It’s Spring – at least that’s what the birds and bees and spring flowers are telling us. Lots of things to do and enjoy out there in the sunshine. Why am I stuck in here in front of a computer screen – doing projects for customers (even though they are lovely people)? If I finish this project the rain will come and I’ll miss the joy. Time never comes around again. Sometimes we need to take the opportunity (and get muddy fingers!). See my Garden blog >>
Halloween! and the clocks have gone back – so it’s officially winter, albeit the warmest Halloween since records began apparently. And – really scary – it’s 8 weeks to Christmas. (Pause for panic…)
I have no idea where the time goes.
Working from home means no commute time (I used to do an hour drive each way ), very little work-related travel, no pointless meetings or office politics. Looking back at old (paper) diaries I can see I used to do 3 or 4 meetings each day often at 3 different sites. How I managed to get any real work done I have no idea – and I had kids then!
I’ve been to countless time management courses and read many books on the topic. They generally reckon you should prioritise and do the tasks that are most important or that will make the biggest difference to your career or life generally. “Eat that Frog!” by Brian Tracy recognises that sometimes stuff gets in the way of the exciting, life-changing projects and you should get those done. Mark Forster in “Do it tomorrow” proposes a scheme where you put off all absolutely non-urgent tasks till tomorrow (by which time some just go away) and make a little time each day to work on the big project.
But we still have a finite amount of time to spend on work, projects, family, relaxing etc. and we just cannot do everything.
An alternative is not to care whether things get done properly. That’s not an option for most of us. We care about our clients, colleagues, families and our self-esteem and want to complete a job well and if possible on-time. We don’t want to disappoint them. But there isn’t enough time to do everything we have to and want to and also to give time to the people we love.
We have to TAKE TIME. Prioritising tasks and the use of our time means deciding what’s important and doing those as efficiently as possible – and NOT DOING the rest of the things on our “To Do” list. We must take the time we could be spending on things lower down our priority list and spend it on what’s important to us. This may mean some hard decisions and can be difficult if our goals are too ambitious. We have to decide what we want (what we really, really want!) and be brutal about leaving the rest. If this sounds defeatist it at least at the end of each day, week or year we can look back and count what we have done (our “Done” list) – and be happy with our achievements rather than worrying about what ‘s still on our “To Do” list.