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Three Gifts For You In 2011

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The first gift is time.

Sure, we all have the same hours in each day. But you know folks who do an amazing amount with their 24 hours and others who seem unable to do much  in theirs.

Take one hour of your time each week to make the rest of your time better.  There is no trick here. This works and works well. But you will need to try it for at least two months to be successful.

Pick a time and schedule it with yourself for each week. Put it on your schedule, make it inviolate. Turn off all your electronics (yes, really!). Close your door or go someplace you can concentrate. Take your hour and work on something important to you. This is the time to focus on a major project or your business plan or what you want to be when you grow up.

Create your vision. Design your plan. Define whatever is important to your future. Give it your all for the entire hour. Come back next week and move it forward.

You have time all week to do the bits needed to move forward.

But if you are rushing from one demand to the next, you rarely have time to actually think about what is important to you and how you will do that.

This hour each week will take practice, rather like meditation. You will find yourself worrying about mundane things, wondering if you missed a call. Give your brain a chance. Turn it back to the thinking process. Exercise your unused brain parts – be more creative or more analytical.

Focus, focus, focus. Use this hour to its fullest and you will make your journey far more interesting, far more successful, and so much easier.

The second gift is movement.

You have a wonderful instrument in your body. And yet so often your emotions says “wait.”

Last year I had significant voice problems with lots of medical appointments and I kept waiting to do marketing until my voice got better, till I had control over my time. As if we did not live in a world where I could time-shift as well as do a lot without voicing a word.

You can imagine what that waiting has done to my business. But waiting seemed so logical at the time.

What are you waiting for? Do you really have to wait or can you actually keep moving? So much of our waiting is self-imposed. Yet so often it masquerades as an external limitation.

You know the classic line: so you will be 50 in five years when you finish your masters… and how old will you be in five years if you don’t get the degree?

The third gift is your future.

Do you know that women think that they are not as good as men at managing and investing money? And almost all of us are not realistic about our future financial needs.

You have about a 1 in 3 chance of being disabled at some point in your working life – for an average time of over two years. And the probability of having a chronic disease which impacts your work is about 40%.

Your own life expectancy is dependent on your genetics, your health, the longevity of your relatives as well as your race, age, and gender. I have way too many relatives who lived much longer than average lifespans. If you were born in 1940, average life expectancy at birth was 63.6 years; now those figures are nearly 80. But if you are currently 65, you can expect to live almost another 20 years.

Why consider all this? Because you need to be investing in your future throughout your life.

You need an emergency fund first – this is money you can live on if you are too ill to work or lose your job or have to take time out to care for someone else. And you need insurances to protect your income from medical expenses and disability.

Most importantly, you need to save for your retirement. Social security was never designed to be the primary financial resource for retirement. All this means your future is in your own hands.

You need to educate yourself about money and learn to manage your own.

Will you accept these gifts? Or will you think they are too much trouble to assemble? Too demanding of your energy?

It’s your choice – and your future.

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Image: Vicky van Santen via Flickr, Creative Commons

Patricia A. Frame is an experienced Human Capital issues speaker and management consultant. She founded Strategies for Human Resources to advise organizations facing organization and people challenges. Previously she designed and managed human resource functions for GE, Software AG, Maxwell Online, and others. A Wharton MBA and an Air Force veteran, she actively supports the Women’s Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. Check out her website, SHRinsight.com, for management and development articles.


    1. I have become good at the first gift, my Mondays are my plan day and get caught up day. But I have never looked at movement and future as items that could be in the same list. thanks for the idea!

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    2. Michelle, good for you to have that planning outlook, hope other readers will see that if you can, they can too. Thanks for your comments — I write in the hope that something I say will help someone think about a new way or idea. So nice to hear you did!

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    3. These are excellent points. I’m very good about #2, inconsistent about #1 and as to #3, er, well, I wasn’t aware my life span would end. That’s a trick question, isn’t it? Guess I’ll have to go out and get a sugar daddy! Hahahahaaa, I said that to make my mom choke. She raised 4 daughters and 1 son to be independent and feminist so that is a funny concept. Oh, wait, I remember, I put away money every month toward retirement. At the rate I’m going, I can retire at *8 X 3, carry the 1, multiply by age squared* 103!
      Thanks for these great reminders!

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