Hello, everyone. Welcome to Managing the Stress of Time and Competing Priorities. This is the final topic and the Deer Oaks 2022 stress management webinar series. I'm Greg Brannan from Deer Oaks, great to be with you today. Before we get started folks, I just want to make sure our technology is working for us.

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I also want to mention that this is the fourth and final topic in the Deer Oaks 2022 stress management webinar series. And we had three previous presentations. Back in January, we began the year with how to become more resilient during challenging times. In April, we talked about managing the stress of relationships. In July, we presented finding balance in a fast paced world. And today, we're, of course, talking about managing the stress of time and competing priorities.

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And just to also let you, we will be having this series again in 2023. We'll be doing the 2023 stress management webinar series. Again, it'll be a quarterly series. So I hope to hope to have you join us for those sessions here next year. Let's go ahead and get started folks.

All right, I've often considered time as the great equalizer. Every single human being on the planet has the same 24 hours a day, which divides down into 1,440 minutes and 86,400 seconds every day, it's all we have to work with. So it doesn't really matter what your job title is, how much money you have in the bank, what kind of car you drive, what your station is in life, it doesn't matter because every single one of us has the same exact 86400 seconds a day, that same 24 hours a day to work with, it's all we have.

And tonight when we get to 11:59 PM, this day will be over. And you can never come back and relive it. So any amount of today's time, this day, October 24, 2022, whatever time that we don't use to spend with the people we care about, or to do the things that we prioritize either personally or professionally, or in any other way to focus that time in ways that are meaningful to us, we can't get this time back.

And I've been in the workforce now about 40 years, and as I've gotten older, I've truly begun to really appreciate my time much more than I did when I was younger. When I was younger, I think I had the attitude oftentimes that I had a forever in front of me. And so I wasn't as thoughtful about how I spent each individual day or each individual hour.

But I'll tell you what, nowadays, I really want to make my time count. I'm much more focused on quality than quantity. And so I just want to, as a jumping off place, sensitize us to the fact that time is a gift and we want to use it. Use it in the best way that we can.

Now, of course, there is time related stress that can make-- that can create higher levels of pressure on our lives. Of course, at work we have deadlines, sometimes our workload is beyond what we can actually accomplish in an eight hour workday. Sometimes we're overwhelmed, sometimes we're in a hurry.

So of course, professionally, time can really put pressure on us. And also in our home lives, we have all of the-- we have relationships we want to pay attention to, we have hobbies that we want to take part in, leisure activities that we're interested in doing, home responsibilities tasks and projects that we have to do to keep our home lives going, errands that we have to run, bills we have to pay, those who have children or grandchildren, children to take here and there and to enjoy.

And so I just want us to be thinking about time, and it's a precious quantity. And if we focus it in a way that that's meaningful for us, if we take it seriously and if we're intentional about making sure we make the most of our days, when you get to the end of the day, you feel satisfied. When you go to bed at night, you feel like, wow, that was a good day, I really enjoyed that day.

But for many of us, we get to the end of some days and we feel like the day was a blur. We had so much going on and we feel like we just ran out of hours in the day, we didn't get to-- we didn't get it-- we weren't as productive as we would have wanted to be, we didn't spend our time with the people or in the activities that we ideally would have wanted to spend it, and we can end up feeling frustrated, like the day wasn't as effective as it could have been.

And so that's why I'm really excited to talk to you about this today. Because the next piece I want us to be thinking about is if we're not managing our time well, and if we're not planning our days well and managing our time well, we can really end up feeling more often than not rushed and in a hurry.

And Henry David Thoreau, the 19th century author that many of us are most of us probably remembered Thoreau from English class or literature classes back in the day, he had this famous quote that most people live their lives in quiet desperation. And I think that's very-- that's a great quote to talk about the importance of making our time count, making our days matter.

Because think about this, if you're not planning your days well, if you're not managing your time well and you're always in a hurry, and you're always running from here to there and from there to here, but we're not getting we're not spending our time in ways that are meaningful to us, we're not spending time with the people that are most important to us.

And again, if you go through your days and there's a lot of activity, but you're just not-- just not focused on those things that are most important to you and on those people that are most-- that you value the most, you can feel like you're on a treadmill. And I know all of you know that feeling.

Where you get up every day and you have a really, really busy day, and you're in a hurry all day long and you're rushing through the day to get as much done as you can. And you get to the end of the day and you just don't feel accomplished and you just don't feel like you spent your time the way you would have rather spent it, that can be a frustrating way to feel.

