Time Management - 9 Tips for When Others' Crises Steal Your Time

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Time management requires that you make the time choices for your day. What happens when strong personalities place demands on you? Your colleagues may regularly confront you with 'surprise' deadlines or crises. If you are not careful, they can easily reroute your plans for your time. The challenge is to withstand others' crises without endangering your job and your professional relationships. The following nine tips will help you stay on track, strengthen your relationships and save time:

Crisis Tip One: Refuse to be swept along by others' urgency. Urgency is a key weapon of strong personalities. Don't make their crisis your crisis. By taking time to carefully consider your response, you demonstrate that you retain full responsibility for yourself.

Crisis Tip Two: Observe and Evaluate for yourself. Examine your level of responsibility for the problem, and your stake in the outcome. With this overview, you can decide how much time to devote - if any - to solving their problem!

Crisis Tip Three: Lower the drama of the moment. You defuse time urgency by summarizing the situation calmly, in accurate but less highly charged terms.

Crisis Tip Four: Also, affirm that you understand them. When others feel heard, they instinctively relax and take more time to listen to your ideas.

Crisis Tip Five: Broaden the perspective. Strategizing from multiple vantage points reduces the tunnel vision that urgency promotes. Identify areas of consensus. You can empathize while retaining a balanced view.

Crisis Tip Six: Offer the choices that align with your time frame. Succeed through identifying everyone's baseline needs and negotiating accordingly. Clearly state your parameters, so that your own projects remain on schedule.

Crisis Tip Seven: Allow others their responses. This may be the hardest part for you. Cultivate calmness so you can accept others' dissatisfaction without defensiveness. This demonstrates you respect their right to their feelings and that your time priorities don't require their approval.

Crisis Tip Eight: Remain focused on your areas of control. Take the time to clarify your end of relationships. Specify what you feel comfortable doing, and the amount of time you are willing to spend doing it. By being clear, you encourage open communication that can lead to genuine progress.

Crisis Tip Nine: As you change your part, prepare yourself for other aspects of interactions to shift. Your relationships are often unspoken contracts. For example, as you become less available at the last-minute, others may be called upon to help. Or you may be asked to coordinate schedules and priorities more closely with colleagues. This might shake up your image of yourself as indispensable, or your image of others as 'impossible' .

As perceptions change, new possibilities arise. Ultimately, with skillful negotiating, you benefit from heightened cooperation and enjoy more productive, crisis-free time. What is your next step to find more time?

About the Author:

Paula Eder, Ph.D., The Time Finder, has guided individuals and organizations to effectively align values with their time choices for 35+ years. For free weekly time tips & an award-winning monthly Ezine, visit http://www.findingtime.net/ezine.html

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