Today begins a multi-part blog series on one of my favorite topics-
TIME MANAGEMENT! (No seriously, it really is).
But first some parameters for your consideration…
- Busy is not a contest.
I’m sure you have witnessed this phenomenon:
Employee 1: Wow, this has been a crazy week, I worked more than 55 hours.
Employee 2: Tell me about it I worked 65.
Administrator: Well back in my day, that was the norm. We worked 70-80 hour weeks and that was just what was expected.
Usually when someone laments about their number of hours worked my gut response (not always just inside my head) is, “Well maybe if you were better at your job it wouldn’t take as long?”
Ouch. (Note- I don’t advise you repeating this line if you’d like to remain friends with the offender).
The reality is, in MOST cases, we are all in control of the amount of hours we work. It is this type of workaholic one-upmanship that breeds a stressed out culture. Feel guilty when you just work a 40 hour week? STOP! Forget the hours. Count the difference you are making, the youth you are developing, the lives you are changing. Sometimes it will take more time, sometimes it will take less. Either way- don’t contribute to the workaholic one-upsmanship culture.
Long ago, I made the commitment to myself that I would never utter anything along the lines of, “I’m so busy.” I’ve never regretted it. And I don’t think it’s ever caused anyone to assume I don’t work hard.
2. No time management plan works for everyone. Stop trying to imitate others.
Discover what works for you.
Personally, I am a big fan of Laura Vanderkam. She makes these INCREDIBLE spreadsheets in which you can fill out your 168 hours (the number of hours in a week) in 30 minute and even 15 minutes increments. Sound slightly insane? Maybe, but I love it! Every Sunday afternoon I fill out my spreadsheet (and yes- I even plan for sleep time, etc.). Then, at a glance, I can see where I may need to alter things to make that week’s schedule the most productive and fulfilling it can be.
Do I ever follow the spreadsheet exactly? Nope! But it’s a great way for me to visualize my week, and because I have thought out my week so deeply in advance, I find that: a) I’m not anxious about whether or not I’ll have the time to accomplish my goals, b) I’m able to respond more intuitively to requests from others during the week, because I know exactly how much time I can spare.
Now, will that system work for you? It’s totally possible it might just make you anxious and actually hinder your productivity. Great, don’t use it! Embrace what works for YOU.
3. An attitude of helplessness will ensure no change.
“I can’t do that.” — You are totally right, YOU can’t.
“I’ve tried it all, nothing works for me.” — You are totally right, it won’t work for YOU.
You have more control over your life and your work than you may think. However, it is YOU who chooses to take on that control. That’s a scary, scary thing…that YOU are mostly responsible for what happens in your life. Own it.
I’ll see you back here next week where we uncover your personal time management hurdles.