Sunday, January 2, 2011

Time is ticking away

I think that as we enter the new year all of us could use some help with Time Management so I thought that would be a great thing to work on. All of my information will be sourced from the book "Time Management from the Inside Out" By Julie Morgenstern with my own thoughts and comments thrown in. You can get the book for $10.88 on Amazon and she does have a new volume out as well.

I decided to start by talking about why we have problems with time management. Morgenstern does a three part diagnostic in her book and I will use this to help you figure out why you have problems.

Level one: Technical Errors:

This covers those people who just haven't learned a skill or don't have the right tools. A great example I can think of is people who do not have a written or electronic planner yet have an extremely busy life and wonder why they forget appointments. To those people, I would say speak to someone you know who is incredibly organized and has great time management and ask what works for them. For you, it might be as easy as an $8.00 planner.

Level two: External Realities:

Sometimes we simply have things in life that make managing our time difficult. A great example of this is being a mom of a special needs child. You can never predict how a day goes so often your schedule gets off and you end up not completing tasks you had hoped to for the day. If this is you, giving yourself grace to understand that some things cannot be controlled and trying to UN-schedule your life a bit might be the best answer.

Level three: Psychological Obstacles:

This is when certain fears or psychological blocks keep us from accomplishing our goals. By recognizing self sabotaging behaviors, we can correct these issues. An example of this might be an older student who has decided to complete college and for fear of being rejected, puts off filling out the applications for admission and financial aid.

Now that you have assessed which categories you fall into for time management issues (and it may be all three), I will use the book to help you understand several categories of each. Today I will cover one error in each category so everyone has a chance to work on their specific problem.

Technical Errors:

Possible Error # 1: Tasks have no "home"

People often say that they will do things when they get time. You will never get time if that is your strategy. Things like housework, paying bills, writing thank you notes, etc... are not usually fun tasks therefore we will find anything to do besides those tasks. The best strategy is to schedule a specific time to set down and do these tasks. If you schedule these tasks, they will be done and out of your way instead of a constant nagging in your mind.

External Realities:

External Reality # 1: A health problem limits your energy

If a chronic health condition does limit your energy, schedule tasks that are of the utmost importance for earlier in your day to use the energy you have wisely. If you have a feeling that you may have something wrong with your physical body, schedule an appointment with your physician first and get a diagnostic. It could be as easy as a diet change or a supplement to turn your life around. It also could be a lack of sleep or poor nutrition. The best thing to schedule is your health care first.

Psychological Obstacles:

Psychological Obstacle # 1: Unclear goals and priorities

Often people will say that their family comes first or their health comes first but somehow that doesn't translate into their lives. The best step is to figure out your priorities in order and designate tasks and goals to those things. For example, if you say that your health is first, skipping meals or not sleeping is not speaking to that goal. Get that in order first and many things will fall in place!

Come over tomorrow for more errors, realities, and obstacles to getting your time managed!

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