And I honestly-- I've probably felt that way more than half of the time in my life, especially my adult life. And I learned some things about 20 years ago that I've been implementing ever since that I want to share with you today about being more effective and planning my time and managing my time that has helped me reduce my stress level, spend more time in areas that are most important to me, and have a better pace of life so I'm not feeling quite so rushed and stressed day to day that I want to share with you today.

All right, so let's drill down a little deeper into the impact of time related pressure. So this to me is the motivator to do a better job of planning our days and managing our time, if you feel like you're in a hurry more often than not. So if you feel like you're rushed more often than not, it creates, above and beyond, stress and pressure on our lives.

Now, everyone is going to have days where you're going to be rushed, I mean that's part of life. We're all going to have periods of life that are busier than other periods. Days when we're on deadline, weeks where we have too much on our plate and not enough time to get everything done, that's normal for all of us.

But if we're not managing our lives well, if we're not managing our days and our time well on a regular basis, that can keep us perpetually in this sense of being rushed and overwhelmed, which keeps our stress level really at a much higher level than it needs to be.

And again, I recognize that there are going to be periods, they're going to be hours, they're going to be days when you're going to feel rushed or feel overwhelmed. But if that's the way your life feels-- if that's your experience more often than not, please pay close attention to what we're going to talk about next because that was me.

I got to tell you, the first 20 years of my professional career-- As I mentioned, I've been in the workplace now 40 years. The first half of my career, my working life, I really was more often than not in a hurry. My time management process was more-- it was more about quantity than quality.

I would get up every day and with the goal of getting as much done as I possibly could. And I would-- my daily plans were really over commitments, I was trying to get 15 or 20 or 25 things off my to do list done per day, thinking that was what life was all about, just get as much done as possible. And I wasn't prioritizing my time very well, so I sometimes wasn't spending my time.

I was a flurry of activity but I wasn't spending my time in a focused way in areas or with people that are most-- that were most important to me. And I really was-- the picture of the gentleman running around like a chicken with his head cut off in the lower right hand corner of your screen, that was me. That was me the first half of my professional career.

And my stress level stayed relatively high day in, day out because I wasn't managing my life, my days, and my time very well. And when you get to that place, I mean, not only will you not enjoy your days as much, but you won't be as productive, you won't enjoy your interactions with people during that time as much, and it can also have-- as we all know, stress can have a negative impact on our health.

I was not a particularly healthy person, I got sick a lot, and I really needed to make some changes. And so one of the things I recognized, I went to an incredible time management seminar a little over 20 years ago. It was put on by Zig Ziglar, the motivational speaker and teacher, some of you might remember him as he passed away a few years ago. Really wonderful guy with a lot of wisdom, he really was a time management expert.

And what Zig was really talking about in that seminar that was-- it was a wake up call for me was, he said, if you are running around-- rushed more often than not, he says, you're allowing yourself to stay at a high level of stress and pressure or a higher level of stress and pressure then you need to, you really are. If you did a better job of managing your life and planning your days and managing your time.

And he said, it also compromises the quality of your relationship. Think about this, if you're being-- if you're rushed during a day or if you're overwhelmed or if you're in a hurry and someone needs to speak to you, a loved one at home, your boss at work, a client that you're trying to provide services for, you may have a hard time slowing down and being present with that person and being attentive to that person because you're feeling so rushed.

You're feeling in a hurry to get out-- get through this conversation and rush through it and get on to the next thing on your to do list. That was me. I was not enjoying my days folks, I really wasn't. I was surviving my days instead of living my days. And so when I heard Zig talking about that, I thought, that's me.

And then it also had a negative impact on my productivity. Is that I was-- because I was in such a hurry and I was overcommitting trying to get too many things done in a day, I sometimes wouldn't do high quality work on each of those items, I would do the minimum to get on to the next thing.

And I would make more mistakes because I was in a hurry. And so I just wasn't doing my best work. And so my stress level was higher than it needed to be, my relationships were being compromised by being constantly overwhelmed and in a hurry, and I wasn't doing my best work productivity wise.

And so it's interesting. So when Zig started talking about I've got a solution for you, I mean, I sat for it in my seat and I thought, I got to hear this because he was describing my life. And Zig basically said that most people-- and obviously, he was using most in a general term, I think of most as 51% or more.

Most people, he said, overcommit on their daily plan. And he was talking about the way to set goals effectively, effective goal setting a, lot of us probably had some background in that. The goal should be realistic, they should be achievable.

