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Time Management And Achieving Balance

A few months ago, my mom passed away. She lived a long and fruitful life working hard as a single mother to ensure her three children had food on the table, a roof over their head and clothes on their back. Not an easy feat in the early 1960s in a small, western NY town. Looking back at my upbringing, I recall we didn’t have as much “stuff” as my friends in school, but one thing she always had for us was her time and love.

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By Vic Tarasik, owner
Vic’s Precision Automotive

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A few months ago, my mom passed away. She lived a long and fruitful life working hard as a single mother to ensure her three children had food on the table, a roof over their head and clothes on their back. Not an easy feat in the early 1960s in a small, western NY town. Looking back at my upbringing, I recall we didn’t have as much “stuff” as my friends in school, but one thing she always had for us was her time and love.

While Mom worked, she had many hobbies from bowling to rose gardening.

As we began the process of cleaning out her house, her friends would stop by and share stories with us of how Mom would always have a good word for them or talk about the great times they had. Heck, I found out that she played football with the guys when she was a teen and she had a mean tackle! Oh, and Mom was only 5 feet tall.

Recall the last funeral you ­attended and how those in ­attendance spoke of the memories made, and how they laughed and cried as they recalled the times they enjoyed with the dearly departed. Ask yourself this question, at any ­funeral at which you’ve been did anyone ever say, “Gosh, I wish they had worked more,” or “I wish we had spent more time apart from one another.” I’m sure you answered “no.”

Take a moment before continuing to read this article and ask yourself, what is the most important thing in my life? How well do I manage my time and what is really important to me? Could I work less and accomplish more with my family and friends?

Time is a peculiar thing. We sell it, we spend it and, in some cases, when we want to relax, we kill it. But I’ve found that some of the most successful people who have achieved balance between work and home understand “how” to manage their time. If you’ve found a way to achieve a balanced lifestyle, share it with your colleagues.

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In business, we are all charged with great responsibility, whether it’s to run a growing and profitable enterprise, or successfully completing the tasks given to us to ensure our customers receive optimal customer service and a vehicle that’s fixed right and keeps them safe while on the road.

Putting ‘You’ First
For most of us, putting ourselves first is contrary to how we operate but it’s essential. As a leader, you have to take care of your needs first, much like the airline safety announcement that tells you if there is an emergency, put your mask on first before helping others. As a business owner, manager, husband, wife, etc., you must take care of your most basic needs first, then move on to your family, friends and then on to your customers. When you increase the effectiveness of your leadership skills, the likelihood of running a successful shop also increases.

A Killer Combination
Having your priorities mapped out and in line, along with a process to get the most out of every minute of the day, is the “dynamic duo” of achieving balance. Undoubtedly, you may shift to one side of center, but as long as you’re looking to stay close to center, your results will be efficiency and ­productivity.

Time Management Tips
1. “Begin each day with the end in mind.” (Stephen Covey) Define what you want to accomplish today and when you want your day to end.
2. Set aside time at the beginning of the day to schedule your plan for the day. When I do this, I accomplish far more than I intended each day.
3. Know your strengths. You can ­increase your effectiveness when you “play to your strengths” and delegate other tasks for which you cannot be as effective.
4. Wear a watch or keep a clock in sight. By being mindful of your time, you are less apt to lose track of where you are in the day.
5. Keep non-essential tasks to a minimum. E-mail, Internet surfing and ­social networking will consume tremendous amounts of your prime work time.

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Tips to Keep Your Life in Balance
1. Determine your priorities, and keep a photo of family nearby to remind you that they come first. Take a photo of a memorable time with a loved one and keep it at work.
2. Keep your “outside of work” ­commitments. If you’ve made a commitment to a family member to be somewhere at a certain time, then ­follow through and be there.
3. Learn to say “no.” It’s not easy saying no when you work in the service industry, but it gets easier the more times you say it.
4. Take breaks and eat lunch. You’ll keep your energy that way.
5. Set realistic personal and shop goals, and celebrate them with your employees, friends and family.

Think of your shop as a way to ­provide a great living for you and the ones you love. When you put it in this perspective, your work will not consume you, but, rather, it will motivate you to be the best time manager and producer while you’re on the job.

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My Personal Planning Tool Kit
• The 7 Habits of Highly Effective ­People, Stephen Covey, available at Amazon.com ($8 paperback, $11 audio CD);
• Microsoft Outlook to schedule meetings, reminders and tasks;
• A daily planner;
• Wristwatch or clock; and a
• Pocket notepad to jot ideas down while away from the ­office. 

Vic Tarasik is the owner of Vic’s Precision Automotive, The Woodlands, TX, a 30-year
industry veteran and long-time 20 Group member. Vic can be reached at [email protected].

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