quite a year so far.

I sold a business in 1993, but this time it’s been a very difference experience.  Some of it good, some of most certainly not!

Hey ho, all part of life’s rich tapestry as they say and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

Maybe it’s just my character, personality, get on with it mentality and bouncebackability.

I just know it will go into the mix with the rest of my life and business experience.

I’ve certainly learnt a lot this last eight months and know that will be hugely useful for future business decisions … my own and my clients!

So, it’s decision time.

Crack on or take a break?

. . .

It’s time to take a break – definitely!

So, with that decision made what do I need to do practically, I ask myself?

I need a plan.  Sorted.  Almost.

How do I escape my inbox?

You must have had that thought yourself at some point?

Funny how sometimes just the right inspiration comes along.

Is that luck?

I certainly subscribe to the idea of ‘when the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear’.

In this instance the ‘teacher’ was an article on taking an email sabbatical.  What a great idea!

In a nutshell the article kicked off with questions:

“Have you ever returned from a vacation more stressed out than when you left?”

Is the reason because you came home to 10,000 email messages that managed to convey high pitched anxiety even in text (with a few exclamation points to add pressure)?

Should vacations not be a break from the insanity, not a procrastination of it?

I could feel the pressure and I hadn’t even started to pack my suitcase!

Given the current position with the sale of the premises and the closing of the business almost complete, but no quite I did doubt whether I could disappear completely, but it would be good to get somewhere near to that so what could I do?

Firstly I needed to be able to put an ‘out of office’ message on my email.

To do this I needed to take yet another technology learning curve learning and move my email to a hosted exchange server so I could set an ‘out of office’ message.


A pat on the back for me – thank you!

Out of office message typed, a couple of tests to check all was working – marvellous!

That done, I’m off for August.  I’ll let you know how my month off goes and my email sabbatical!


What do I remember learning at the time? 

  • After a couple of days of withdrawal symptoms I didn’t miss it all (a bit like giving up coffee or chocolate if you’ve ever tried that!)
  • FOMO disappeared (that’s the Fear of Missing Out!)
  • Anyone who wanted me urgently called me (there wasn’t that many calls and my ‘out of office’ message made it clear what I was doing and why I was it) *
  • I realised how much unnecessary email I was getting
  • On my return I unsubscribed from loads of stuff that was no longer relevant to me
  • I could get on with important stuff when I got back into the office without losing a day (or more) catching up on stuff that really didn’t need catching up with!
  • How easy it is to get sucked into other people’s stuff
  • I could recognise my time bandits!
  • I had a refreshed approach to how I would handle email moving forward
  • One important thing to note taking an email sabbatical isn’t for everyone . . . it really does depend on what you do, what your business is, what you are responsible for.
  • Still worth giving your email habits some thought though.  If you want some help maybe it’s time to talk.
Buon Appetito!

Buon Appetito!

Eat that Frog ~ I know sounds dreadful but bear with me!

Eat That Frog is a metaphor that first came to my attention via one of the experts in time management, Mr Brian Tracy.

Essentially it’s about getting that ‘thing’ done.

You know the ‘thing’ ~ that ‘thing’ you keep putting off.



There’s an old saying that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that it’s probably the worst thing you’ll do all day.

Essentially we’re talking about tackling the most challenging task of your day.

The one thing you are most likely to put off, but also probably the one thing that will have the greatest positive impact on your day, your week, your life!

We have to face facts.

There just isn’t enough time to get everything done on our ‘To Do’ list.

There never will be.

In fact you’ll find successful people don’t try to do everything.

What they do is learn to focus on the most important tasks and make sure they get done.

Here’s a short video which gets this message over perfectly.



In his book ‘Eat That Frog! Brian Tracy cuts to the core of what is vital to effective personal time management.




Eat that Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time details 21 practical and doable steps that will help you stop procrastination and get more of the important tasks done . . . and done today!

Here’s the first 10 steps for you . . .