He said, but if you're trying to do 20 things in a day, if you have your to do list in front of you and that's what you're using to guide you through the day, he said, you're setting yourself up to be in a hurry because it's really difficult for anyone to ever get through things in a day. You're setting yourself up to be overwhelmed, again, because your to do list is too long, and you're potentially compromising your ability to do quality work, one thing at a time.

And so he said, you need to let go of that approach that volume approach, that Let me just get as many things done as I can today. And he said, you've got to take a step back and do a better job of planning your days. He says, focus more on a smaller, more achievable list. And he called it a half to list instead of a to do list.

So his recommendation was either the night before or the morning of each day, take your to do list out and instead of trying to get too many things done on it, realistically go through your to do list and choose-- he recommended, four to six significant tasks or meetings you need to do that day or that next day.

And he called it his half to list. He said, that way, you're prioritizing the most important things, you have a smaller, more achievable list. Now, he wasn't talking about returning emails, we all return dozens of emails a day or read or return dozens of emails a day. He wasn't talking about processing correspondence.

He was talking about the significant things you do in the day-- a 20 minute task you have to complete, a half an hour part of a project that you need to move forward, an important 15 minute conversation you have to have with a colleague, he was talking about those things. He says, pick four to six things every day that you prioritize that really need to happen, and focus on that smaller, more achievable list.

Folks, that was a life changer for me, it was a game changer, it really was. I went from feeling perpetually rushed and going through every day feeling overwhelmed, because I was trying to get 20 things done in a day, I was living by my to do list, I was really living that quantity approach, get as much done as possible.

Three or four days a week on average, I was working through lunch because I'd get to lunch time and think, I don't have time to leave here, I've got to just work at my desk and I'll grab a sandwich out of the vending machine and/or a bag of chips and a coke, and I'll just keep working.

I had convinced myself, over the first half of my career, that the only way I could get everything done was to work through lunch. And then the second part was I was working late. And then the third part, I was working on the weekends to catch up. Folks, my life was out of balance. And it was because I wasn't planning my days well, I wasn't managing my time well.

And once I learned this system, he said, basically, what you need to do is take a step back, take your to do list out every day, don't overcommit. He says, pick four to six things that you prioritize that day and focus on that shorter, that smaller, more achievable list.

What that allowed me to do, folks, was slow down a little bit, pace myself throughout the day. And then when I would get to lunch, I'd think, hey, I can take a lunch, I'm making good progress. I had five things on my list and I've already got three done this morning, so I have time to take a lunch.

Let me get out of the building and go take a walk, it's a nice day and go out and get some lunch. And it really changed the pace of my life and the rhythm with which I worked every day, and it was amazing. It helped me to slow down, it helped me to not feel so overwhelmed.

And when I would get to the end of the day, I would feel accomplished. I got to the place where 90% of the time, I was getting my four to six things done a day. Now, I'm not rigid about it, I mean, if I had seven things instead of six to put on my list, I'd do seven.

But the point is, I bought into Zig's philosophy that if you have a more realistic plan for your day and a more manageable number of tasks, you won't feel as rushed throughout that day, which reduces your stress level, you can slow down and have good conversations with people throughout the day because you're not constantly thinking about what you have to get to next, and you can take your lunch breaks and leave work at a reasonable time.

Another problem I had when I wasn't working the system and I was trying to-- I was overcommitting trying to do 20 things in a day, I'd get to 5:30 in the afternoon and think, let me just do one more thing because I haven't got enough done today, and I would end up coming home late for dinner, and that was causing a problem back in those days with my wife and daughter. Because I was making them wait for dinner half the time.

And it really wasn't fair. And again, it was because I wasn't managing my day and planning my time well enough. And so once I did a better job of slowing down, prioritizing those four to six things every day, and not feeling as rushed, taking my lunch breaks, which helped me to rest and recharge my batteries so I had more energy in the afternoons, and then I would make a commitment to leaving every day at 5:30 so I could get home on time, now my wife was fine.

Once I got this under control, she was fine in me working late once in a while if I had a true deadline. But I had to stop the rhythm of doing that. That was my habit, I was coming home late for dinner two to three times a week. And I was working extra time on the weekend every weekend. And I was working through lunch four or five times a week. I mean, my life was really out of balance.

