“I like to do weird things in the shower, like drink my coffee, brush my teeth and drink a smoothie. It’s good time management.”
Understanding Time Management
Time. We don’t have enough of it. And that clock keeps ticking. There are mountains of books on time management and we can feel like we are scattered all over the world.
Let’s take a look!
First of all, isn’t it odd that we “spend” time like a currency? Time keeps moving, you can’t save it up.
There are 168 hours in a week. The federal government has mandated a 40 hour work week, so that is 128 hours free. But, we do have to sleep, that is 56 hours if we get a good week’s rest. So, that is 72 hours a week to be free and fancy and to do the things we need to do. That is more time free than we spend at our job.
It is unfair, really, to say 8 hours of work, 8 hours of sleep and 8 hours of free time. We have an hour lunch break so that is 9 hours on the job. We also have to prepare and travel, so that is one more hour each way. And, if our company is generous and has given us an e-mail account, then we probably work for free for another hour. Now we see that we dedicate 12 hours each week day to our job, leaving only 5 hours to our selves. And that is okay, America is the most productive country in the world because we are willing to take our work home and work for free.
Those 5 “free” hours a day is a lot though and we have full weekends without work. Still, we do have to maintain our lives; family, laundry, groceries, bills.
I had assigned a paper to my students, it was to be one page long and a description of light in the world. One of my students did not do it. She said she “didn’t have the time” but I know that I saw her dancing at a party the night before. The truth is that she didn’t “take the time”.
Honestly, we have a ton of time. Yes, you do. It is natural to say or feel that you don’t have the time to do something. The truth is that you don’t take the time to do it. Taking is an aggressive stance that you need to do to get control of your life.
There are people who do the same thing that you do every day but also have a second job. Or they are going to college on top of that job. And even raising a kid without a partner. We have to stop claiming that we don’t have the time to do a something because that means that we are settling for less in our own lives and, really, letting ourselves down.
Still, life does not have to be all productive. There is some idea that we throw about called “wasting time”. And people will be glad to tell you that you are wasting time; they might even tell you that it is a waste of time to vote. Reading is a waste of time, games are a waste of time, walking is a waste of time, pets are a waste of time. Learning to draw is a waste of time. These are all lies and don’t let anyone jive you.
If you can afford to waste time, then you earned that wasted time. I don’t believe that there is any such thing as wasting time. You could add a qualifier, “as opposed to being productive” but I’d argue with you about the definition of productive — that there are some lies in there too!
One trap that we all fall into is “setting aside some time”. My kitchen cabinets need to be cleaned out. I’d never dream of doing this at nine o’clock at night. People don’t clean out their kitchen cabinets at nine o’clock, they set aside some time on the weekend. I don’t do it on the weekend because that is my free time and I’d rather go to the movies and make my famous sauce for dinner and relax and read a book. Two things here: I really don’t want to bother to clean my kitchen cabinets and there is nothing insane about doing it at nine o’clock at night. It’d probably take less than an hour, I’d be done in time to watch the news.
Why let an undone notion like cleaning the cabinets bother me? It simply does not matter if some old cans of creamed corn are way in the back. They’ll sit there just fine until the end of time. The trap, and I might beat myself up about it, is that I feel like I should be more productive and set aside some time to do that project.
I could beat myself up for not cleaning my cabinets while watching re-runs of Barney Miller on television or I could admit that I really don’t care about my kitchen cabinets. Nothing could be less important to me than my kitchen cabinet, that stack of old bills on the table, that box of books, my clothes that don’t fit me in my closet, old photos; I’d admit that there is some urge to “organize” but; seriously, I don’t care. We put doors on our cabinets, lids on our boxes and made garages: out of sight, out of mind!
So, the key to time management is to be honest. If you want to lose ten pounds, learn Chinese, write a blog post every day, have a tidy house or be a political activist; you are going to do it. Nothing can stop you, so great is your desire. You will take and spend the time to do it. Wishing to do those things is fine! Don’t beat yourself up about it if you don’t, be honest that it really really isn’t that important to you.
Here at the Profound Bartender, the best time is that spent with you.