Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Watching Your Time

I’m very time-deprived these days. Many people complain to me about this problem. That’s why I’m so delighted to have Dave Crenshaw today as my guest. He’s the foremost expert in helping you get time, and has helped students worldwide get more time for everything they love most in life.

Beware Time Liabilities
By Dave Crenshaw

Are you surrounded by Time Liabilities? I define a Time Liability as:

a) anything that consumes time unnecessarily or
b) anything that causes you to spend time in activities that are less profitable than your most profitable activity.

If your filing system causes you to spend extra time doing $9 per hour ?clerical work, trying to find that important document you misplaced,? then you have a Time Liability. If your workspace is so uncomfortable ?that you have to spend time at a chiropractor every month to correct? your spine alignment problems, you definitely have a Time Liability!

Over a year ago I was working with a business owner who was in severe? time debt. He was working in the ballpark of 90 to 100 hours per week,? and both his business and family were suffering. We started by ?calculating his per-hour worth. When doing his most profitable ?activities, he was worth $500 an hour or more. Yet we found that he was? spending approximately half of his time, 45 hours or more per week,? performing $25/hour, $10/hr, and even minimum wage type work! Why? A? huge factor was that he was surrounded by Time Liabilities.

At one point during our training he needed to punch holes in some paper? for a three ring binder. Yet when he went to punch the paper, his paper ?puncher clearly wasn’t up for the job. He had bought a cheap model that? had was basically broken after a month of use. I watched as this? business owner kept turning his stack of papers around twice to punch.? Most often he kept misaligning the punch and ruining the stack.

Next, he stood up from his desk, walked out of his office, marched down ?the hall to someone else’s office, searched for their high-quality? paper puncher, punched the holes in his stack, came back to the office? and finally inserted them in the planner. While he went through this? long process, I timed him without him knowing. It took about 6 minutes.

I ?asked the question, “How many times per week do you repeat that ?activity of having to use someone else’s hole puncher?” He replied, “I ?don’t know. Maybe 3 or 4.” I responded, “So, you’re losing more than ?an hour per month simply because you didn’t spend the extra $20 to get ?a quality 3 hole puncher?” His response, “I didn’t think of it like ?that at the time!” His cheap 3-hole puncher was potentially costing him ?nearly $500 per month…and that was just one Time Liability holding him? back!

How much are your time liabilities costing you? at work? If you know what you are worth per hour, you can quickly? estimate the dollar-per hour impact of lost time. Any resource or? system or behaviors at work that keeps you away from your profitable ?activities is a Time Liability. Replace Time liabilities with Time ?Assets. The sooner you replace them, the sooner your profitability will? increase.

Are you surrounded by time liabilities? Consider the following questions:

* Are? the tools of your trade (computer, pens, stapler, etc) all within hand’s ?reach? (If you often have to get up from you chair to pull out the ?scissors you use often, then you have a time liability.)

* Do ?you have the tools you need or is something missing? (Have you been ?putting off going to the office supply or computer store?)

* Do ?they all work properly? (If you have to squint or lean forward to view? your computer screen, then it is likely a time liability…either that or? your glasses!)

* Are your tools of the? best working quality? (Remember the story of the three-hole puncher. Invest more to get better results and greater longevity from the “tools? of your trade”.)

By trading your Time Liabilities ?for Time Assets, you will save time, be more productive, and reduce ?stress in the long run.


Dave Crenshaw has appeared in TIME magazine, on XM and Sirius Radio, MSN Money, and been interviewed in radio and TV stations across North America. His book, The Myth of Multitasking: How ‘Doing It All’ Gets Nothing Done has been translated into six languages and is a time management best seller. He is the foremost expert in helping you get time, and has helped students worldwide get more time for everything they love most in life.

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Law of Attraction in Action: Smiling

This is post 39 in my series on the Law of Attraction in Action. You CAN use your power to attract all that you need. I do it every day! Read the posts in this series to see how.

I don’t think that people smile enough. I always find it odd when people comment about how I’m smiling most of the time, like it’s unusual. I smiled a lot as a kid because I was very happy growing up. Loving parents, lots of friends, caring neighbors, doing well in school all contributed to my contentment. I smiled so much that teachers complained to my mom that it made them nervous!

Then I became an adult, and a DoorMat, and the smiling stopped.

Living for everyone but me gave me little to smile about. I passed time instead of living. Back then, happiness meant not feeling hurt by someone who let me down or missing things I wanted to do because I helped someone with their needs instead. Living to avoid pain or in fear of being alone if you don’t please everything doesn’t bring happiness, hence few smiles.

Not smiling doesn’t attract smiling people and reasons to smile.