And the majority of the reason that was is I just wasn't managing my days, I wasn't planning my days and managing my time well. Once I got that fixed with the system again, I went into days feeling not as stressed, not as pressured, not as overwhelmed because I had a smaller achievable list of four to six things, I would feel more accomplished, I'd feel like I'm making enough progress, I can take my lunch break, which always helps me to rest and recharge my batteries, it gives me more energy in the afternoon, it helps me enjoy my days more.

And I was able to leave work on time 90% of the time, which really helped improve my home-- the stress in my home around that area. So folks, I wanted to share that with you because it was a total game changer for me, and I know many of you are doing something similar.

And you don't have to follow this system that I'm sharing-- that I learned from Zig Ziglar to a T, but think about just the concept of do a better job of planning your days, having a more realistic work plan for the day. And when you do that day in, day out, prioritize what you're working on, you're going to enjoy your time more, you're going to have better conversations throughout the day, you'll have less stress, and at the end of the day, you'll feel more accomplished.

All right, next thing is I want to talk about is the-- oh, no, I'm sorry, I want to add one more thing from a previous slide. Now, it's also important when you're going through your to do list everyday choosing those priority items you're going to put on your half to list-- the four to six things on your half to list, make sure you don't forget the things that are most important to you in your personal life.

This was the reason I was working through lunch every day and/or most days and I was coming home late for dinner half the time. Is I was telling my family that they were my priority and I was telling myself that I wanted to keep my life in balance and be healthy, but my behavior wasn't following my goals, my priorities.

And so I want you to work with me for a moment, take out a blank piece of paper, if you will. And I want you to take just a minute, I'm going to give you a 45 to 60 seconds here in a moment. I want you to rank the high level areas in your life that are most important to you. And so that could be family, career, health, hobbies, friends.

And so make a list of those areas that are most important to you, and try to rank them if you can in the order of their importance to you. Like the family is first, list family first, career second, list career second, and so on and so forth. But folks, go ahead and take-- I'm going to give you about 45 seconds here, I'm going to put you unmute to give you about 45 seconds. Please go ahead and take a blank piece of paper and make that list of those general areas in life that are most important to you.

All right, folks. And now, if there's one area on your list, as you made your list of the general areas in life that are most important to you, if there's one area of your list, like mine was family back then, 20 somewhat years ago when I did this for the first time, circle that one area on your list that's important to you that you're just not spending enough time on right now.

So for me, I had to circle family because I just wasn't spending enough family time, I was so overwhelmed with work. And again, a lot of it was because I'd gotten into a way of working that because I wasn't prioritizing and managing my workload day to day very well, where I was overworking. And when I started making a more achievable plan, I had time to do more of the things that are most important to me. So I circled family.

And then when you do your daily list folks, when you do your half to list, make sure you put any personal items from your priority list that you just worked on with me, make sure you include that on your list. You know what I put on my list every day, and it must have been for a couple of months, leave at 5:30.

I knew back then our dinner time, our family dinnertime 20 years ago was 6:30 PM. And I had a long commute back then back in those days, used to take me 45 to 60 minutes to get home at night because the traffic and how far I lived away from my office back then.

And I would routinely leave 6:00 or 5:45 PM, 10 to 6:00 PM, 5 to 6:00 PM, and invariably run late because I was not planning well. And there would always be one last thing I'd have to do before I could leave the office. And so to fix that, I started to put in my daily plan leave at 5:30 PM. I mean, I had that, was like number six or number on my list every day, leave at 5:30.

And because I did that, because I made that commitment to put that on my priority to do list every day, guess what? I fixed my coming home late from work problem. At 5:30 PM, I walked out the door regardless of how many things I had gotten to done-- gotten done.

Now again, my wife was very reasonable. And once I fixed the problem in general, and she didn't have to deal with the husband coming home late from work a couple of times a week, which is really frustrating obviously for a family, she was very comfortable with me calling home every once in a while and say, honey, I'm on a deadline today, do you mind-- I'm going to be a little bit late and I apologize, she was fine with that.

But I had to fix the lifestyle part of that. And then she was fine, she's reasonable, she was fine with the exception, if I had to come home late every once in a while. But folks, that's how you move the dial, is you make it part of your plan.

And so whatever area of your priority list that you did-- I hope you did that with me today because it's really helpful. Whatever area that you circled from your priority list that you're not spending enough time on now currently, put it into your half to list every day, and that'll help you stay focused on it.

And when it's on your half to list, chances are you'll make sure you focus on it and get it done. One more thing I wanted to share about-- or two more things, I'm sorry, that I wanted to share about planning your time effectively that really were game changers for me.

