How to Find Enough Time for Everything
“Since each of us has the same number of hours to spend each day, our goal must be to make every minute count, and as we’re counting, we should also keep reflecting on what we’ve accomplished to date.” – Barbara
IN LOOKING BACK to 1971 when I was totally involved in the publication of a crafts magazine, I can remember always saying, “. . . but there just isn’t time to do it all!” Yet, when I see what I’ve accomplished in all those years since, I see that I must have had enough time after all because I certainly got a lot of things done. Maybe not as quickly as I would have liked, but done nonetheless—and done well too.
So maybe what we all have to do is change our attitude about time, quit complaining about never having enough of it, and just try to find more of it. But how?
IT’S HARD TO SEPARATE the topics of organization, time management, and stress because they are so closely related and connected to one another. For example, if your filing system or your kitchen cabinets and closets aren’t well disorganized, you’ll waste time every time you look for something that isn’t where it ought to be, and this will automatically cost you time and increase your stress.
If you don’t have an organized area in which to work or the right tools or supplies at hand, you’ll waste time moving from one place to another or searching for things you need to do the job at hand, once again losing time and increasing your stress. There are many books on how to get organized, so if this is one of your weak points, reading one of these books would be time well spent.
Learn to Do Two Things at Once
TIME MANAGEMENT EXPERTS say the first principle of time management is to do one thing at a time and finish it before starting another. Ideally, it would be terrific to have to think about only one thing at a time, but so often one thing is dependent upon another, and what you do in one area automatically requires some kind of counter‑action in another area of the business. That’s fine if you happen to be talking about task consolidation, but many of the most successful business people I know have told me their time‑management secret is to do two things at once. Certainly this is how I’ve lived my entire life.
I’ll bet that many job holders and retirees alike can relate to this time-management concept. For example, the woman rocking her baby may actually be composing her next press release or planning a luncheon menu in her head, while the fellow who’s mowing the lawn or driving the kids to soccer practice may be mentally rehearsing his speech to the banker or planning his cold‑calling approach.
In airports or in doctors’ offices, we’ll be reading magazine articles related to what we’re most interested in while we wait. At home, we often will find ourselves in the position of rushing to complete a job or meet a deadline while also preparing to entertain guests for the weekend. At all times, entrepreneurs and creative people alike are thinking while doing something else and trying to get their ideas down on paper before they forget them.
PUT EVERYTHING IN WRITING that needs to be done, then prioritize and set time deadlines for each individual job. Once you’ve done that, you can put the whole list out of your mind and concentrate on the NOW and the one item that has to be done first, then second, etc. I agree with the friend of mine who said, “You can’t worry about the whole or you’ll go crazy.”
Another key to saving time is to do all the things in one direction together, because you will lose time each time you have to change mental gears or your physical position. In writing my to-do lists, I organize jobs according to the kind of mental concentration or physical movement that is needed, or work that requires similar tools, supplies, or a particular mindset.
Of course we can all strive to stay in good physical shape so we can save a little time by moving faster, and many of us simply sleep less so we can get more things done. (I’ve written about my experience with lack of sleep in a related article linked to below.)
In summary, I believe we need to use what time we do have in the most productive way possible and quit wasting time talking about our lack of time. One of the most important life lessons I’ve learned is that time will always expand for us when it’s important and necessary.
Why Creative People are Sleep-Deprived—and What to Do about it. Barbara’s experience coupled with that gained from her interviews with many creative people.
What Time Is It on Your Cell Phone? A little levity for time-challenged home-business owners.