As the long, lazy days of summer surrender to cooler temperatures, routines and schedules, a lot of people struggle with how to manage their time. The hard truth is, we cannot control time…we can only manage our commitments and that’s where the challenge lies.
Uses Time Wisely:
Some of you may remember this as a behavior skill that we were “graded” on from elementary school. You either got an “S” for Satisfactory or a “U” for Unsatisfactory. I think it was just a way for teachers to let our parents know that we either sat still at our desks and did our work or we goofed off and were probably a bit disruptive in class. Do you remember what “grade” you received in this category?
It’s a matter of choice really – how you view time, how you choose to use time and how you value time. Not all uses of time are equal, however if you treat time as personal capital, it will make a big difference in your life. Time management is about taking control over what you do next and for the most part, you are free to choose the task that you will do next. The choices you make about how you spend your time determine the kind of life you will have. It often takes a set of skills that includes goal setting, prioritizing, communication, patience and healthy habits that will help you successfully use time wisely.
When it comes to time, we have all sorts of stories that do not serve us well such as “I have no time for anything but work” or “There is no way that I can take up a hobby, join a running group or take a vacation – I just don’t have the time for that!” Start by asking yourself what do you want more of, and what do you want to get off your plate in order to do them. Having a clear sense of where your time goes and especially how you feel about it will help you make choices that get you closer to the life you really want.
Many of us want to help and some people thrive on feeling needed. Avoid deadline traps such as saying “Yes” too quickly. Practice saying “No” more often and discover how resisting the urge to be involved in every project enables you to put the focus on your own projects and goals.
When it comes to time planning, there is no one way that is more efficient. Some people rely on their phone or a calendar system on their computer, some prefer a paper and pen version. You have to find the best way for you which may involve some trial and error until you land on a system that works best for you. I can tell you that a “system” of random pieces of paper scattered throughout your workspace, home, car or purse does not bring promise of keeping track of all the things you are doing. Neither does keeping it all in your head!When you review your list of commitments, evaluate them and ask yourself – “Does it relate to my goals?”, “Can I delegate some tasks to someone else?”, “Do I need to do this now?” and “Do I need to do this at all?”
The goal of time management should not be to find more time. The goal is to set a reasonable amount of time to spend on tasks and using that time wisely. The choices you make about how you spend your time determine that kind of life you have!