I read an incredible-- I read some research that most people, not everybody, but most people are more productive before lunch. And so time management experts say, focus on your more important task, your priority tasks, you're more complex tasks before lunch, because that's not true for everybody, but it is true for most people, that you'll be more fresh and be able to think a little bit better and be more productive before lunch.

After lunch, when people are digesting their food and you're getting to 2 o'clock in the afternoon, you're at the bottom of your sleep wake cycle, and we're starting-- our body is starting to downshift, getting ready for our next sleep period that evening. And so-- Now again, some people are very productive at 4:00 in the afternoon, I'm not one of them, but some people are.

I've talked to many people that are really productive at three or four in the afternoon, I'm not. I have a big energy level in the afternoon. And so what I-- but when I followed this advice of focusing on the most important-- the most complex tasks before lunch, that really helped me to up my productivity and manage my time better, and it kept me from having the stress and pressure of having those things hanging over my head for the rest of the day.

And so I just want to make sure I wanted to remind you about that, because it really made a difference for me. Now again, if you're one of those people that is truly more productive in the afternoon, more power to you, manage your day the way that works best for you. But for me and for many other people, doing the more complex and more important things before lunch can help you be more productive.

And also don't schedule yourself too tightly. Many of us say yes to every meeting invitation. Folks, if you already have six things on your to do list that are important today and three meetings scheduled, OK, don't accept that fourth meeting invitation unless you have to. I recognize if it's our boss or an important meeting that we have to accept, we have to accept and we have to make an adjustment.

But don't accept that extra-- I say no to meetings now that I didn't say no to before. And again, I'm respectful in how I decline the meeting. I'll just say, I'm already pretty overwhelmed today or-- not overwhelmed, wrong word. I'll say something in my email when I'm declining the meeting, I apologize, but my schedule is full today, is a better way to say it.

And unfortunately I can't make the meeting today, but if there's any other time we could have it on another day, I'm happy to try to get that scheduled. So please let me if there's some other time we can do the meeting. And because I don't say yes to everything, I leave a little bit of room in my schedule so that I have time to do everything else that happens.

Now, the other beautiful thing about only doing four to six things on your half to list folks, it leaves a little space in your day for those unexpected things that come to us later in the day-- your boss calling saying, I need you to do an extra thing for me this afternoon, an important customer or client needing you to respond to them and help them with something.

That allows you to respond to those additional important things that come to us during the day without it just overwhelming us because we leave a little we left a little bit of space. That was another thing Zig Ziglar said about, keep your half to list down to like four to six things so you have some room for unplanned things that you get pulled into later in the day, and that definitely works for me.

If my boss needs me at three in the afternoon, I'm able to drop what I'm doing and meet her-- and meet that request because I've got-- I'm not jammed, I've paced myself and left a little bit of room in my schedule to pick up some additional tasks that are important.

The other thing I want to talk about-- two additional things I want to talk about that have been really helpful to me managing my time better is assigning specific times to triaging my emails and returning my calls, looking at social media. Another time management seminar I went to three years ago that was fabulous right was all about managing your virtual life.

And it was talking about so many people have their email alerts on. And I have three email accounts, and personally, a lot of you do as well. And then people have a lot of social media accounts are looking at, people have calls to return. And I used to leave my alerts on, and I was constantly being pinged to death. And those alerts distract us.

You might be working on one of your important projects at 10 o'clock in the morning, and you're getting emails throughout that time and being tempted to stop your work on your important project to read that next incoming email. And that can be very distracting, I know you all know what I'm talking about there.

And so I turned off all my alerts. And now what I try to do is I try to manage when I triage incoming messages, incoming emails, et cetera, rather than letting it manage me. And so that's another important time management tip that I wanted to share, is to not allow your incoming messages, especially those electronic messages, those virtual messages, to continually ping you and distract you from things that you're trying to focus on intentionally at that point in time.

Also protecting prime time and rest time, I found is really important to living a focused and productive and enjoyable life. Prime time is-- I want to ask you all to think about what two hour period during the day are you most productive? For me, it's-- I'm a morning person, I'm truly morning person. I'm up at 5:00, 5:30 in the morning typically.

