One of my goals for this year has been to "make time," to carve out more time to do what's important to me. I've been surprised at my success with this goal. This is basically what I've been doing to make it happen:
- Each weekday I try to meditate for 15 or 20 minutes to tune in to what's most important. (If meditation isn't your thing, just try to be still. Or spend some quiet time free writing. Maybe go for a walk. Find something quiet and solitary that helps you sort out your key priorities. I recommend spending at least 10 minutes for this.) For years, I had been afraid to try meditating because it sounded so "out there" to me. Reading about "still time" in Sarah Susanka's book The Not So Big Life finally got me to give it a shot, and I am grateful that I did.
- Until I've taken time to meditate, I try to keep electronic devices off. The destraction and false urgency of e-mail and social media can throw me off track. If I can't meditate early in the day, I work to convince myself that any messages or computer tasks can wait for another 20 minutes. Advising not to touch e-mail for the first full hour of the workday, organizing and time management expert Julie Morgenstern writes in her book Never Check E-mail in the Morning that spending your first hour focusing on your highest priority gives you control over your day instead of your day controlling you.
- While I have always been a list-maker, in the past week I have followed Karen Walrond's advice to carry my to-do list with me everywhere I go. It's been great to have my list with me when a new task comes to mind or when I can cross things off when I have a spare minute.
- Rather than thinking about time (and tasks or projects) as big chunks,
I have been thinking of time as small slices. If I have 5 minutes "to kill,"
I scan my list to consider how to spend those five minutes. I might jot down notes for a project, sketch an idea or gather supplies or ingredients for something I'll be doing a little later in the day.
There has not been a single day when I have completed every last item on my list. Following this strategy, though, I find that I accomplish more of what I want
to do. I waste less time and I spend less energy grumbling about not having enough time.
How about you? Can you offer tips for creating time or managing time? Share your ideas in the Comments below or send me a tweet.
Make Time (c) Heather Koshiol, 2011. (mixed media)