Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Time Management Rehab

Today I want to share some incredible news with you.

It's over!

No more!

You no longer have to be a slave to some kind of "To-Do" system.

They don't work.

We all know it, yet we still get out our notepads and calendars, in an attempt to categorize everything that needs to be done, so we don't let anyone down.

We do this so we don't fail our families.

We do this so we don't mess up at work.

Yet, somehow, in the midst of all this, planning for personal goals and aspirations gets lost.

This is one of the many ways in which traditional time management fails.


I was sent to a time management training seminar by my employer.

They told me the great thing about this program was that it was designed so that I would never drop the ball at work and my personal life would not be ignored.

I was given a lovely leather bound planner and a catalog filled with special sheets and inserts for the planner, that I could order at the company's expense.

I was taught a no-fail system in which I prioritized my to-do list so nothing would ever be forgotten.

So I would be an optimized, fully functional, top-of-the-line employee.

Funny thing, though.

Anything I wanted to do, for me - you know, the esoteric, not fully here yet, ideas and deep inner knowing/purpose kind of stuff - was not included in this time management model.

There was no room for achieving dreams.

And even more interesting was the method they used to include my personal life.

Anything that was not work related was to be put at the bottom of the list so that "a work/life balance [would] be created when the two lists meet in the middle."


*scratching head*

TIME (forgive the pun) FOR A CHANGE!

I've done a lot of research since those confusing days, filled with lovely, expensive planners, with special sheets, custom designed to help me meet my obligations.

There are all sorts of time management philosophies out there.

I love Julie Morgenstern's "Time Map" philosophy. (Click HERE to read a post I wrote under my pen name, where I broke down this idea into easy to digest chunks.)

Leonie Dawson makes these awesome yearly planners, designed to help you bring your dreams into reality - personal and business.

You get new planners every year when you join her Shining Life Academy (Yes, I will get some "thank you money" for sending you her way if you choose to purchase anything via these links.)

There are all sorts of other ideas out there to help you overcome procrastination, become highly effective and get more done in a day.

Some of them may speak to you, some of it might just down right piss you off.

But what I've found is you have to do what feels right for you.

If it doesn't feel light, if it doesn't feel right, then I'd venture to say it's not a good fit for you.


Here's how I manage my time.


Not the answer you were expecting, I'm sure.

Yet somehow I seem to stay on track, do what I need to do and do what I love to do.

And I do it with a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

I use the tools at my disposal to create a big picture for what I want to accomplish for the year.  For me, that's the Dawson planners.

You have to have a big picture in mind, otherwise you are just spinning through your day with no direction, accomplishing a bunch of tasks that have no meaning.

Once I have the big picture laid out, then I apply what worked for me from Morgenstern's philosophy.

Sure, I created a Time Map when I first stumbled upon this great idea.  It was fun.  It helped me feel a bit of control over the direction of my life.

This was created three years ago - A lot of this has changed, but the basic values are still the same.

But what it really did was:
  1. Help me to define what I value the most in life.
  2. Helped me to see how my days naturally unfold, so I know when the best time is for what I need to do.
  3. Allowed me to finally feel a sense of freedom because I was able to see how all of my obligations and responsibilities actually fit into bringing my dreams into reality.
  4. Helped me realize that going off course is part of it all. That's the one guarantee in life - UNPREDICTABILITY! - what matters is getting to what you can, when you can.
  5. Helped me recognize and put an end to "time wasters".

Figure out what you value.

Make a "To-Do" list of tasks that will lead you to your "big picture" dreams and goals.

Keep track of your responsibilities and obligations.

While you're doing what you have to do, see which value these tasks fall under so you don't feel resentful or depleted.  So that even cleaning your boss's coffee pot will have purpose.

(If I were to change anything from my original set of values, I would change Purpose to Biz, as I've come to realize we can live in purpose no matter what we are doing.)  

Do at least one task from your Big Picture To-Do List every day.

This will make it easier to navigate the unpredictability of life and make it easier to recognize your "time wasters".

If you're listening to your friend complain about her husband for the 10th time this week, that's time that could go to something you truly value.  

Even though some of your time is completely out of your control, there is a lot of you time that you can control.

Think about it.

You really do have the time you need to create the life you really want.


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