And oftentimes, out at my desk, I work virtually for Deer Oaks, so I'm out at my desk at 7:30 or at 8:00 in the morning. I am truly productive then, from 7:30 to 9:30 in the morning. I'm a true morning person, I'm very alert. In the afternoon, I'm not very alert. I'm starting to downshift, and again, I'm not as-- I'm a little bit more fatigued, I'm not as aware, I'm not as alert, I don't do my best work in the afternoon.

So I try to protect my prime time by not scheduling meetings from 7:30 to 9:30 in the morning if I can avoid it, because that's time I really I want to block off and save to do my most important, my highest priority tasks. And then protect your rest time as well.

What I mean by that is protect your lunch break. We all have lunch breaks for a reason, to rest and recharge our batteries, then protect that, I've learned to protect it. Makes a big difference in my life when I take a lunch break. Nowadays, I'm taking lunch breaks. Most days-- where it used to be most days, I didn't take a lunch break because I'm trying-- I'm going out of my way to protect that time.

I need that time to recharge my batteries, spend time with my wife. She works remotely too. And she's a writer, so she works in the main house. I'm out behind a detached garage, I have an office back out here. So we are in two separate physical buildings, but we'll oftentimes plan to meet at 12:00 or 12:30 PM for lunch, and I love that.

My wife's my best friend, have been together for a long time. I love to-- I look forward to that. I enjoy my days more when I protect that rest time. Same thing on the evenings and week weekends. Make sure you're planning leisure time in the evening and on the weekends. Some people will go days without doing something for leisure or for fun.

Folks, we need to have-- we need to focus more time on things that are enjoyable in life. It gives you something to look forward to, it helps you enjoy your days more, and it also keeps you more healthy when you have plenty of time for rest and relaxation. All right, the last thing I want to talk about then I'll open it up for questions, folks, is try to resist the temptation to procrastinate.

I was a big time procrastinator 20 years ago when I first went to that Zig Ziglar seminar. And one of the things that I learned there and then from other training that I went to around learning how not to procrastinate is that procrastination is built on some falsehoods. When we give in to the temptation of procrastinate, which really is to put something off until later, we are feeling like we're actually helping ourselves.

Like if I put-- like let's say I get up one morning and I've got a complex task to do and I really need to get it started today. It's due next week, I need to get it started today. I'm going to be busy the rest of the week, and so I got to get this thing going, but I just don't feel like it. I didn't get a good night's sleep last night, or I just don't feel like starting on something that's going to be arduous, it's going to be challenging, and so I put it off.

The temptation to put it off is built on falsehood. On the falsehood that if I put this off, I actually will feel better today and I'll have less stress. But the truth is when you put something off that should get started today, that thing doesn't go away, It's. Still hanging over your head. It's still on your to do list, and you're going to have to prioritize it one of these days. And it could actually make you feel more stressed, the fact that you didn't get started on that.

And so I started to learn how to manage my emotions. When my emotions wanted to put something off because, oh, I don't feel like it right now, I'm not in the mood, I want to do something easy, like just mess around in my email inbox for half an hour rather than get started on something that I have to think through because I just don't feel like it right now.

I learned to challenge my emotions to say, wait a second, even though I feel like putting it off, it's not it's not actually going to help me. It's actually going to make my stress level worse because it's going to be-- or worse because it's going to be hanging over my head for the next day.

And if I get it started, I'm actually at least going to feel like I'm making progress and my stress level will be a little bit less as I'm moving forward. And so what I learned to do was, I know many of how to do this, is take more complex tasks that I would typically put off because they just were so, again, so daunting, so challenging, is to break it down into difficult parts that were more manageable and easier to get started on.

And so I started outlining, I started taking a complex task. And I like to outline anyway when I create presentations. I start with an outline like many of you do. So I started outlining, I started taking a complex task and I would break it down into four parts or subparts. And that might take me 15 or 20 minutes to do. And maybe that's all I did that first day, but it got me started, it got me moving forward on that complex task, and it gave me some stress relief because I got started.

The next day I would come back to that complex task and maybe start working on one of those four general areas that I put on my outline when I created the outline. And now I'm getting down into the nuts and bolts of the work.

But by approaching work in that way, by challenging the falsehood that procrastinating is actually helping me, because it's not, it's actually make my life more stressful by putting it off, and challenging my emotions, like, OK, I don't feel like it, but you what? I will feel better if I at least get it started.

And then learning how to break those daunting things down into an outline, into more manageable tasks, and at least getting started, that helped me make progress and really made me feel better about-- feel better about my progress, and really did reduce my stress level in the end because I wasn't waking up at night thinking about things that were weighing on me because I was making progress on those important things. Really helped me get my habit of procrastination under control.

