As you’ll notice (if you look at the dates on my posts on Self Help Daily), I’ve been in the boxing ring with time management lately – and losing. At the end of the day, sometimes I feel like someone needs to stitch me up. The clock (time management’s lackey) insists on giving me just 24 hours a day. More Time!, I demand. Take what you have!, it deadpans, without so much as glancing in my direction. Always the same old response.
I won’t bother you with the details of my busyness (I’ll just say that I don’t have a daily to do list, I have to do lists). Running a web publishing business from home while being a wife, mother, AND working on my first book leaves me craving more hours in the day the way I crave more coffee in my cup and more chocolate chips in my cookies. It certainly doesn’t leave me feeling like a time management ninja or the queen of time management tips.
Normally, the writing, editing, typing, designing, cooking, cleaning, shopping, baking, and reading fall into their respective places pretty well – but lately things have just been whackadoodle (Kentuckian for nuts). A lot of it has to do with the upcoming holidays. I’m even having trouble concentrating on one of the things I love the most online – wordpress plugins (plugins are life). As wicked cool as they are, they just can’t compete with trying out new Christmas cookie and Thanksgiving pie recipes, decorating with Christmas loveliness, or shopping for my beloved family’s gifts. There should be a whole set of time management tips geared just for the holidays?
My cooking blog is also exploding, quite honestly – there are countless review requests, recipe requests, and so forth. Seriously, some of my blogs could keep three people busy, let alone one.
So much to do! Even when you love what you’re doing, sometimes you can feel overwhelmed when you’re up against the clock. It won’t even give an inch, no matter how much I plead or blackmail.
To manage time effectively and stand a chance of adhering to time management tips, we should continually shine the spotlight on our activities – hold them accountable for themselves. A few questions to periodically ask ourselves:
- How did I spend my time today? Did I balance work with play? Am I a well-rounded individual who doesn’t allow herself/himself to become all about either work or play?
- What activities did I choose to engage in? Some activities are a given (work, cooking, cleaning, laundry), others we choose. There’s a difference… and part of the answer lies right here.
- How much time did I spend on each activity? Could some of this time have been cut? Cut time leads to found time – it leads to the extra time we all crave at the end of the day.
- What were the results of these activities? Is there anything to show? Did the time produce an outcome that I can feel good about? Was the time spent “quality time” with a loved one? Did I accomplish something? Did I get somewhere?
- Was my mind stretched or challenged by any of these activities? Did I give my mind junk food or healthy nourishment? Do I read about the same things or do the same activities over and over? Am I creating mental fitness or tearing it down?
- Were any of the activities I engaged in within the last 24 hours relaxing? Here’s a funny thing about relaxation that I learned from my husband. He works full-time outside the home. He also runs two websites for his company and oversees two of the websites in our web publishing business. In addition, he’s looking at a couple of other online ventures. At the end of the day, after supper, he generally heads off to our home office to research, read, write, take part in web conferences, create, and so on. Once I told him that I was worried about him working too much. I told him that working all day and then coming home just to work more couldn’t possibly be good for him – I wondered where the relaxation was. He got a really quizzical look on his face (as he sat at his computer surrounded by books, with about 6 different windows open), and said, “This is relaxing.” He actually unwinds at the end of a day’s work with… you got it.. work. Of course, he does have a television in the office and if UK basketball, Andy Griffith, or St. Louis Cardinal’s baseball is on – his computer chair takes full advantage of it’s swivel!
A few nights ago, I wanted to make a huge pasta supper – with mozzarella garlic bread and the works. I decided to create a pasta sampler type meal, so I made some pasta with a marinara basil sauce, some with a browned butter mushroom sauce, and one pasta had three different cheeses. To keep each sauce from burning (while keeping it warm), and to ensure that my pasta was al dente, I had to rearrange the pans often on the burners. After the mushrooms sauteed in the butter sauce, it needed to make room for the marinara sauce… when the pasta was perfect, it had to get out of the way for the cheese sauce – and so on.
Personally, I’ve found that we have to approach our daily activities in a similar way – sometimes, something simply has to take a back burner. You don’t have to let it go completely, of course, you just have to say, “You sit right here, I’ll be back for you in a minute.” Whether it’s a preference to update your blogs daily, a rigid exercise routine, frequent tweets, or a favorite television show. Sometimes you have to realize that you can’t do everything and do it well – something has to get off of the front burner for a few days.
If I were to give all of my attention to the browned butter mushroom sauce while ignoring the pasta – the meal would have been ruined. And pointless!
Take a look at your daily activities and see if there’s anything you’re overcooking on one burner while under-cooking on another. After all, in every sense of the word we pretty much dine at the table of our own creation. Good, bad, underdone, creative, delicious, bland, forgettable, remarkable, outstanding – we have no one to blame or credit but ourselves.