When I began my journey out of DoorMatville, I remembered how to smile. The more I did for me, the more I smiled. Eventually I found the happy girl I used to be and became a deliriously happy woman. The more I loved me, the happier I became and the more I smiled. Now I wake up smiling every day. I also learned the benefits of sharing my smiles with others.

Smiling attracts more smiles and rewards that can make you smile more.

People in stores I go to regularly or other people I don’t know well began to call me Little Star or other names indicating they saw my smile as twinkling and liked it. Living in NYC, I tend to be a bit insular when I walk around, and I walk a lot. I occasionally get annoyed by men making comments about my body or just trying to talk me up when I don’t want the attention. So I began to walk with blinders on and ignore any talking at me. One day I was speed walking across town and passed a guy sitting on a stoop who said something to me. I ignored him. He quickly told me to smile, because he thought it would be a lovely one.

I slowed up, turned around, and smiled. He smiled brightly back. It warmed the rest of my day.

Now I try to smile more when I’m in public places. I passed an older lady using a walker and smiled at her. The smile she gave me back expressed gratitude and joy. I was on the subway this week when a grungy looking man came on and announced he was hungry and could anyone spare a few cents. As I walked to the door at my station, I gave him a dollar. He muttered thanks. Then I looked him straight in the eye and smiled.

I can still feel his joy radiating. He gave me a huge happy smile. He got a dollar but I got a priceless gift. It put me into a great mood for that whole day.

Now I smile even more. When I do, I get more smiles back. They’re contagious. And the Law of Attraction attracts more. I didn’t see many smiles in my unsmiling DoorMat days. Now they’re all around me!

See all the Law of Attraction in Action Series..

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Find Your Mountain

I always encourage taking baby steps. Goals can seem daunting otherwise, which can make you give up before you get started. Pursuing most dreams intimidated me back in my active DoorMat days. I’d want something, think about how hard it would be and move on.

I learned a lot about the POWER of taking baby steps when I climbed my first mountain.
I’ve always loved hiking but don’t get much opportunity to do it living in NYC. I had decent stamina but had never done an almost straight up steep climb. I was in a national park out west. My friend, who climbed regularly, told me I could do it. As I looked at the switchback trail that zigzagged across the steep mountain, I had my doubts. I’m used to hikes that go up and down, more like a rolling climb than straight up. Intimidation began to overwhelm me, along with what ifs—what if I disappointed my friend by stopping near the bottom?? What if I couldn’t get down because I was too tired??

But I wanted to climb that mountain very much and reminded myself of the importance of taking baby steps.

A mountain can’t be climbed without taking the first step. Then you can take the second one. Looking up seemed daunting, but each step took me closer. That day when I climbed my first mountain, going even halfway up seemed impossible. But each step led to another. Reaching each ridge motivated me to take more steps. I stopped looking up to the top and kept my eyes glued to the step in front of me. Looking up made it seem too far and too hard. Looking just ahead kept me focused.

Confucius said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Whether it’s climbing a mountain or achieving a goal, take the first step! Then another. Do small things differently or do one thing that’s necessary to get further. It may feel wobbly but you can learn to find your balance. I stretched a lot to keep my body in good shape for the climb. Take practice steps to give you the strength to keep going. When I was halfway up the mountain, I stood there, looking out at the panoramic view around me. That made me want to go higher and see more!

Taking baby steps motivates taking more!

When I consciously take each step to try something new or to overcome a fear I can still get scared. But, exhilaration takes over as I got small results. If one thing doesn’t work, I try again. Each step increases empowerment. Even stopping progress without backsliding is a power move. Sometimes when I’m controlling my eating and go to a party, I pig out. But, I get right back to healthy eating and feel revved if I don’t gain weight or I can quickly lose the pounds from overindulging. That’s success too!

When there are setbacks, how you handle them determines whether you progress or quit. When I got tired climbing, instead of giving up on getting to the top, I stopped and took a break. Then I’d look down and realize how high I’d climbed. That motivated to take more steps!

Fight excuses to postpone action and prompt yourself to continue to take baby steps.

Climbing that first mountain taught me how far baby steps could take me. When I succeed at one step, I feed on the satisfaction of progress. Like building something, you need a foundation. Baby steps create one for a happier self. I hold onto the experience of climbing that mountain in my heart. When something seems hard, I remind myself that if I could climb a mountain, I can achieve other things with baby steps.

Find your own mountain—any accomplishment that seemed too hard, or impossible, until you took the first steps.

Climbing a mountain can be real like it was for me, or an analogy for overcoming obstacles. Conquering a fear or limitation or belief that something can’t be done or someone saying that you can’t do something shows what you can do. Whatever it is, that’s the mountain you climbed. The good feelings can motivate you in the future. When I did my first firewalk, the leader had us write on an index card, “I walked on fire and learned I can do anything I choose.”