All right, folks. Now, I know we covered a lot in a very short period of time, we could have made this a much longer session obviously, we could have done a half day around these kinds of things, but I wanted to get us started with some thinking about some best practices in managing time and planning our days.

And so I want to go ahead and open it up for questions. If you have any questions, folks please type them into the question box in the GoToWebinar software in the upper right hand corner of your screen. While you're thinking of potential questions to ask, I want to remind you, especially if you logged on a little after our start time today, not a problem at all.

I want to remind you that today is the last topic in the Deer Oaks 2022 stress management webinar series. And we're going to be doing this again in 2023, we'll be introducing here in the next month or so more new topics for next year. But if you missed the three previous topics, this was a quarterly series again this year.

Back in January, we offered how to become more resilient during challenging times. In April we offered managing the stress of relationships. And in July, we offered finding balance in a fast paced world. I want you to that we recorded those sessions, and if you'd like to get a copy of the recording link to still take advantage of that information, feel free to hit Reply to your GoToWebinar software-- GoToWebinar I sent you a reminder I think one hour before today and then yesterday 24 hours before the session.

All you have to do is hit Reply to one of those reminders, it goes right to our staff, and just ask for-- say, hey, I would like to get the recording link or the PowerPoint slides from the how to become more resilient during challenging times or managing the stress of relationship session or finding balance in a fast paced world session. And our staff would be more than happy to send that to you. So those are available for you to go back and view if you want-- if you'd like to.

All right, we're starting to get questions, folks. Again, if you have any questions, please type them into the question box in the GoToWebinar software in the upper right hand corner of your screen. This is just an observation by one of our colleagues here, is I travel a lot with my job and find it helpful to have office days with no appointments for catch up, absolutely.

And sometimes, that's a great way. I've done the same thing oftentimes in the past. Because as I've traveled on and off for Deer Oaks, and you're right. Sometimes when you keep days open, or at least half days open or periods of time open, you're able to get caught up, and that's a good practice, that's good advice. thank you for sharing that.

Here's another question from one of our colleagues, any recommendations where to find tips to learn time management? Yeah, there's a great book out there by Stephen Covey. Some of you might remember, Stephen Covey wrote the famous book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

He has one book that pulled out one of those seven habits, it's about time management and prioritizing our time. It's called Putting First Things First. And so I would highly recommend that book. So again, it's Stephen Covey, Putting First Things First, Is a very helpful resource on time management.

Here's another good question, these are great questions, folks, thanks for being so thoughtful. It is, how can we appropriately address when-- we get tasks that set us up for failure? Like everything on the half to list is important. Absolutely, I agree that everything on your half to list is important. But it's a matter of prioritizing day by day and reprioritizing every day.

For example, let's say you get up Monday morning, let's say you've got 30 things on your to do list when you get up Monday morning. So get up Monday morning, and when you're planning Monday go through your to do list and decide which are the most important half a dozen things you need to do today?

And the second most important and maybe you put on your to do list for tomorrow. Or you come back on Tuesday morning and you reprioritize that day. Because things do change, things do move up in urgency based on what people need from you and deadlines and those kinds of things as time goes on on a day to day basis.

And so I do believe that it's really helpful to reprioritize every day. So start on Monday, take your 30 things on your to do list and pick the half a dozen or so that are the highest priority for that day. Come back again Tuesday morning, and you'll probably have added some more things on Monday to do list, right now maybe you have 32 things on your total to do list.

And out of those 32 things on Tuesday morning, pick the half dozen that are most important for that day, highest priority for that day. And again, remember, that leaves you a little bit of room-- if you're only planning a half a dozen or so, it leaves you a little bit of room to take on those additional tasks that might coming your way later in that day. And so that works really, really well for me.

I'm going back because we're getting a lot of questions now, thank you, folks. Someone said do you have an easy guide on project management? I don't, unfortunately. But there's a lot of online-- there's a lot of resources on project management. There's the Project Management Institute that's out there. I mean, but there's a lot of information about project management out there. I'm sorry, that's not my area of expertise.

All right, Here's a good question. What's a good way to start prioritizing our priorities if we don't where to start. And I want to just, I guess, go back through that. We should be living by our priorities. So in general, that's why I had to do that one priority list today. Day to day, let's stay aware of those areas of our lives that are most important to us, like family, friendships, your health, and let's make sure we don't overlook those things.

