We know the value of time management is multifarious. Time well-managed reduces stress, increases energy and productivity, generates a sense of personal fulfillment, strengthens family bonds and financial stability and contributes overall to better health.
The practice of time management, however, can be elusive to even the most seasoned among us. Life happens and getting derailed is a reality. The key is to recognize the derailment as only a temporary glitch and get back on track; don’t let a derailment cause a disastrous crash.
I am my own best example. Looking back at the start of this column, I realize it has been eight months since I last posted. But now I am picking up where I left off and getting back on track. Berating myself the lapse is counterproductive. The past cannot be changed.
Did I get derailed? Yes.
Did I have a devastating crash? No.
If, as I state in my introductory column, “Wellness is a word that describes you, doing your best,” then the act of balancing our family, goals, priorities, work and self to be our best relies on some set of time management skills. Often we allude to time management as an encompassing concept without taking a conscious look at what that entails and actually implementing an action plan.
How often do we get to the end of our day and realize it has been very busy, but we haven’t really accomplished much or we haven’t accomplished what we envisioned for ourselves at the start of the day?
Let’s start by asking ourselves if we recognize the difference between matters of urgency and matters of importance. Those of urgency might be a colleague’s ‘crisis’, a phone call, an email or text message, or whatever happens to ‘grab’ our attention and take us away from our primary goal. These all nibble away at the time we need to find for our important task.
Finding time, of course, is a misnomer – we have 24 hours each day, no matter what, and as hard and long as we look we will not find more hours in the recesses of any day.
Matters of importance include whatever task is worthy of being at the top of the day’s to-do list; completing a big project, filing a report or writing a proposal. The solution lies in setting the time aside and devoting a focused – i.e. distraction-free-hour (or two or three…) to the task at hand. We need to see the distractions for what they are before they distract us, and sequester any distractions to another time slot. This way of thinking will initially take cognizant attentiveness until it becomes habit.
With important matters attended to, the snowball effect begins. We’ll get to the end of the day and feel satisfaction at having completed what we set out to do. This sense of satisfaction and productivity reduces our stress.
Reduced stress spreads like the roots of a tree to stabilize our lives, improve our health – both emotional and physical-, allow us to breathe life and happiness into the lives of others, enhance our relationships and ultimately free up more time for ourselves.
The topic of time management is enormous. It pervades into other of life’s arenas, so you’ll notice this topic finding its way into many columns. My hope is that by viewing time management as a concrete and tangible thought process that can be changed, molded and developed, you will carve time out for you to be you, doing your best.
If you would like more time management tips now, visit my Vitality Spa website.
Live long. Live Well.