Monday, June 25

Time - What Does It Mean To You?

I've been thinking a lot about time lately.  How do you feel about time and what does it mean to you?  Since we pretty much can't do anything without it, one could argue that time is our most precious commodity.  To be honest, I feel like it's a fight against time - all of the time.  I'm constantly trying to "fit in" another item to cross off of my "to do" list in the next five minutes.  I also tend to have unrealistic to do lists that drive me crazy!  I've started calling this propensity to create SUPER LONG "to do" lists a sickness.  In actuality, the more I add to my list(s), the more stressed and worse I feel when I am unable to accomplish everything on my list. 

I think this is why I dislike Sunday's the most.  Sounds weird, doesn't it?  So, you like the weekend to have a different sort of energy and flow, don't you?  You want to relax but still be productive.  Or at least I do.  You wind down Friday evening, thinking about what you need to accomplish, what you would like to accomplish, etc.  I personally don't like to schedule myself to the extreme, but I have an idea of when I'm going to chill and when I'm going to work.  The problem comes in when I start "pushing" items from my list from Saturday to Sunday because - well, for a variety of reasons - things always take longer than you think, I end up taking more time for relaxation or time with family, I think to myself, "I can do this tomorrow."  No problem. 

Ah, but that is the problem.  Because then tomorrow rolls around (Sunday, in this case) and my to do list is busting at the seams!  I usually start out optimistic and pretty calm about it all.  But as the day wears  on, I find myself getting more tense and irritated with myself because I'm constantly thinking about all of the things that I'm NOT going to be able to accomplish as a result of my choices.  Choices about how I spend my time.  I try to go faster, which means I enjoy each task less and less because I'm less present/focused when completing the task, not to mention thinking to myself - gosh, why can't I just have all the space (or time!) in the world to get my stuff done?!  Because the world doesn't work that way, now does it?

So, maybe it's just my mindset.  If I think time is so limited, then time becomes so limited.  If I think I have all the time in the world, then I have all the time in the world.  No?  Perhaps.  I think shifting my mindset, coupled with a reduction in number of things I put on my to do list, would help.  In the end, I feel the best and most capable at completing certain items (including things like spending quality time with friends and family) when I give myself the time and space to do so.  This means that some things just don't make the list.  Some things just don't get done.  Maybe it's coming to terms with this?

Obviously in my work with each of you, the subject/issue of time comes up.  This spring, I sat down with Jared, Nicole and Darnell and simply "talked time."  I think it's a good exercise to think about how we spend our time in relation to our priorities and goals.  I also think is useful to develop routines, habits, tools that help us develop a positive mindset about time and how we use it.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about time in relation to this post.  How do you manage your time?  Do you have any tips or tricks that really work for you?  Use the comment section below to share! 

Talking time.....discussion to be continued.


  1. THERE IS SIMPLY NOT ENOUGH HOURS IN A DAY!!!!Time is something I always struggle with, especially since I consider myself to be somewhat of a PROCRASTINATOR. Keeping a schedule is particularly hard for me in the summer because all I really want to do is chill by the pool or do some online/mall shopping. Online shopping is definitely a time waster for me because I can easily spend hours online looking at clothes. I am the type of shopper that will only buy if there are sales and free shipping. In order to find online deals and sales, it requires hours online. Also, everyone knows I am kind of a twitter junkie. Twitter takes up so much of my time, especially since I have it on my phone too.
    What I do to keep myself on schedule and make sure I am using time efficiently is, I add reminders in my phone and set an alarm for each one. When my alarm goes off I know that is the time to start doing research or grad work. Another thing that I do is write notes or to do lists on different color sticky notes. I have yellow sticky notes to remind me that whatever I have to do must take priority over everything else and must be done immediately. I also place the time and date for each. Blue is for the not so important or the deadline is months or weeks away. My pink sticky notes have all of the activities that I want to do and the times or days I can actually do those activities on.
    Now you may think that these methods are simply ways to stay organized but it actually a way to help manage time. I stick all of these notes on my books, articles, laptop, and wall. They become daily reminders, in addition to my alarms.
    Lastly, I always think about the consequences that would result if I did not get a certain task done. As a child you really don't have to think about the consequences of your actions or the consequences of failing to get things done. On the other hand, as an adult there is always a consequence to not completing something on time, or showing up late for work, or not taking care of the bills each month. The way we utilize time as adults is very important. You can't simply blow off work to have fun or not do research because you want to go sit by the pool. Time and responsibility goes hand in hand. We are responsible for getting things done in a timely manner.
    Anyways, the methods I previously mentioned always work for me and keep me on schedule. I do truly wish there were more hours in the day. I have just developed the mindset that tells me: Theia when the important things are done, then you can do other things like tweet and shop...

  2. I feel like managing time is like running a marathon. You may not be great at running the whole distance at first. So you start by running a mile. Then you can walk (relax) a mile. But, you want to get back home, so you have to run another mile. Finally, you are almost home but you need to cool down so you walk and relax for the last mile.
    Then a month goes by and it is easier to run a mile and a half....Then another month goes by and you can run two miles at a time...
    The hardest part for me is running on the weekends-kind of like what Lynn is talking about. But you know what? I take the attitude of "suck. it. up." You friends and family will always be there when you have free time next week.. or in my case, next month. It may be harsh, but it is reality at this point in my life. Plus, I always feel better after I run (which is a metaphor for doing things I need to do) then if I just sat on the couch watching Grey's with Chris.
    And by the way, I don't believe in "to do" lists. I am positive that they provide too much cognitive dissonance for us. In my opinion, large planners are much better. If the due date is Friday, write it in. But on Wednesday, make a note to start working on that which is due Friday.

  3. I agree there are not enough hours in the day when we allow the small rocks or sand to fill our jar of time first. Earlier this summer we were shown a video by Stephen Covey called, "Big Rocks". It is important to put "First things first". We all have to decide what the big rocks are in our own lives (they will be different for each of us) and make time for those things first. Be it God, family, school, a job, friends, or facebook. :) Decide what is important and make it a priority. Sometimes that means letting go of the little things. At my house it is the dust because other things are so much more important! :) Just last night, I wanted to be in bed but my little man wanted to snuggle. At 10, he is the bigger rock in more ways than one! ;)

    Choose your big rocks or waste time on the little ones! The choice is yours!!


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