This week and next I want to share ten tips for managing your time contributed by Tamara Holland. Tamara is a post-conviction attorney for condemned prisoners in California, a visual artist, a screenwriter, and a mystery writer who lives in California and Croatia. Here are her first five tips; five more next week!
When we’re lucky enough to have responsibilities and feel engaged, we also typically feel we don’t have “enough time.” Our screens — computer, smart- phone, others — usually intensify this feeling. Because no matter how darned wonderful our screens are at making many tasks faster and easier, that benefit comes from the fact that screens make people, ideas, information and connectivity instantaneously ever-present, ever-stimulating — and ever- demanding. Phew! Suddenly, figuring out how to manage our time so we can actually get things done feels itself like a part-time job. Here are ten tips to help you streamline that process.
TIP ONE: THINK LONG-TERM FIRST
Steven Covey puts it well in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: “Begin with the end in mind.” Literally. Covey asks us to imagine our own eulogies. What do we want people to remember us for? Which boils down to, how did we spend our time? Most of us probably don’t want to be remembered as, say, internet power surfers. Figure out what matters to you, and commit to it by voting with your time.
TIP TWO: CALENDAR YOUR CHOICES
We honor those time choices by scheduling them into our calendars. Again, literally. Write in your calendar the hours you’ll spend on each activity that matters to you. Keep track, just like we keep track of dental appointments, when to pick up the kids, when to be at work. Because isn’t how we want to be remembered just as important? Treat it like it is.
TIP THREE: PUT YOUR BODY ON THE TO-DO LIST
Taking care of our bodies — consistently! — has to be an honored priority. We all know how tempting it is to “get more done” by cutting out exercise, and cutting into our sleep hours. That method of operating is unsustainable. It never, ever works over the long haul. So, feed yourself nutritious food. Get enough sleep enough every night. Exercise regularly. Meditate if you can.
TIP FOUR: SCHEDULE TIME FOR YOURSELF
A friend calls this the “oxygen mask instruction.” Flight attendants tell us that if oxygen masks become necessary, we should put on our own first, and then help others. That’s because when we’re out of commission, we can’t help anyone. Time is just like oxygen. When we don’t spend any time rejuvenating ourselves by doing what we love, we’re ultimately depleting our capacities to be of service anywhere.
TIP FIVE: SET GOAL DEADLINES AND BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEM
Based on what you value, give yourself a goal and pick a realistic time by which you’ll achieve it. Then, tell someone what you intend to achieve, and by when. If you’d rather use technology for this accountability check, look at websites like stickK.com — where you can make a contract with yourself, and designate either a reward or punishment.
Okay! Five more next week!