The Energizer Bunny Has It All, Part One of Two


Last month at the annual meeting for the consulting company I co-founded 15 years ago, the corporate staff gave me a “humorous” recognition: the “you make us tired just thinking about it” award.  At least, I hope they meant it to be humorous.

They referred to the two novels I wrote and five marathons I ran in last year, as well as my consulting practice while still having three of our five kids at home.  OK, I admit it: it was a lot.  All my life, my recognitions have followed this basic theme.  I’ve been named the energizer bunny, the most likely to succeed, the golden touch, the rainmaker, and the-one-who-does-it-all.  I’ve also been called the-one-who-knows-it-all, but that has always been behind my back, and I am pretty sure it wasn’t meant as a joke.  Cue the “you make us want to vomit” music: I’m Every Woman by Whitney Houston.

Given the names bestowed upon me, you might think I’m tired, too.  But I’m not.  One of the secrets to endurance in my game of life?  Time management.  I apply it relentlessly.  To writing.  To athletics.  To parenting.  To my marriage (there’s nothing my husband loves more than when I try to “manage” him/us, too, let me tell you) (well. . .except for our family mission statement, see photo). You can have it all; time management does work, but it is a rigorous discipline.

That’s why I loved this article by John Kelly called Top 10 Time Management Tips.

I’ll apply half his tips this week, and, due to time limitations, I’ll address the other half next Monday.  Ba-dum-dum.

John’s Tips #’s 10 down to 6 are:

10.  Set Priorities.

9.  Just Say No.

8.  Don’t Agonize. Organize.

7.  Break It Down.

6.  Block That Time.

10. Set Priorities

Hear, hear!  The biggest lie in the world is that you can have it “all.”  What? I just said you CAN have it all, not three paragraphs ago.  Well, it depends on which word in the phrase you emphasize.  You can have “it” all, as long as you don’t try to do it “all”; you have to know what “it” is, and don’t let “all” of the rest get in the way.

Decide what “it” – your priorities — is to you.  For me?  The top five is easy: husband, kids, athletics, writing, and my business.  (FYI, I weave my religious/spiritual beliefs into all five; I don’t want to make this article a religious commentary, but think of it as a life philosophy or overlay to all my priorities and principled decision-making)

9.  Just Say No.

If someone asks you to do something that isn’t “it,” then practice liberal use of the word NO.  I don’t find it hard to say no to things that fall outside my priorities.  The harder use of NO for me is when the demand on my time relates to one of my priorities.  What to do, what to do?!? Sub-prioritize. Not everything related to my kids is a priority.  I can live within some mid-max guidelines.  I have 3 step-kids and two birth-kids.  Three of the five still live at home with us; the one who is off the payroll is my favorite! Given their numbers relative to there only being one of me, I can’t say yes to every volunteer request related to their activities.  I say NO to those with the lowest value/impact.  If I am required to time at a swim meet, I have to say no to driving one of the other kids to robotics.  If there is a regional robotics competition, I have to say no to attending the non-competition choir concert.

8. Don’t Agonize.  Organize.

Bad, bad Pamela.  I have been floundering lately in the wake of an injury that threw my athletic calendar into disarray.  Because the calendar didn’t work anymore, I tossed it out.  That makes sense, right?  Sort of. . .but here was my big error: I didn’t replace it with a revised calendar.  Without organization, you can’t do “it” all.  At least, I can’t.  And I don’t think you’d be reading this blog if you could either.  Plan for it, calendar it, and live by the calendar.

7.  Break It Down.

This tip is a hard one to master, but it is so powerful.  When you are planning your schedule – for the hour, day, week or year – break everything down into the smallest components.  Include them all and assign time-lengths to each of them.  This level of detail and realism will insure that you have time to do “it” all, by keeping you from over-committing, accidentally. The MS 150 Houston to Austin bike event is coming up.  I have to schedule in training, but I also need to include time to pick up my packet, take my bike in for a tune-up, and fundraise for the event.

6.  Block That Time.

Once you have committed to doing “it,” said no to the other stuff, organized it and broken it down into all its time-taking components, it is time to put it on an actual schedule, and block the time out.  This means truly make yourself unavailable for the designated time that day until you finish.  And it may require you to exercise your NO word again when demands or temptations sneak upon you and try to steal your block away.  “Mom, can you take us to the mall?”  NO!  IT’S A CONFLICT TO “WRITE FOR TWO HOURS” ON MY SCHEDULE!  See how convenient it is to have that excuse in your back pocket?

How does all this look in the life of the energizer bunny?  See above the picture of my half ironman training calendar, and a snapshot of my writing daily word counter.  I won’t violate the privacy of my entire household by also sharing my google calendar with you, but I do like being able to combine multiple calendars in one, and being able to sync with Outlook.  If it’s not on the schedule, it ain’t happenin’ at our house.

In Part Two, next Monday 3-8-10, I’ll apply John’s Tips from #5 down to #1.

Until then, decide what “it” is and practice saying NO to everything else!

Last month at the annual meeting for the consulting company I co-founded 15 years ago, the corporate staff gave me a “humorous” recognition: the “you make us tired just thinking about it” award.  At least, I hope it was meant to be humorous.

