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I Am Mastering Time Management!

November 15, 2010 · 52 comments

in Life

OK, so the title might be a stretch.  However, my return to employment has had an unexpected benefit:

I am making the most of my time!

Before, I had all day long to take care of little things.  The problem was, I kept thinking ‘Oh, I have all day tomorrow, I will do it then’.  Unfortunately, things were not getting done, and I cannot even explain why.   Now, I know my available time is limited, so I work like a whirlwind to get everything done with the small amount of time I have.

You should see me go!  Permission slips are promptly signed, appointments are made, dishes are done right after breakfast, laundry is folded.   I even have ‘to do’ lists and get to check things off!  My biggest question is, how much time did I waste before?  Yikes, I cringe to think about it.  (I know some of my time was spent exercising, I haven’t done that as much since I started working again.  At least that was a good use of time…)

I have seen this phenomenon before.  One winter, my son didn’t play school basketball for about 6 weeks.  He ended up joining the team mid-way through the season, but during those 6 weeks, his grades suffered and he was kind of a lump.  The exact opposite happened that I expected.  I thought he would devote more time to studying and his grades would be off the chart!  Instead, I think he had the attitude of ‘I can always do it later tonight’.  Next thing you know, it was MUCH later, and he ended up having to rush to get things done.  His grades were still very good, but I thought they would be fantastic given all the extra time in his schedule.  What is funny is I didn’t think the same thing would happen to me.  I am a mature adult for God’s sake!  Well, I thought I was.

Has this ever happened to you?  Did you ever find that you were more productive when you had LESS time?

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{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole November 15, 2010 at 8:40 am

Yeah, usually during summer. Somewhere there has to be a happy medium though.

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Everyday Tips November 15, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Oh, in summer everything in my house to heck in a handbasket because we have too much free time. Fall and spring are my times of insanity.

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First Gen American November 15, 2010 at 10:51 am

My high school chemistry teacher used to say “the less time you have, the more you get done”. It was her way of explaining why students who worked and/or did sports were often also got good grades.

I never forgot that advice and she’s so right.

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Everyday Tips November 15, 2010 at 5:46 pm

I agree with your chem teacher! I saw this with my son. When he didn’t play basketball for part of a season, he just lounged around and his brain was turning to mush. He was much more productive once he was busy everyday.

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Squirrelers November 15, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Funny how we both had a productivity post today.

I see what you mean with getting more done when you have less time, even if it seems counterintuitive. I think it comes down to motivation and acting when pressured. PErsonally, I have fallen into this trap as well, where I get out of “work mode” and start to relax when there is more leisure time available.

I’m working on trying to set more tangible, daily goals for myself, so that I’m productive whether or not there are pressing deadlines or issues at hand. I’m probably at a decent level of productivity as it is, but I see room for improvement for sure.

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Everyday Tips November 15, 2010 at 5:46 pm

I love check lists- crossing something off is the best, and it is so motivating. Sometimes I have trouble finding my list though. (Seriously…)

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Jacq @ Single Mom Rich Mom November 15, 2010 at 1:51 pm

I’ve always found this to be true – which also has some messages in it for what kind of retirement you’ll find rewarding someday too. Or maybe that’s just me. 🙂

I have learned to handle drifting and being leisurely on holiday, but cannot do it at any other time without feeling something is wrong somehow. I’ve learned to artificially create urgency where there is none at times.

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Everyday Tips November 15, 2010 at 5:47 pm

Jacq – I agree, I am somewhat concerned about retirement. But then I just picture myself traveling the world and eating good food that I don’t think I will have time to be bored. Then I have to snap myself back to reality.

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Jacq @ Single Mom Rich Mom November 15, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Oh, I also meant to say that sometimes I liken it to those few days you have before you go on holiday, where you have to clean up everything at work or home before you leave. Usually you can get done 5 times as much work (not necessarily actually DOING – but in terms of prioritizing, delegating, etc.) when you have very limited time. Personally, I just love that feeling of hyperfocus. 😛

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Everyday Tips November 15, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Oh that is so true! I delegate like a superstar around the holidays. My kids probably hate it, but it helps tremendously. I will never forget that first Thanksgiving when I realized that all my kids were actually old enough to be a real help. Was a wonderful day.

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Aloysa November 15, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Yes, it happened to me. When I was going to college and working full time I amnaged it all: school, homework, work, friends, dating. When I finally was done with school, the days seem to go faster and I have less time to do … laundry, dishes, walk the dog… It is our reality – less time we have, more we get done. Sad but true.

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Everyday Tips November 15, 2010 at 5:49 pm

It is funny how that goes. A lot of people look at my crazy life with 3 teens and wonder how I get things done and get everywhere I need to go. I think it is because I am so busy that I am able to get it done!

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Crystal @ BFS November 15, 2010 at 5:19 pm

This is how I operate…my best work is done during my busiest weeks and I get way more accomplished overall. That’s why I giggle when you and Money Reasons ask how I can write so much – because I only have a few hours a day to do it, so I do, lol. 🙂

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Everyday Tips November 15, 2010 at 5:50 pm

BFS – Unfortunately for me, writing goes to the bottom of the list when I am super busy. I need a little bit of peace or my creativity just doesn’t roll. Writing is not one thing I can do under pressure.

You are just a machine, that is all. 🙂

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Lindy Mint November 15, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Yes! So true. I really don’t know what I did with all of my free time before I worked and had kids. Although, lately I’ve been letting the housework go in pursuit of other things that I want to get done (ie: blogging). And exercise, so out of the picture right now. Something has to give right?

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Roshawn @ Watson Inc November 15, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Sure. This is very common: the time to complete a task will mirror the time available to complete it.

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Andrew @ 101 Centavos November 15, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Indeed, the less time you have, the more carefully you have to schedule. I’ve found that one some overseas business trips, where the time spent at your destination(s) is marked by arrival and unchangeable departure, we have to program, schedule, arrange and squeeze utility out of every single hour. It’s all very hectic, stressful, but in the end, results-oriented by necessity.

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Suba @ Wealth Informatics November 15, 2010 at 11:34 pm

Very true! I work better when I have less time too. I tried explaining that to my friends without any success. They think I work too much and I will regret not spending enough time with my husband later. But personally I think the time I spend with my husband, as it is less, we plan it carefully, maximize the quality of the time, doing what both of us love and have a lot of fun. They have a lot of personal time, but all they do with their husband is sit and watch tv or talk on the phone separately. The little time I have is precious, so I make the most of it.

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