  1. Set the Table (Brain quotes Napoleon Hill “There is one quality that one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants and a burning desire to achieve it.”)
  2. Plan Every Day in Advance (quoting Alan Lakein “Planning is bringing the future into the present so you can do something about it now.”)
  3. Apply the 80/20 Rule to Everything (in the words of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe “We always have time enough, if we will but use it right.”)
  4. Consider the Consequences (“Every man has become great, every successful man has succeeded, in proportion as he has confined his powers to one particular channel.” ~ Orison Swett Marden)  
  5. Practice the ABCDE Method Continually (“The first law of success is the concentration, to bend all the energies to one point, and to go directly to that point, looking neither to the right or to the left.” ~ William Mathews) 
  6. Focus on Key Results Areas (quoting Norman Vincent Peale “When every physical and mental resource is focused, ones power to solve a problem multiples tremendously.”) 
  7. Obey the Law of Forced Efficiency (Komar ~ “Concentration, it its truest, unadulterated form, means the ability to focus the mind on one single solitary thing.”)
  8. Prepare Thoroughly Before You Begin (quoting James T McKay “No matter what the level of your ability, you have more potential than you can ever develop in a lifetime.”) 
  9. Do Your Homework (as said by Og Mandino “The only certain means of success is to render more and better service than is expected of you, no matter what your task may be.”)
  10. Leverage Your Special Talents (Do your work.  Not just your work and no more, but a little more for the lavishing’s sake – that little more that is worth all the rest.” ~ Dean Briggs)

For my take on time and some top time management tips request a copy of my free eBook

‘The One Big Mistake People Unwittingly Make When It Comes To Time Management and How To Avoid It’.

Don’t worry, I’ve thought about you really not having enough time to read a War & Peace sized book on this subject so I’ve made this eBook a really quick read for you.

Reading time = one large cappuccino (other beverages are of course available so take your pick!)

Blank softcover book template on white.

Could this simple gadget help you go further, faster?

Could this simple gadget help you go further, faster?

Have you come across The Pomodoro Technique before?

If not read on . . .

Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s.

The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals.

Traditionally 25 minutes in length separated by short breaks.

The intervals are called pomodoros.

The Pomodoro Technique is named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo used as a university student.

There are six stages in the technique:

  1. Decide on the task to be done.
  2. Set the Pomodoro timer to n minutes (traditionally n = 25).
  3. Work on the task until the timer rings. If a distraction pops in to your head, write it down, but immediately get back on task.
  4. After the timer rings put a checkmark on a piece of paper
  5. If you have fewer than four checkmarks take a short break (3-5 minutes) then go back to

step 1.

  1. Else (i.e. after four pomodoros) take a longer break (15-30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero then go to step 1.

The stages of planning, tracking, recording, processing and visualizing are fundamental to the technique.  In the planning phase tasks are prioritised by recording them in a “To Do Today” list.  This enables users to estimate the effort tasks require.  As pomodoros are completed they are recorded adding to a sense of accomplishment and providing raw data for subsequent self-observation and improvement.

The stages of planning, tracking, recording, processing and visualizing are fundamental to the technique.  In the planning phase tasks are prioritized by recording them in a “To Do Today” list.

This enables users to estimate the effort tasks require.  As pomodoros are completed they are recorded adding to a sense of accomplishment and providing raw data for subsequent self-observation and improvement.

For the purpose of the technique, a pomodoro is the interval of time spent working. After task completion any time remaining in the Pomodoro is devoted to overlearning.  The theory behind overlearning is that practicing newly acquired skills beyond the point of initial mastery leads to automaticity.  Automaticity is the ability to do things without occupying the mind with the low level details required, allowing it to become an automatic response pattern or habit.


Why a mechanical timer?

I use this one and you will find many other shapes and sizes available.

Star Timer

The creator and proponents of this technique encourage a low-tech approach, using a mechanical timer, paper and pencil.  The physical act of winding the timer confirms the user’s determination to start the task; ticking externalises desire to complete the task; ringing announces a break.  Flow and focus become associated with these physical stimuli.

Workplace time management a real challenge.  Emails, texts, phone calls and even snack breaks prevent us from focussing on – and effectively executing – a single task at a time.  For decades countless people have used the Pomodoro technique to improve work and project productivity.

You can of course set time segments that fit your workflow, reduce distractions and share your productivity timer with your teammates or colleagues to complete tasks more efficiently.


The philosophy behind this aims to provide you with maximum focus and creative freshness thereby allowing you to complete projects faster with less mental fatigue.

