One of the Best-Kept Time Management Secrets Do you want to learn how to truly master your day so that you can have more happiness and the life you want to enjoy it.
Here’s one, it’s the evening after a long day of work. You are tired, and in dire need of a moment of relaxation. It also happens that tonight is the premiere of one of your favorite shows, so you turn on the TV, get comfortable on the couch, and thoroughly enjoy yourself for two hours.
On another night, again you are tired after a long day of work and in need of a moment of relaxation. So you turn on the TV, and start flipping through the channels. Next thing you know, two hours have elapsed. And you are quite upset at yourself for wasting those two hours on nothing. you could have called your best friend Sue instead, and would have had a lot more fun!
To an outside observer, you did the same thing both nights: watch TV for two hours. But you know better. You know that one night you made a conscious decision to watch TV, while the other night you randomly turned it on and stayed in front of it. One night you made a conscious choice as to how to use your time, the other no choice, or a subconscious choice.
Time management is a misnomer. As a time management and productivity coach, I see everyday confirmation that it’s not about time, it’s about choice. Everyone has 1,440 minutes every day, and they will pass no matter what we do. What makes a difference is how those minutes are spent, the choices made as to what to do at any given time.
Many people, unfortunately, tend to not consciously choose how they will use their time. Now, don’t misunderstand me: the traditional techniques of what is called time management are valuable.
Among other things, they help you dramatically reduce “lost” time, those few minutes here or there that are lost because of an inefficient use of your time, and you certainly should work on them, but recovering those “lost” minutes or hours will not help you truly master your day.
What makes the difference is the conscious choice of what you do every day, and the direction of those choices towards your goals and your wants.
What gives you a feeling of accomplishment and/or joy at the end of the day, and eventually the life you want, isn’t so much the number of things that you’ve crossed off your list, as it is the number of things you’ve done that are moving you forward or that you truly and wholeheartedly enjoyed.
So I invite you, over the next few days, to keep track of what you are doing and ask yourself several times a day: “Will what I am doing right now move me forward toward my goals? Is it something truly necessary? Is it something that makes me happy? (over the long term, not just in the moment – TV channel surfing may feel good in the moment, but we rarely feel good about it when we look back on it)?”
If not, what can you do instead that will yield a yes to at least one of these questions?
Do you want to learn how to truly master your day so that you can have the life you want and enjoy it?
Karin Stewart, Ph.D., is a specialist in time, stress and energy management and work-life balance, and shows service professionals, solopreneurs and working moms how to get more done, in less time, and without the stress every day, so they can fully enjoy their lives. Working both in person and by phone, Karin’s clientele spans the country and the globe and includes individuals as well as organizations.
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