They referred to the two novels I wrote and five marathons I ran in last year, as well as my consulting practice while still having three of our five kids at home.  OK, I admit it: it was a lot.  All my life, my recognitions have followed this basic theme.  I’ve been named the energizer bunny, the most likely to succeed, the golden touch, the rainmaker, and the-one-who-does-it-all.  I’ve also been called the-one-who-knows-it-all, but that has always been behind my back, and I am pretty sure it wasn’t meant as a joke.  Cue the “you make us want to vomit” music: I’m Every Woman by Whitney Houston.


Given the names bestowed upon me, you might think I’m tired, too.  But I’m not.  One of the secrets to endurance in my game of life?  Time management.  I apply it relentlessly.  To writing.  To athletics.  To parenting.  To my marriage (there’s nothing my husband loves more than when I try to “manage” him/us, too, let me tell you) (well. . .except for our family mission statement, see photo). You can have it all; time management does work, but it is a rigorous discipline.


That’s why I loved this article by John Kelly called Top 10 Time Management Tips.


I’ll apply half his tips this week, and, due to time limitations, I’ll address the other half next Monday.  Ba-dum-dum.


John’s Tips #’s 10 down to 6 are:


10.  Set Priorities.

9.  Just Say No.

8.  Don’t Agonize. Organize.

7.  Break It Down.

6.  Block That Time.


10.  Set Priorities


Hear, hear!  The biggest lie in the world is that you can have it “all.”  What? I just said you CAN have it all, not three paragraphs ago.  Well, it depends on which word in the phrase you emphasize.  You can have “it” all, as long as you don’t try to do it “all”; you have to know what “it” is, and don’t let “all” of the rest get in the way.


Decide what “it” – your priorities — is to you.  For me?  The top five is easy: husband, kids, athletics, writing, and my business.  (FYI, I weave my religious/spiritual beliefs into all five; I don’t want to make this article a religious commentary, but think of it as a life philosophy or overlay to all my priorities and principled decision-making)


9.  Just Say No.


If you are asked to do something that isn’t “it,” then practice liberal use of the word NO.  I don’t find it hard to say no to things that fall outside my priorities.  The harder use of NO for me is when the demand on my time relates to one of my priorities.  What to do, what to do?!? Sub-prioritize. Not everything related to my kids is a priority.  I can live within some mid-max guidelines.  I have 3 step-kids and two birth-kids.  Three of the five still live at home with us; the one who is off the payroll is my favorite! Given their numbers relative to there only being one of me, I can’t say yes to every volunteer request related to their activities.  I say NO to those with the lowest value/impact.  If I am required to time at a swim meet, I have to say no to driving one of the other kids to robotics.  If there is a regional robotics competition, I have to say no to attending the non-competition choir concert.


8. Don’t Agonize.  Organize.


Bad, bad Pamela.  I have been floundering lately in the wake of an injury that threw my athletic calendar into disarray.  Because the calendar didn’t work anymore, I tossed it out.  That makes sense, right?  Sort of. . .but here was my big error: I didn’t replace it with a revised calendar.  Without organization, you can’t do “it” all.  At least, I can’t.  And I don’t think you’d be reading this blog if you could either.  Plan for it, calendar it, and live by the calendar.


7.  Break It Down.


This tip is a hard one to master, but it is so powerful.  When you are planning your schedule – for the hour, day, week or year – break everything down into the smallest components.  Include them all and assign time-lengths to each of them.  This level of detail and realism will insure that you have time to do “it” all, by keeping you from over-committing, accidentally. The MS 150 Houston to Austin bike event is coming up.  I have to schedule in training, but I also need to include time to pick up my packet, take my bike in for a tune-up, and fundraise for the event.


6.  Block That Time.


Once you have committed to doing “it,” said no to the other stuff, organized it and broken it down into all its time-taking components, it is time to put it on an actual schedule, and block the time out.  This means truly make yourself unavailable for the designated time that day until you finish.  And it may require you to exercise your NO word again when demands or temptations sneak upon you and try to steal your block away.  “Mom, can you take us to the mall?”  NO!  IT’S A CONFLICT TO “WRITE FOR TWO HOURS” ON MY SCHEDULE!  See how convenient it is to have that excuse in your back pocket?


How does all this look in the life of the energizer bunny?  See above the picture of my half ironman training calendar, and a snapshot of my writing daily word counter.  I won’t violate the privacy of my entire household by also sharing my google calendar with you, but I do like being able to combine multiple calendars in one, and to be able to sync with Outlook.  If it’s not on the schedule, it ain’t happenin’ at our house.


In Part Two, next Monday 3-8-10, I’ll apply John’s Tips from #5 down to #1.


Until then, decide what “it” is and practice saying NO to everything else!

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  1. […] that whenever we say yes to one thing we are saying no to a host of other things; and of course, saying no to something means saying yes to many other things as well.  I’ve carried that idea with me for many years, and it has helped me make decisions, as […]

  2. […] did.  It works. 3.    Eliminate the crap.  Most people don’t like to hear me say this, but I eliminated all TV except for football from my life.  I also don’t drink alcohol because it dehydrates me and makes it harder to get up early to fit […]



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