Better Time Management –
What did you do yesterday? How much of your day was given over to stuff you ‘had to do’? How much was stuff you ‘wanted to do’? How much was stuff you ‘loved to do’? How often were you running late, or ‘running out of time’?
If the ‘have to’ list is the longest, then maybe you’ll want to spend a little time re-evaluating your priorities. Life should not be a long list of things to get done. Understandably we might have a job to go to because we need to pay the bills. If there are people in our care, especially children or the elderly, then their needs may be more immediate. But even factoring in the jobs and the people, there are still a lot of hours in the day. Are you looking at them as a resource and a gift to make your life easier? Or is the clock your enemy, always ticking away precious minutes that you would rather be using doing something else?
And even if there is a job and a lot of responsibilities, if you are viewing that as ‘something’ to be ‘gotten through’ until you can actually get to the parts of your life that you like, you are really missing out on a lot of joy.
I hope to be able to help you address a lot of specific issues today to help your days flow more smoothly,
I attend a weekly exercise class. The teacher is absolutely wonderful, but she always arrives a few minutes late, out of breath and apologizing. Her drive to work takes her through some beautiful country that would be a joy to just savor and take in, but she is always too busy and too rushed to notice. She really loves her job. She really loves her car. She enjoys stopping for coffee on the way, but even that becomes stressful when the line at the drive through restaurant is longer than she though it would be. She has a family and children to tend to before she leaves the house and so of course there are always unexpected last minutes difficulties to stop and deal with.
If you can see yourself anywhere in this scenario, let’s go back and see if we can create a better way of life. Let’s start with arriving at work. If you would benefit from getting there 20 minutes early to settle in and sit for a few minutes at your desk or in the break room, to just breathe, then lets’s start there, If traffic is a little busier that usual and you only get 5 or 10 minutes to settle in, at least that will be enough time to help you regroup.
So now we can figure out what time you must leave the house to start your day on a good note. If you need to make a stop along the way then your departure time has be to changed again to accomodate that. But keep in mind – ‘I must leave the house by ‘7:15 today. This was I can enjoy the ride, enjoy the stops, and enjoy my first few minutes at work.’
If you need to arrange with a neighbor to watch your children get on the bus, then do that, and teach your children good time management as well. They must have finished breakfast by such and such a time, or they will have to take a snack with them for the bus, or the walk to school. They must be dressed by a certain time, or start laying out their clothes the night before to make that happen. They must have homework packed and ready to go the night before, and they must get up with enough time to give them a few extra minutes to settle in to their day before rushing off.
A great tool to learn, and to teach the others in your family, is to work and think “backwards’. I must be there by 10 – therfore I have to leave by 9 – in which case I have to start getting dressed by 8 and if I want to have a little extra time in the morning to throw in a load of laundry and tend to other things, I must get up by 6:30.
Children can also be taught to think ‘backward’ when it comes to time. If an assignment is due on Tuesday, and it will take a certain number of hours to complete during each evening, you may have to insist that they begin on Saturday or Sunday, rather than waiting until Monday night when their stress is put upon everyone else in the house.
Working backward had gotten me to appointments on time and unhurried for many, many years.
Living in the moment is a beautiful thing – our ultimate goal in life – but you can only bring your best to the current moment after you have put in a little thought to the moments preceeding and following it, to make sure there will be enough time.
If you are starting on a project that will take you into a place of timelessness, and you absolutely have to stop to do something else, try setting a timer or alarm clock as a reminder.
Now let’s look at another possible reason to be constantly running out of time – and that’s procrastination. In effect, I don’t like what I have to do, therefore I will put it off until the last possible moment, and then I won’t have time to do it – and then it is hanging over my head, causing my thoughts to be obsessive about it. What an energy stealer that is. Procrastination requires some serious work to overcome. We may be fearful of the thing we have to do or anxious about the outcome. In either case these issues need to be dealt with proactively because they won’t go away on their own. This becomes more than a time management issue. This becomes a life style issue and I would urge you to get some help for that. If you ever want to work with me on these issues personally, that can be arranged. Just get in contact with me.
There are 3 more things I would like to cover today, regarding time. The first is the obsessive need for some of us to ‘do it all’ and ‘do it now’. This requires you to sit down and take a good hard look at your life. Where is time being spend on repetitive things you really don’t enjoy? Could you dust every week instead of every other day? Or could you set aside a few hours a week to bring your home back up to your standards, if you never seem to get to it at all? Does everything really need to be perfect all the time? I have a much more relaxing life when some days are spent on a special set of projects, and other things, for that time, are just let go of. If you have a plan that everytually includes everything you want to do, it doesn’t all have to be done on one day.
Secondly, do you plan ahead a little bit for the sake of practicality? Living in the moment is wonderful, but do you leave the house with enough time and a detailed shopped list? Or do you wait until you run out of milk and then make a mad dash to the store to discover the next day that you are out of bread, and so repeat the same scenario.
Third, is a matter of attitude. I can decide to hate my job, or I can look at ways this job is benefitting me. It may be getting me out of the house every day to interact and meet with people. It may be giving me a chance to brush up on skills I can use at my next job. Maybe I just need to be greatful that this week I will be getting a paycheck. We are living in a society of polarity and duality. There is always a ‘good list’ and a ‘bad list’ regarding just about everything we engage in. Let’s focus on the good list, and if the good list includes ways to help us move on to something better, so it is.
There are probably as many reasons for running late, as their are people who are doing it. There are also people who always seem to be peaceful, enjoying things, and getting a lot done.
If this is a problem for you, you wll undoubtedly need an individualized plan to make your life run more smoothly. You, however, have the same 24 hours in every day, the same as everyone else does. How you ultimately decide to use each and every minute is an extremely personal choice.
I would hope that if you need some help with this, you would make this a priority in figuring out, and then find the discipline within yourself to experiment with a new plan. I assure you the results could be wondeful.
And lastly I would encourage you to start right now. What absolutely has to be done today to make your life easier? A phone call to be made, a bill to be paid, a task to complete, a few minutes to sit and meditate and breathe in peace and love and healing? If you have not yet discovered how powerful you are in the creation of your own life, you have a lot of fun in the future discovering all about that.