Do you sometimes wish you had more time in the day to get more accomplished? Or maybe you wish you had more time to do enjoyable things instead of working and running errands? Or do you have friends who always seem too busy to join for dinner? Or maybe you’re that busy friend who has no extra time to add one more thing to your plate? Some people are sure that they could get more done if they could have more time in the day. Because with the limited time they have now, they can’t do it all.
But what does it mean to not have enough time? What does it mean to be busy – in fact, too busy? Laura Vanderkam gained an excellent perspective on this through analyzing “busy” people and “busy successful” people. Here’s what her conclusions were:
Think about this scenario – we jam pack our schedule with a long to-do list. Our friends call to invite us out to lunch. We respond with, “Sorry, I can’t hang out today. I’m so busy.” But later, we get home from work, and walk straight into a broken water heater disaster. So what do we do?
We deal with it.
That’s when the magic happens. Somehow, in our busy jam-packed schedule, we’re able to make time for the broken water heater. Time seems to stretch, as if we have more time all of a sudden. What people don’t realize, is that time is highly elastic. Time will always stretch for whatever we decide to put into it. So how did we make time stretch for the broken water heater? We simply, made it a priority.
The key to effective time management: treat your priorities like the broken water heater.
When we say “I don’t have time,” it basically means “It’s not a priority.” Time is a choice. We fill our lives with the things that deserve to be there. There are 24 hours in a day, multiply that by 7, we have 168 hours in a week! Granted, we spend 40 hours working (if you’re full time) and 56 hours sleeping (based on 8 hours). That leaves us with 72 extra hours a week for other things. That’s a lot of hours to spread! We can do so much more with those hours if we realize we have so much time.
Our problem is that bits of time get wasted on distractions like scrolling through social media on our phones while sitting on the couch. When we’re lazy, we’re wasting bits of time that could be used for enjoyable things like meditating, reading, family breakfast, or hobbies. When we look at time as a whole, we should see where the good stuff can be fit in.
Even if we’re busy, we make time for what matters. We make time for priorities, just like a broken water heater. When we focus on what maters, we can build the lives we want in the time that we have.
Here how we can treat our priorities like a broken water heater:
- First we need to decide what our priorities are. Think of the end results. Pretend it’s the end of the year and you’re discussing your annual review with your boss. Your boss is going through your accomplishments and your performance over the year. What would you want him to say? Those points that you would want him to bring up will be your goals for this year. We can apply this way of thinking both professionally and personally.
Think of what 3-5 things that you want on your end of the year review.
- Think about your weeks to come before you’re in them. Put priorities in your schedule. Friday afternoons are a good time to do this, after you can reflect on your week and before you enjoy your weekend. You can look ahead to your next week and plan the important tasks you want to get done.
- Put things into categories. This can be “work, relationships, self.” Make sure to fill each column with 2-3 things each. That way, you’re not just focusing on one category. You will feel more productive in a more well rounded way.
If you struggle to balance your time and make the most of it, or perhaps you feel like you’re wasting your life away, contact Crownview Medical Group to get in touch with a trained professional who can help you find motivation, stay focused, and determine your distractions.