Positive Path Recommended Reading

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 feel time-stressed.

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. http://www.successandbalance.com/coach/html/free.htm

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