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!