Are you Managing Time or is Time Managing you?
Managing your time is a lot like managing your diet. Painful, frustrating and rarely successful. Work too hard and you end up spending the weekend on the couch – vegged out with a bottle of wine. Eat too strictly and you end up spending the weekend on the couch – vegged out with a bag of lollies and three packets of Pringles.
Sticking to a schedule is often more trouble than it’s worth. Rather than feeling you aren’t getting everything done that needs to get done, now you must also deal with the guilt of not being able to stick to a schedule that tells you what needs to get done.
Don’t let time be the boss of you by scheduling yourself into oblivion. By rigorously maintaining a schedule, you aren’t managing your time. You’re letting your time manage you. It’s time to declare who’s the boss.
Why do you Want to Manage your Time?
Think about why you want to manage your time. Is there something not getting done that needs to get done? Often we push ourselves unnecessarily hard just to make things go faster. But for what?
Enjoy the process of building, creating a career, watching it grow. Ask yourself: which are the activities that sustain you and which are the ones that drain you? Let yourself be freed up for the important stuff.
Are you Empowered or Enslaved by Time?
There are two ways of looking at time; you are either empowered by it or you are enslaved by it.
Being empowered by time means you measure it by the quality rather than the quantity of the work you get done. Rather than developing a system that lets you pump out a high volume of paperwork, you develop a system that creates more freedom in your schedule, freedom that will allow you to create meaningful work.
Time is enslaving when you compare how much you are getting done with how much everyone else is getting done. What use is someone else’s barometer? It’s empowering when you feel that what you’re doing truly has value – to yourself, your employers and/or your business.
Be the Boss of your Time!
You shouldn’t have to earn “free” time. It’s an oxymoron, when you put it like that. If you must portion out your time, portion out your work time, not your pleasure time. You be the boss. Decide who and where you’d like to give your time and stick to your guns. Or change your mind. Whatever. That’s the whole point.
Be present in all that you do. If you’re wishing you were somewhere else, wishing you were doing something else or wishing you were working with someone else, you’re not present in the moment. Only when you are present in your work can you produce those real, core-shaking, transformational projects.
Expect time to obey your rules.
Amy Knapp is a staff writer for InsideTrak, an Australian job search website.