Make Your Time Count
By Lisa Martin
It doesn’t matter where we live, how old we are or what positions we hold,
we all have exactly 24 hours at our disposal each day. Recent studies show
that, during an ordinary weekday, the average person spends 10 and a half
hours working and commuting, and four hours doing housework and caring for
children or other dependents. If we use 14 and a half hours to take care of
everyday life and at least eight hours for sleep, that just leaves us with one
and a half hours a day to pursue leisure or joy activities. It’s no wonder we
So, what can you do to get time on your side? Try self-management rather
than time-management. Whether it’s spending more time with your family or
taking more time out for yourself, the following tips will help you make
choices that reflect your priorities.
Take a time picture
The best way to find out where all your time goes is to track it. For
one week track your time in 15-minute increments. Yes, note everything you do
in your day and how much time you spend doing it. By accounting for your time
in this manner for a week, you’ll end up with a very detailed picture of how
you can change your schedule. Patterns will emerge and opportunities for more
leisure time will appear.
Say "yes" to passions and "no" to “shoulds”
Understand that time has its limits. Ask yourself how you want to
enjoy it. What are your priorities for the next three months? What is
important to you? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you make
wise choices when it comes to spending time. If an evening with your daughter
is more important to you than dinner with a colleague, then say no to your "shoulds"
and make plans to be with your daughter. When you combine a clear vision of
what you want with the realization that time is a gift, you will automatically
start creating space for your passions.
Expect less and do more
Examine your expectations about how much you try to accomplish. Ask
yourself this question: "Is what I have planned really doable or have I
overloaded my schedule?" It is easy to fall into the trap of doing too much.
Be kind to yourself, take a good look at your to-do list and determine what
absolutely has to be done. By letting go of the shoulds on the list you
instantly gain extra hours to do the things you enjoy.
As you begin to re-orient your thinking about time and how to best use it
you will be well on your way to managing yourself versus time running you.
Then you can use more spare time to do the things that matter most.
About the author: Lisa Martin is an executive and
personal coach specializing in work/life balance for women in business. She is
dedicated to supporting women who want successful and balanced lives.
http://www.successandbalance.com Sign up for her complimentary Taking Care
of Mom Program and her monthly Success & Balance e-Newsletter
http://www.successandbalance.com/coach/html/enews.htm If you want to
experience coaching, Lisa offers a complimentary 30-minute session.
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