Sep 09 2010

Time Management Helps With Overwhelm

Published by at 8:39 pm under Empowerment,Life/Death,What Is

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Time Management Skills

Do you ever have days when the clock seems to get ahead of you and time management seems to go down the drain? The past couple of days have been like that for me. I just don’t seem to have enough time. Usually, I’m pretty good at time management, but there are days when all my good intentions go out the window and I begin to feel overwhelmed.

I must admit that the days when I seem to lose control of the clock are the days when I don’t follow my own advice about time management!

Of course it’s often impossible to predict what’s going to come up during any particular day. For instance, you have no control over other people, and sometimes we underestimate the length of time a task will take. Then there’s the challenge with traffic, which can be very unpredictable. Now that schools are back, I find there’s more traffic on the road and it takes me longer to get to meetings or even to the grocery store.

Traffic was my problem yesterday. All of a sudden I found myself in the middle of a jam! There were two routes I could have taken, but both were snarled with cars. Talk about time management! What can you do in situations such as that? The simple answer is… not much. It’s going to take as long as it’s going to take and short of flying over the other vehicles, you have to stop-start your way as best you can and accept the situation. It is what it is. Staying in the moment helps to maintain sanity.

But what about the other things that challenge your time management skills – the tasks that HAVE to be done, but there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day to complete?

If this happens on a regular basis, it’s imperative that you develop a time management system to handle what needs to be done. It may also be necessary to be ruthless in eliminating anything that absolutely does not have to be done. It’s a matter of prioritizing since there are only 24 hours in every day, and for the sake of your health, you MUST get sufficient sleep to enable you to tackle to critical tasks. That leaves you approximately 16 hours to fit in everything else that needs to be done.

I usually use a time management system where I list everything I can think of that needs to be done. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a small or large task, needs to be done today or later in the week. If it’s on the agenda to be done then I add it to my list. As new items come up, I add them to the bottom of my list. Every day I go through it and decide what I need to do that day mentally determining what I can do first. Once a task is completed, I strike it off my list. Often I start with something simple that I can do quickly because it’s psychologically beneficial to see something accomplished! It’s not always possible, of course, but definitely worth doing if you can.

At the end of the week, I transfer anything left undone to my new list and start all over again.

Until this past week or so, I used to make such a list every week, usually on Sunday, but I got out of the habit on a particularly busy weekend. It happens so easily! However, when I make an effort to create a To Do list, I find the tasks get done much more quickly than if I try to keep everything in my head, which just makes matters worse.

When I don’t have my list, I end up feeling overwhelmed because my brain is constantly trying to remember what needs to be done, which makes me less efficient, which leads to powerlessness, which leads to overwhelm. It becomes a relentless cycle that takes a very short time to end – if I can just give myself the time necessary to make my list!

And therein lies the problem. It takes time to write a list. Yes, time management takes time! But when I don’t use my time management system, I’m much less effective in everything I do. To feel empowered, I need to make my list and use the simple time management skills I have available.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Time Management Helps With Overwhelm”

  1. […] I shared my recent challenges with time management and how I felt overwhelm whenever I didn’t abide by my own simple system for managing all the […]

  2. […] may remember that I mentioned the To Do List in my post about overwhelm and how I wasn’t using my time management […]

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