So we're exercising regularly, spending enough time with your family, those kinds of things. So that helps you in general make sure you're not neglecting those areas. But in terms of work priorities, one of the things I try to do is stay on the same page with my boss.

And so when we have our one on one meetings regularly, I try to make sure that what her priorities are and to make sure that I'm integrating her priorities into my day to day priority list, my half to list, so that's one thing I include-- I try to include. Every day when I do my half a dozen or so things I'm going to focus on today, I include things that are important to my boss, I include my personal priorities like family time, making sure I leave work on time, or I'm attending the family.

And then the rest of it is just basically, each day, try to figure out, which of these things today are the most important, all things considered? And sometimes, it's hard to do, you may have competing priorities that you have to decide. And so maybe you think, OK, I'll do this one today and this one tomorrow. But that's OK, and it's an evolving process.

I think the important part of this, it doesn't have to be an exact science. The important part of it is that we're every day reprioritizing and creating an achievable plan for that day. That gives you the ability to focus on the things that are most important to you and your personal life and your professional life.

It leaves a little bit of room for those other things that might come in at the end later on that afternoon that you weren't expecting because you're not overwhelmed, you have a smaller or smaller achievable list, and it allows you to, again, stay focused on those things that are really important at that particular period of time.

And so the fact that you're constantly updating that every day and reprioritizing that next day and then reprioritizing again the day after that, you're constantly able to reshuffle your priorities based on deadlines, people's needs that you're trying to respond to, changing priorities of the team and of your boss, clients you have to respond to.

It's a really nice fluid way of staying focused on things that are important, and making the amount that you're focusing on reasonable enough so you're not in a hurry through the day. And again, you leave a little room for those extra things that might come in.

And again, it's something you'll have to-- if you like the idea, you don't have to do it exactly the way that I'm doing it, but just using some of the concepts that I'm talking about here would help most of us at least be a little bit more planful, be creating more work plans every day that are a little bit more achievable to slow us down a little bit, give us a better pace and help us to not feel so overwhelmed, and help us focus a little bit more on those things that are most important.

I got time for a few more questions, folks. Do you have any of the questions, please type them into the question box on the GoToWebinar software. Yeah, I've got someone talking about how-- this is really good, this is excellent. And I want to share this is that-- one of our colleagues here is talking about trying to minimize your workload or minimizing your workload and making it achievable was easier when this person was self-employed.

But when working with a larger organization, how do you get your boss to minimize their requests? That's a really, really good question. And so one of the things I try to do when I do my regular one on one meetings with my boss is I try to be on the same page with her about what her priorities are, and so that's really helpful to me. And she's very reasonable.

I mean, if we feel like we're overwhelmed, if our team is overwhelmed and I'm sharing with her, I'm a manager and so and I've got a few folks that are reporting to me, and so I'll share with my boss what I'm doing, what the team is doing. And she's very open if the team is overwhelmed to us making some adjustments to the workload. I think it's important to have a really good open dialogue with your boss about workload.

And if you ever get to a place where you feel like you're overwhelmed, you're overloaded, be honest about that. And sometimes, we hesitate to be honest with our boss about that because we don't want our bosses to feel like we can't get it all done. But the truth is, we can't always get it all done, each of us is one individual, we have a limited amount of time like we've been talking about today.

But if you have an open dialogue with your boss about your workload, you can k if you're in a really busy period go to your boss. One of my direct reports is great about that. She comes to me and says, Greg, I got too much on my plate here, I can't get it all done, can you help me prioritize?

And I am more than happy. I don't want her to be overwhelmed, I don't want her to burn out. I'm always more than happy to help her prioritize and support her and what things we need to let go for now or maybe assign to somebody else, or maybe I jump in, roll up my sleeves and help her, which I'll do from time to time as well. So thank you for that, that's a great question.

Folks, it looks like we don't have any more questions today. So I want to thank you again for being with us. I mean, it's been a pleasure to bring you this series again this year. We've been offering this series for several years, the world is a very stressful place still right now. Gallup, the polling company, says 43% of Americans are stressed every day right now, the highest number they've ever recorded.

And so again, we will come up with four new topics for 2023, so be on the lookout for that list as we publish that here coming up in November in December. Again, I want to thank you for being with us. It's a privilege for Deer Oaks to be the EAP provider for all of your organizations. And again, thank you for your time, and I hope you have a wonderful rest of the year, and I hope you have a great holiday season. Thank you, everyone. Take care.