Five Ds For Time Management

Truth found in a fortune cookie, “People who are late are often happier than those who have to wait for them.”

Often when I leave the house, I will say to Mark, “I’ll be back soon.” He knows me all too well and asks, “How soon?”

“In an hour or so,” I’d say. Then notice he was setting the timer on his watch. Grrrrrr!

I know he does this because he struggles with his short-term memory. He will notice that I’m gone but probably won’t remember where I am or what time I left. His watch will remind him when I’ll be home. Even though I know why he does it, it still irritates me. Not because I thought I’d be longer than an hour, but because I didn’t want to feel rushed or restricted to time. However, I’ve learned that if I’m going to accomplish my to-do list, I need to be confined to a time frame.

My excuse for being late and behind is the result of being busy and having so much on my plate. In reality—I do have a lot on my plate, but I’m also a poor time manager.  I’m great at calendaring events and making lists. I have one for work; another for writing; along with the ones for home chores and personal goals. I’ve listed five Ds to help manage time so I can accomplish my to-do lists. I hope they will be helpful to you also.

1)      Discipline. I realized my lack of discipline is probably my biggest problem when it comes to time management. When I get involved in a project, I have a hard time quitting, even though my allotted time was taken. I rationalize, it’s too hard to get back to this project or I’m almost done. I also postpone the items on my list that aren’t as satisfying or rewarding to do. Sometimes I’m not sure how to accomplish the project so I put off the research needed. I know that doing the more enjoyable tasks first and leaving the more dreaded items for last is not a good way to prioritize because the last items on the long list never get done.

2)      Don’t compare. It’s a downer when I think I should be accomplishing everything my friends are accomplishing. Reality is—I’m not my friends. My responsibilities, talents, and abilities are different than theirs. I can improve myself only by comparing me to yesterday, not to others.

3)      Do what works. Just because one method of time management works well for a friend doesn’t mean it will work in my situation, but it might be worth a try. If the method I’m using is not working, I need to try another method. As the seasons in life change, the method needs to change. I’ll bet it’s a life-long process of change.

4)      Delegate. Sometimes I choose to do more than I need to just because it’s easier or faster for me to do it. Mark is always willing to help. He can’t load the dishwasher or do the laundry, but he can put the clean utensils away, dry pots and pans, plus make sure the clean clothes are turned right side out, before I fold and put them away. Mark enjoys contributing and it’s important for me to let him.

5)      Divide and conquer. My lists are too long. I need to divide them in obtainable lists so I can have the satisfaction of accomplishment.

These are the five areas I’m going to work on. I’d love to hear your comments on how you manage time. Sharing ideas is what this blog is all about!

Time Is Your Friend

Recently, Mark stated, “Time is your friend, not your enemy.”

If it’s my friend, then why do I  feel like I’m always in a battle with it? I just don’t have enough of it to do all I’d like to do. You may be thinking, well, we all have the same amount of time! This is partially true. There is sixty seconds to every minute, sixty minutes to every hour, and twenty-four hours to every day. However, none of us knows how many years, days or hours we have in a life-time, which makes it different for each one of us.

In my youth I never thought about it . . . I was invincible and too busy planning all the things I’d achieve in a lifetime, like how many children and grandchildren I’d have, all the wonderful vacation spots I’d see, and all that I’d accomplish in my career.

At age thirty-two I was in a car accident that postpone my plans. The desire to obtain has not changed, but in a single second my direction in life took a dramatic turn. I guess I haven’t fully made peace with the change because the older I get the louder I hear the click of the clock, and see that time is rapidly passing. It seems with age, the disappointment of unfulfilled expectation grows, along with the realization that some things may not be accomplished in this life.

Since the car accident, often, when Mark is asked how things are going, he’ll say, “slow, but sure . . . but, sure slow.” This statement is right on. Every ability Mark has comes slowly, much too slowly for me and for him. However, he steadily works every day for improvement and has done so for the past twenty-two years.

He struggles to do things the rest of us do without thought or effort  like eating, drinking; brushing his teeth, combing his hair; typing or writing; propelling a wheelchair; balancing on the edge of the bed, or rolling over in bed. He has to concentrate and work hard at moving his arms, legs and feet. In other words, what most of us do without thought or effort, Mark works at and it becomes meaningful. Speaking also takes a lot of effort for Mark. Consequently, he chooses his words carefully and says a lot with just a few words.  He thinks before he speaks. A trait I’m trying to cultivate.

Because Mark’s progression is slow, his destination is sure. He knows exactly what he’s working towards and he has a plan how to get there. He feels enormous amounts of joy and fulfillment when he reaches his goals. The time and effort it takes makes his abilities so impressive. Mark is teaching me that when things come slowly they mean more.

Mark has also said, “Time is not an obstacle. When you make peace with time you can think positively about the future.”

I’ve been pondering this statement and have come to the conclusion that this is one reason why Mark is at peace with himself. He understands that time is on his side; he’s not in a race against anyone else. Therefore, he is the most positive person I know.

Faith in timing

One day I asked Mark if he had an age goal he hoped to reach. He answered, “just as long as it takes,” another profound statement.

Mark inspires me and I know he is right. The amount of time we have isn’t what matters. It’s the striving to accomplish, grow, and improve that counts. Mark’s patience teaches me that it doesn’t matter if it comes slow, as long as it’s sure . . . and some times, it sure seems slow!

 I love being married to such a wise man.