For Gold, Peace, and Freedom


Can Time Be Managed?

October 9th, 2007

As in any kind of commercial endeavor, almost all of us wind up dealing with time management issues as some point. Those of us in the publishing and advertising industries, including bloggers, webmasters, and Internet marketers, understand that juggling all of the myriad tasks involved in managing a successful website can produce its fair share of headaches and stress. Although this article by Donna Zeller does not deal with any specific industry, the information that it contains can help us to manage our time more effectively and focus on increasing the efficiency of our money-making efforts.

There are so many things to do and so little time. You have to make choices between working, studying, taking care of your children or your aging parents, cleaning the house, or doing the yard and much more. Do you have time to have any fun at all? Today’s adults are torn in many directions. The effects of jam-packed schedules are something that everyone shares.

Depending on the issues at hand, the women take on the large share of some of these duties. Although men are beginning to do more, the functions of child rearing, caring for an elderly parent and the daily housekeeping tasks are still pretty much a woman’s domain. We are starting to see changes in this area due, in large part, to a woman’s increasing ability to obtain those higher paying jobs. Those jobs, of course, require more hours. Minimally, this results in a more equitable distribution of tasks. In some cases, where the man’s wages do not account for a large part of the total income, the household tasks become his responsibility.

Taking all of these venues into consideration, we still have to manage our time. How do we go about it? Well, there are some simple rules that one can follow. We will begin with the issues in your personal life.

First, even in your private life, you need to make a schedule and stick to it. I can hear everyone screaming already. Yes, of course, schedules are subject to change. However, if you keep the main items in some kind of routine, you will be surprised how easy it is to be a little more flexible with the jobs that take less time. For example, without a doubt, household duties take a large part of the personal schedule. Try to write down what must be done every week. Delegate, yes, I said delegate, the tasks fairly amongst everyone in the house. Ladies, you are the ones who have the most difficulty doing this. You need to realize that children can dust. Men can do the wash.

Second, don’t overextend yourself. Family and friends need to understand that everyone has to work today. Not many households have a stay-at-home mom or dad these days. Therefore, there are precious few hours that one has to accomplish necessary tasks. Saying no is all right.

And, don’t forget that important time where you and your family just kick back and enjoy your time together. The children will remember those Saturday mornings when you watch cartoons with them. Or you and your significant other will rejuvenate your love life after spending a quiet afternoon taking a walk together.

So far, I have emphasized the need to maintain some kind of order in your personal life. You might be thinking that your job or career is much more important. In some aspects, that is true. However, you will be able to function at a much higher level in that job or career if everything else has some kind of game plan.

It is a known fact that a lot of employers are using employees in multiple roles these days. Where there used to be at least two people doing a job, now that second job is being split so that you may have your job plus half of another job to do. This can be tough, especially if you have young children or elderly parents to take care of. On a more positive note, the need for provisions for family leave is being recognized. Employers are more willing to understand that family responsibilities sometimes do have to take precedence.

But, we still have to organize ourselves to get things done. Here are some habits that you might want to do to maintain organization without spending too much time on trying to get organized.

First, use your computer or palm pilot or whatever to maintain your “tasks to accomplish” list. Review that list at the beginning or at the end of every day.

Second, prioritize your jobs to get done. Do you work more efficiently in the morning? If this is the case, do the jobs that require the most energy or brainpower in the morning. Otherwise, you might want to do take care of these things in the evening if your particular career situation allows for it.

Third, learn to ask for help. Asking for assistance should not mean that you are not capable of getting the job done. If you have a plan in place, you should be able to see that there are some parts of the job that you shouldn’t be doing. Your time and talent is best utilized at the level that requires your abilities. Don’t be afraid to give some of those phone calls or reservations to be made to a receptionist. If someone has a problem with it, do not defend yourself. Instead, make sure that your boss, not the person criticizing, understands your plan to manage the project.

Fourth, I mentioned project management. Whether the task is large or small, it needs a beginning, middle and an end. Actually, monitoring the task will teach you organizational skills. By the completion of the job, those items that could have been done more efficiently will be apparent. You are also likely to remember what happened on a daily basis if you have a written schedule and make notes at the end of each day about what went well and what didn’t.

Fifth, sometimes the job is overwhelming. Perhaps, you need to look at a job change. Everyone has been caught in a position where no matter how hard they try to schedule their time, the job is just too much for one person. In this case, stop beating up on yourself. Recognize that the employer is a jerk and start to look for another position.

Keep in mind that you will become better at time management as you learn to work with a schedule. You will find that some things that work for you now will have to be modified or completely changed later. However, the overall practice of having a schedule in place will automatically give you the opportunity to actually remember what you need to do and to complete those tasks, even if it does need to be altered a bit as time goes on.

Remember, this is life. Deal with it. Don’t hide under the covers hoping that something magical will happen to that room that needs to get painted or the meeting that needs to be organized. Get out there and do it!

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