Successes show you how much you’re capable of. Think about something that represents your own mountain—a fear you overcame, a task that took time but you persevered to figure out, an adventure you never thought you could do but did, a limitation you conquered, something hard that you learned to do.

Write on an index card or paper, “I_________, I can do anything I choose!” Put it somewhere prominent. Mine is still on my bedroom mirror so I can see it every day.

Empower yourself by finding your own mountain experience that you used baby steps to conquer. Read that paper over and over when you get scared or want to back out. Hold onto the good feelings you had when you baby stepped to conquer your mountain. You really can do anything you CHOOSE. It begins with that first baby step.

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She Was Late and I Left!

I was just thinking about my trip upstate to do an event this weekend and felt a little pang of guilt over something I did that seemed small compared to the rest of my activities that lovely day. Liz, a woman I know lives near the location of my talk. When I told her I’d be coming up there, we made plans to have lunch before my talk. My talk was at 2 PM. I told her I’d get there close to noon and would call when I was at the exit so she could head out to meet me.

I called when I was about 5 miles from the exit to give her some warning. Liz suggested a nice restaurant. I asked if I should meet her in the shopping center by my event or was there somewhere more convenient. She directed me to a spot along the road into town with some dirt parking. She said she’d be there in 10 minutes, adding she’d just had a shower and had to get ready. Hmm, I said I’d be there around noon and she wasn’t ready. She assured me it wouldn’t take long when I said I didn’t have a lot to time.

But it did! But the time we hung up, I was at the exit and the place to meet at was right there. It was a parking area with rocks and mud. I was dying to get out of the car after my long ride but it was unappealing. I sat there for 20 minutes, on the side of the road, surrounded by overgrown weeds, big puddles and dirt. I didn’t get up early and allow time to drive up to have a relaxing lunch to sit in this ugly place, bored. I tried to call Liz at home but no answer. Her cell phone wasn’t on.

So I did what I teach other Nice Girls on Top to do—I left, drove to the shopping center and went to a restaurant solo. I felt empowered!

Liz called twenty minutes later. She yelled at me. “Where are you? I was there! At 12:20.” But she wasn’t since I was there past 12:30. I told her she should have been ready and I couldn’t reach her by phone. I didn’t want to waste more time in that awful spot. She denied being so late and scolded me for not leaving her a message at home since she’d forgotten to bring my cell number with her. I told her, calmly, that none of it was my fault and refused to apologize for any of it.

Then I said I had to hang up as I wanted to enjoy my lunch. She blustered but said goodbye.

Ten minutes later Liz called back. She’d calmed down, must have accepted she was wrong, and asked if she could join me for lunch. I nicely agreed and she came over. This time she apologized, acknowledged she tends to be late for everything and that she shouldn’t have told me to meet her in that desolate spot. I agreed with her but said no more and was friendly. There was no point in being mad or scolding her. She knew.

Never once did I say I was sorry since I wasn’t!

The rest of our time together was pleasant. My nice demeanor seemed to feed her guilt. She hung around when I did my event and occasionally brought up what she did with apologies. Yelling at someone who does something wrong puts them on the defensive. Annoyance at your tone can supercede them from taking responsibility for what they did wrong. It’s important to keep your cool when addressing inappropriate behavior so your point gets across without emotion.

Addressing the issue in a calm, amicable way gives the person who did wrong the most guilt and the most chance for them to take more responsibility for their behavior. Scolding makes them turn on you.

I found it funny when I felt a little guilt about leaving on Saturday. But it passed very fast. A little of my old DoorMat tendencies came out but I saw and conquered them! It’s important not to hurt others but even more important not to hurt yourself. I gave Liz over 20 minutes. I had no reason to feel guilty. So the feeling passed quickly! I didn’t go up there for her and I was entitled to have the relaxing lunch I came for.

Many of us were brought up thinking that it’s polite to wait for people who keep us waiting. It’s not. They’re the rude ones!

Now I understand it’s my choice to wait or do what I have to do and leave the person who’s late in the dust. I understand that things happen that are beyond someone’s control. But Liz just wasn’t ready when I said I’d be there. Not my problem and I wasn’t waiting longer. I took responsibility for agreeing to meet her in that spot instead of going directly to the restaurant. But I had to leave when I realized she wasn’t respecting my limited time.

Don’t feel obligated to buy into other people’s bad habits. If waiting doesn’t inconvenience you too much, wait a while. But we don’t have to wait indefinitely for someone who doesn’t call and does what they please. It’s your time so why waste it?? When you deal with people’s lateness, they often learn. Otherwise, it’s your choice to make plans with them.

I have NO regrets for leaving, except that I didn’t leave sooner. ?

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