Time For You Features

Time Management

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by Kim Olver, MS, NCC, LPC NurseZone

Does it ever feel like there is never enough time in the day? Are you always rushing? Do you feel stressed at the end of the day? Do you believe that you are not accomplishing what you hoped? Better time management may be the answer.

Dr. Respect at www.marcusgentry.blogspot.com says we must “protect, organize and prioritize our time.” If you are having any of the above listed difficulties, then my guess is you are missing at least one of those elements.

Protecting our time is important. We all have the same amount of time in a day. It’s what we do with it that is critical. Do you find yourself doing things you really don’t want to do or spending time with people who take more than they give? These are examples of not protecting your time.

Your time is a gift to spend, as you will. You can spend it wisely or you can waste it. It’s your choice. However, one thing you can’t do is get it back to do over again.

Sometimes we all do things that we don’t really want to do. When we do things it should be in furtherance of a bigger goal than we have. Maybe we don’t want to go to work today but we do want to collect our paycheck at the end of the week. We choose to go to work to get to the bigger payoff at the end of the week—a paycheck.

There are things that we do that just aren’t important. They do not lead to anything and waste our time. Can you think of any activities that fall into this category for you? Do you know that the average American watches on average three hours of television each day? How is that for a time waster?

I know when I first got my computer, I unwisely spent my time on computer games. I don’t mean an occasional game here or there. I’m talking about an addiction, an obsession—playing solitaire until 2 a.m. If I didn’t get that under control, I would have not only been wasting my time, but I would have been wasting my life.

I have three general categories for which I like to protect my time.

One: Making progress towards work/life goals

These are the things I do to move me forward in life. These are generally geared toward helping people in some way, generating more clientele and increasing my income.

In this category, it is my sincere hope that one day I will have enough income to hire out all those necessary jobs that I don’t love to do so that I can focus all my time on the things that are my passion. Until that time, there are still things I do to move myself that I don’t totally love. However, I try to get them done as quickly and as painlessly as possible.

Two: Spending time with people I care about

I protect time for the special man in my life, my sons, my extended family and my friends. There are some people whom I avoid when I am protecting my time. They are the ones who generally take more than they give. Do you have people like that in your life? If they can’t be totally eliminated, at least minimize the time you give to these people.

Three: Doing things that bring pleasure or joy

There are things I do that I can do alone or with others when I need relaxation. I like to read a good book, watch a good movie, horseback ride, canoe, ski, walk in the woods and something I got to do this weekend--swim. Protect your time so that you get to do the things that bring you joy.

Organizing your time has to do with having a good time management system. Don’t wait until something is due tomorrow to start on it. Have a good plan and systems in place so you are in charge of your time instead of your schedule being in charge of you.

Another aspect of organizing one’s time is maintaining laser-like focus. Did you know that the average person’s mind wanders around seven to eight times a minute? Developing good work habits that include staying focused until the job is done is critical to organization.

Prioritizing your time has to do with deciding what’s most important. I said I have three categories--goall-oriented actions, time with important people and time doing enjoyable activities. They don’t necessarily prioritize in that order. There must be a balance. I know that when I spend too much time working, I start to feel on edge and tense. This is generally a strong indicator that I need to switch my focus to one of the other areas. A person cannot be in control of their time if all they do is goal-oriented activity. A healthy balance is necessary for good time management and a healthy lifestyle.

To learn about time management, visit www.Coachingforexcellence and schedule a time management workshop for your workplace or check our events calendar for upcoming teleclasses, chats and workshops. .