June 2017 

Happy summer! Most likely you are looking forward to vacation and being "off the clock" - 'no' to 8 a.m meetings and 'yes' to sleeping in and lingering over breakfast. So you may find the topic of today's edition of InFocus ironic as it deals with the clock and time. 
I often talk with my clients about tracking their spending to get insights into whether they use money in a way that brings them the most satisfaction and joy in life. But given that time is the ultimate non-renewable resource, being intentional about time may need to take priority over being intentional about money.
While the phrase "off the clock" has a wonderfully blissful ring to it, even vacations aren't complete time free-for-alls. On vacations, it is not that there is nothing planned, it's just there's a lot of flexibility, and you're often thinking more in terms of sequence rather than strict timelines. And, the important point, these sequences involve things you want to do, not thing you have to do.
The benefit of paying attention to time and how you use is not just about being able to check things off. It's about building flexibility into your day, week, year, life to allow as much "off the clock" time as you can possibly get.
Dream. Plan. Prosper. 

Chances are you have some sort of list that details what you need to accomplish at work or home. While you have good intentions in keeping a to-do list, it's easy to get frustrated if you get hung up on a certain task, and if the list grows rather than shrinks. 
Instead, try breaking up your day into time slots and devote your attention to a specific activity -- be it a work project, exercising, cooking or sleeping -- and then move on. You'll keep your day moving and your mind from getting stuck. Make sure you block off your most optimal time of the day for something that's truly important, which brings us to ...
Research shows we maximize our performance in 4-5 hour chunks. When do you feel most energized and focused during the day? Figure out your best time, block it off, and then channel your creativity and effort on whatever is your most pressing project. Tim Maurer , director of personal finance for the BAM ALLIANCE, did just that while he was writing the book "Simple Money."
"From 10:30 to 2:30 is when I'm most productive," Maurer says. "After those four hours, I found I was no longer producing the level of quality I wanted. For my writing routine, I'd start with a particular pattern: I'd check a couple of emails; do a little bit of reading, meditating; go to the gym; have a second round of breakfast, some really strong coffee. Then, it was four hours of just pounding away. ... I would tell this to anyone: Find your best working time, 5 a.m. or whenever, block it off and go do your best work."
You can then fill the rest of your workday with duties such as emails, calls and meetings.
You may think you can multitask. You can't, at least not very well. Focus on one task at a time, then move on to the next one. That can be difficult, but it's essential if you want to do your best.
Social psychologist Ron Friedman, a behavior-change expert who specializes in motivation, says, "Today, the magnitude of information rushing toward us from every direction has surpassed our capacity for consumption. No matter how much time and energy you have at your disposal, you can't be productive without mastering the art of attention management."
It can also be beneficial to implement your own digital policy. Set aside some time when you put your phone down and don't text or check email. How long and how often you can do a digital detox will vary -- it can be difficult for parents with young children and certain professionals to completely go off the grid for very long. But even finding a little time to disconnect can ultimately allow you to recharge. 
We spend a good part of our day communicating with someone. Some of that communication comes across as clear and compelling. Much of the messaging, however, can be muddled and mixed. The latter particularly crops up when dealing with email at work. Depending on your responsibilities, you can become tied to your inbox as you try and keep up with a flurry of high-priority requests, forwarded messages and reply-all responses. 
Tim Maurer looks at the 10 email commandments that are getting broken each day, and how you can make sure you aren't contributing to the e-madness. 

Harvard Business Review  stated in a recent article: "In the modern economy, there are few skills more important than the ability to learn. Around the globe, learning is highly predictive of future earnings. Companies may pay for training or reimburse educational courses, but the skill of gaining skills is rarely taught."
This ability can be elusive, but learning new things doesn't have to be difficult. The HBR article offers suggestions for various self-explaining techniques to aid your learning process and, ultimately, expand your boundaries. Where to start? Talk to yourself  (out loud!).
Follow us on social media