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The Life Lesson That Keeps On Giving

Have you ever had a life lesson that continued to grow more valuable with time? When I was barely twenty-one, my mother told me, "Make time work for you."

She said if you're going out of town, for example, and you've got a broken stereo, get it into the repair shop before you leave. Then when you get back, you'll be ahead of the curve instead of behind.

This was a whole new concept to me, and I soaked it up like a sponge. I still do, though thankfully I no longer own a stereo.

5 Ways to Turn Time to Your Advantage

Ask for late checkout, literally or figuratively.
I did this last week when I gave a speech in Long Beach (no rhyme intended). That one extra hour lowered my stress before the speech. It also let me check out at a leisurely place and have a relaxed lunch before I left. Look for ways to put this concept to work for you. Some deadlines are more flexible than others.

Go to bed earlier and get up earlier.
This might be hard to hear, especially if you consider yourself a night owl. Try it anyway. Anytime I've done this, I've felt so much better and more equipped to handle stress. I've also been able to get more done.

When something falls off your calendar, do not schedule something else.
The point is, you probably already have enough on your plate. So when something falls off, use the freed-up time to tackle your other commitments. Too often, we simply pile on more.

Dial down the urgency.
Not every text, email, or request needs to be handled right this moment. Most of them don't. Give yourself permission to focus on what counts—even when it means being a little less available. Which brings us to our next point:

Land one plane at a time (thank you, FranklinCovey).
Just focus on the task at hand, not the five or six that immediately follow. If you don't let yourself focus, who will?

Finally, be willing to let some things go. Not everything needs to be done, done today, or done by you. Figure out what does and as best you can, make that your focus—not only today and this week but for a lifetime.

Be willing to let some things go. Not everything needs to be done, done today, or done by you.

Gina DeLapa

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Gina DeLapa is America's Ultimate Reminders® Coach, a sought-after speaker, and the proud creator of the Ultimate Reminders® book series. Her wise and witty reminders ("Beware the organization whose response to a burning building is to form a committee") will make you laugh, stir your soul, and inspire your best. If you're not already getting her free Monday-Morning Pep Talk, be sure to sign up now at