Frequent breaks will keep your mind fresh and focussed.  The system is easy to use and you will see results quickly.  You will probably begin to notice a difference in your work (or study) within a day or two.  True mastery of the technique takes from seven to twenty days of contact use.


If you have a large and varied to do list using the Pomodoro Technique can help you crank your way through projects faster by forcing you to adhere to strict timing.  Watching the timer wind down can spur you to wrap up your current task more quickly, and spreading a task over two or three pomodoros can keep you from getting frustrated.  The constant timing of your activities makes you more accountable for your tasks and minimizes the time you spend procrastinating. You’ll grow to ‘respect the tomato’ and that can help you to better handle your workload.


Buried in email? Here’s another use for your timer

Star Timer

Let’s assume this is a daily tasks for which you allow half an hour

  1. Set your timer for 20 minutes.
  2. Begin dealing with your email
  3. After 20 minutes your timer will ring. Take stock.  Where have you got to?

Chances are you will have responded to some emails you weren’t expecting.  You’ve maybe followed a link or two and ended up somewhere you didn’t expect to go (I’m sure we’ve all done this at some time!)

  1. Set the timer for the remaining 10 minutes and complete what you set out to do.

This process will highlight how long 20 minutes is, how long 10 minutes is and therefore how long 30 minutes is.  If you regularly schedule 30 minutes for this task you will become aware if this is a sufficient amount of time.  If it’s not then you need to allocate more time to the task.

Using this method your also become aware of the distractions that take you off task (like following web links).


So there you have it; two uses of a timer.

If you’ve not tried these methods before why not give it a go.

What have you got to loose!

And, if it doesn’t work for you?

Well, you can always use your timer for your boiled eggs or baking!


Do you need some help with your time management?

A Time Audit may be just what you need or a review of your plans, objectives and strategy to meet them.

Maybe it’s time to talk

Deborah Labbate - contact page - time-to-talk2 (2)


Download my free eBook for more Time Management tips. Visit

Business Solutions in a fast paced world tailored to your needs.


Time Audit

Time Audit

Star Timer

Time is often equated with money, and just as we often find ourselves short of cash, we also find ourselves with short of time.

To understand where your time goes, it is important to assess how you actually spend it.

This is where a ‘time audit’ can prove to be invaluable.

A time audit can help you carefully track your time over the course of a week.

This detailed picture of what you’re doing each day can help you determine if you’re spending your time on the tasks and activities you want and need to be doing.

This exercise will give you an indication of where time may be being wasted without you even realising it.

A simple exercise that packs a powerful punch!

It will help you identify

  • patterns in your behaviour
  • distractions
  • interruptions

Contact me for your Time Audit Tracking Chart

Below highlights 4 areas where I frequently see time wasted.

Look at the list and identify areas where you feel you waste most time.

1. Your Inner self

  • Fear of Failure
  • Low self esteem
  • Fear of making the wrong decision
  • Lack of urgency
  • Unable to say No

2. Lack of planning

  • Lack of written goals
  • Quick decisions
  • Taking on too much / making time estimates unrealistically low
  • Failure to break priorities into manageable parts
  • Lack of plan / priorities

3. Lack of self-management 

  • Biting off more than you can chew
  • Lack of delegation (wanting to do everything yourself)
  • Perfectionism
  • Haste or impatience
  • Failure to listen or take notes

4. Lack of control over the work environment

  • Telephone interruptions
  • Drop-in visitors
  • Too much paperwork
  • Too many meetings
  • Confused responsibility and authority

No an exhaustive list, but some very common points.

Think about your own situation and environment.

What are the causes behind wasting time you can see?

I share some more thoughts on Time and 10 tips which you may find useful in my book ‘The One Big Mistake People Unwittingly Make When It Comes To Time Management and HOW To Avoid It’.  You can access your free copy here  by completing the sign up box at the top of my home page or send me a request and I will email you a copy or you can also view here 


If you would like a copy of my Time Audit Tracking Chart contact me and I will send you a copy with my compliments.



Just ask! or You can read more here 

Star Timer



1:1 Time Audit sessions available ~ more details here 

In-house Time Audit and Time Management programmes, training and workshops also available.

Contact me to discuss your individual requirements