Where does the time go?
by Amanda LeBlanc
If you are anything like me, time is moving like a freight train, and sometimes I wonder where the heck it’s going. I look at my kids and I know that yesterday they were in diapers and today they are little girls. Time is not on my side. Hell, time is not on anyone’s side. I have been in the homes of incredibly organized men and women. I have worked and met with ultra-successful business people, and one thing they all struggle with is a lack of time and how to manage it. I struggle with it. Do you?
To do lists for the home, kid’s activities, work projects, volunteer committees, the lists go on and on. I recently started watching the show Mad Men on AMC. The first season is set in the early 60’s, and the women are all at home with their big, puffy dresses and their cute, little aprons. They seem to have no worries, and the days seem to last forever. I found myself wanting to jump through the TV, throw on an apron and live in the world of black and white. What would the world be like if for one week we didn’t use a computer or a cell phone? Doesn’t the thought scare and exhilarate you all at the same time? I receive hundreds of emails, texts and calls in a day. It’s just so hard to keep up, but somehow I make it through. How do the most successful people handle it? Well, they handle it well.
The best thing you can do to start enjoying life more and slowing down that train is to stop and take control of your time. William Penn said it best: “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” In order to take control of your time, the first thing you need to know is how to say “no.” I tell my clients daily that too much stuff in too small of a space can never be organized. The same can be said for activities and time. There are only so many hours in a day. You have to be realistic about how much you can tackle in one 24-hour period. I find people tend to overestimate the time it will take to do the things they do not like and underestimate the time it takes to do the things they want to do. If you want to be in charge of your time, you have to be realistic about what you can do, how long it will take and learn to say “no.”
Another important aspect of learning time management is to have a planner. I get asked all the time what kind of planner people should use. I know what I like and what I use, but the question is what do you like? This is about understanding what works for you and what you are comfortable with. I am a paper girl. I love a paper planner where I can write things down. I love color coding, highlighting and scratching things off my list. Oh, the joy! I realize we are now an electronic society, and if it works for you, great. After you decide what works for you, then stick with it. A common mistake people make is to have multiple ways of keeping up with their activities and scheduled events. If you want a planner or calendar to work for you, be faithful to it. Don’t cheat with another one. This way you know you will not forget an appointment or forget where you’ve written something down.
The last bit of advice I can give you to help get you started on better time management is to learn your peak times. I have realized I am a morning person. If I need to tackle something difficult or make a big decision, I know that it needs to be handled before 2 p.m. The bigger the project or decision, the earlier in the day I have to handle it. After 2 p.m., I schedule things that need to be done but don’t require as much brain power.
Taking control of your time is key to a well-balanced and happy life. Get started today!
“Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life.” — Alan Lakein
Until next time, keep it organized!