Time management is crucial for living a beautiful life. It’s crucial for being productive at work and having a meaningful family life. It’s critical to being able to unplug and turn off when necessary, and get things done when it’s time for labor. And it’s very difficult to acheive, and to keep those lines from being crossed.
Sometimes it’s us — our own time management skills are lacking and we — and everyone around us — suffers for it. Because we haven’t accmplished what we’re supposed to when we’re supposed to, we end up working longer and, when we finally leave, we’re still tense and nervous because of all that’s been left undone. If we’re not managing our time well, important-but-not-urgent things fall by the wayside and soon, we find ourselves in a state of constant fire extinguishing, constant stress, constant deadlines looming over us.
Other times, other people’s lack of time and project management skills sneak into our own well-preserved worlds. This happened to me just recently on a project I am a part of. There is no clearly defined leader (at least not to my understanding). I had deliverables I was responsible for that I delivered last week. The next phase of the project was up to someone else. That person had decided (or discovered it was necessary) to work on Memorial Day. Well, Memorial Day is one of those few days where my family can truly unplug together, spend quality time as a family, where my husband chooses not to work on a chore around the home and I don’t have to go off to do shopping or errands or the like. But because someone else’s plan (or lack thereof) caused that person to have to work on Memorial Day, suddenly I was being peppered with text messages and urgent emails filled questions that have to be answered today. Because of someone else’s lack of time management, my kids had to wait while I answered these texts.
I’m guilty of it, too, believe me. As you might have noticed, I it’s been a few days since I posted. That’s because my schedule didn’t allow for daily posts and, although I tried, I wasn’t able to get ahead of my posts. I found myself in the boonies with no internet connection and unable to post. Fire!
But it’s not just there in my work life. When I get lazy and don’t take an hour to plan my meals on a Sunday afternoon, I end up both spending more money and eating poorly. I spend more money because there are the constant trips to the supermarket, where inevitably I come out with far more than I intended to buy when I went it. And if my salad isn’t chopped and ready to eat at lunch time, I often forgo it for something easier, like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Or, worse, I skip it altogether and end up chowing down on those little yellow goldfish at 3pm and overeating at dinner. All because of a lack of planning.
Maybe it’s your boss that’s the problem. I see that over and over again. I had one boss who seemed to not be able to see beyond two weeks out. Even if a project took five weeks of planning, if you came to him with a question about it that early, he’d get mad at you because he was dealing with that week’s emergency. He couldn’t understand how you could possibly be thinking about five weeks from now when we have this big, huge fire to put out RIGHT NOW!! But if he would just take some time to think about five weeks from now, then five weeks from now will be relaxed and calm, and because five weeks from now will be calm and relaxed, we can start thinking about five weeks from then. Productivity will soar, families will thrive, and the work will get done.
So this week, I’m committing to getting ahead of myself as much as possible. To planning and thriving and working to make sure that I am working smart.
How about you? What can you plan ahead for, do ahead of time, complete today that will make your life easier tomorrow?