Granted this states the obvious but it does capture the feeling about time. It’s not that you don’t like having time to get things done or time to spare. That’s not the problem. The reason that “time” evokes such strong feelings is when your calendar is so crowded that time feels more like a curse than a benefit.
The way to take away the frustration over time is to better use the hours that you have. Everyone works with the same 24 hours but some people seem to get more out of it. They certainly aren’t expanding time, that’s not possible. What they do is to use time efficiently and that’s the essence of time management.
The most challenging aspect of time management is to decide that you really do want to manage your time. If you are certain about that, then you have to decide if you are willing to make changes in your schedule and activities.
There is no cosmic shoehorn that allows you to cram 35 hours of work into a 24-hour day. When you hear that someone wants to “make more time,” forget it. There is no way to expand the hours. You simply need to make choices about how to use the hours in each day.
When you think of ways to do more in the same time period, don’t even think about cutting back on sleep. That’s a common mistake. You need seven to eight hours of sleep nightly for health, energy and to work at prime efficiency.
Working late and cutting back to five or six hours might be ok once in a week, but it’s not good to do all week then think you can catch up on the weekend. A sleep-deprived body and exhausted brain are not your best assets. You’ll get much more accomplished by getting a full night’s sleep and tackling that new client proposal or special project in the morning.
If you have more work, family and leisure activities than you can fit into a reasonable day, then you need to make some choices. Before you start to associate time management with giving up something, understand that this is not the point. You can’t manage your time until you decide what goes and what stays.
Even then it’s not about giving up something. You can alternate some activities. For example, if you like to play golf but rush through the course to take the children fishing, then play golf two weekends and set up an all day fishing adventure on the other two weekends. This way you can enjoy both leisure pursuits without being so frantic that the fun is taken out of having fun.
Time management isn’t just about finding more ways to cram in more work. Effective time management also helps you find time for leisure or even to sit around and do nothing. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Imagine if you had time to lounge by the pool, read a novel instead of a company report or ride your bike around the park.
That’s not a fantasy or something that you put off until retirement. Having time for yourself is possible, if you are willing to apply time management techniques to your busy life.
Just get out the eraser because you have to start by trimming back to a manageable amount of activity to fit into a 10-12 hour day with 8 hours to sleep. That leaves 4 to 6 hours to spend each day. If you take away worry time and zoning out in front of the television, you have just found time. Now it’s up to you to manage that time.