Recovering from “the day from hell”, aka Time Management

Overhead. People who donâ??t work for themselves often tend to think of that in terms of money.

I find that time overhead is far more expensive.

For example, think about the time it takes to keep the various local, state and Federal agencies satisfied with the appropriate amount of paperwork. I am convinced that this country would never again face a recession if they would just eliminate all of this paperwork tomorrow by coming up with a better way to collect taxes. Why no recession? Cuz everyone who owns a business would suddenly get 2 months of their business life back every year. They’d spend it on turning a profit, creating even MORE taxes.

The only way Iâ??ve found to eliminate this particular paperwork load is to take a job working for someone else, so they can do the paperwork instead of me. Not a good answer for most entrepreneurs. The upside to the local/state/Federal overhead is that it all has deadlines, so it can be planned into your schedule (whether you like it or not). But I digress, as I didnt start this conversation to talk about paperwork.

What really gets me is the unplanned â??Hello, I just thought I would nuke your entire day for my little crisisâ? kinds of things. Thatâ??s REAL overhead and sometimes it can be downright painful.

That kind of time overhead can just nuke a day, especially when itâ??s unplanned time overhead that I have no time for that day. The water heater goes out. The car that suddenly needs something that canâ??t wait a few weeks. A laptop hard drive crashes. The 15 month old that pukes down the back of your dress shirt as you walk her out to the car on the way to work in the morning â?? and her mom is on a 12 hour nursing shift that started 90 minutes earlier, 30 miles away.

You know, the ones that have you waking up on Wednesday with the same ToDo list that you had on Monday morning.
Sure, itâ??s just life, but how do you deal with this and get refocused? Let me tell you what I do, maybe itâ??ll help you come up with a strategy that works for you.

For me, a couple of things help. First, that â??6 (12, 38, whatever) things I gotta get done todayâ? list still has to rule the day. I donâ??t know about you, but if I *dare* start a week or a day without a well-defined list of important, must-do stuff, itâ??ll be Friday before I know it. Friday evening, that is.

After a crisis, the sooner I get back into the flow of accomplishing things and chipping away at that list, the sooner Iâ??ve forgotten about the water heater that leaked, had to be replaced and caused me to spend half a day getting someone out to dry out the carpet and another half a day getting a water heater and having someone replace it.

Not only does the list compartmentalize your days into little chunks of this and that (important stuff, not YouTube), it provides some structure to help you get back into the groove after a particularly spastic day.

Some people just canâ??t turn off crisis mode and they need to mourn, or whatever seems appropriate. Dan Kennedy told me last year that even HE does this. He said that some folks just have to give themselves some time to cope with it. What he does is typical Dan. He compartmentalizes it, give himself 34 seconds (or something) to cope, then he tosses it in a mental trash can, pitches it away and gets back to work.

IE: just say to yourself â??ok, this sucks and Iâ??m going to be ticked off / feel sorry for myself / whine / moan / cry or stand in the showerâ? and then give yourself 5-15-30 minutes or whatever it takes to get yourself over it. Tell yourself in advance that youâ??re going to do whatever ranting / grieving / complaining that is necessary and at 10:15am youâ??re going to turn it off and get back into rehab, er, I mean back to work.

And then do it. Let the structure you introduce into your day to get rid of the time vampires serve a second purpose – to get you back on the rails.