Time to Manage

A couple of decades ago, or maybe longer, there was a big whoop dee doo about time management. Whole industries sprung up from that concept. I think somebody wrote a book or maybe several somebodies did because it sure caught on. Now you can’t go in a bookstore without a million books on how to manage your time.

And of course there are the requisite tools that go with such concepts: day planners, month at a glance, palm pilots, blackberries, appointment calenders, net meetings, alarm clocks, timers, schedule templates, pop up reminder features on email programs, electronic calenders, beeping cell phones. And more.

I hate schedules. Always have, always will. Ironically, I am quite good at organizing. Others. Not myself. I am loath to discipline myself and put myself on a schedule. I tell myself constantly…Monday, I’m starting….(fill in the blank). Because I never really do it. I always find some reason not to. The guilt sometimes overcomes me and makes me do things but I resent it. I have gotten accustomed to my little cursing voice that tells me what a loser and schedule slacker I am. It’s merely a buzz in my ear that is easily remedied with a q-tip and turning up the radio dial.

BUT, I’ve realized something. I need to do it. I must do it. Somehow I have got to do it. With my current job, I have less time, a longer commute, longer hours. No longer can I just bee bop home at 4 p.m. and be there by 4:10 p.m. The round trip commute takes an hour and twenty daily. Plus if there are errands to run, dog food to buy or stop offs to make I’m home even later. I have to hit the ground running and I just haven’t been doing that. How do you squeeze work, exercise, blogging, writing, marketing, quality time with friends, gardening and veg-out time into 2.5 less hours per day?

That is my quandry. That is my challenge. I must work it out.

Any suggestions? Any tips? Please don’t refer to gadgets or software though because I will be sure to get lost in the learning curve and by the time I master it I will no longer be interested. I need tricks. I need ways to fool myself into getting a handle on this thing before I am forever lost to slackdom and a lifetime of computer Mah Jong. It’s a curse I’m telling you a real curse. Thoughts?


13 thoughts on “Time to Manage

  1. Another one ‘stolen’ from me: good at organising others however myself……. giggle.

    Re commute. My train ride is 55 minutes one way.

    And I LOVE it. Forced quiet time. Read. Write. Muse. Learn. Try to set up a decent poem. And since I am not organised I otherwise wouldn’t be able to have 2 full hours a day for this.

    But I think you drive, right?

    Hey Spaz,
    Yep, I drive – although in L.A. no one pays attention to the road so maybe I could get some reading in. πŸ˜†

    I wish I could train to and from work, it would give me time to write and read.



  2. I don’t know if this would work for you, or be attractive to you, but throw out the organizers. Sounds like you’re not using them anyway. If I can’t remember with no calendar/dayplanner/whatever organizer what I have scheduled for myself, I’ve scheduled too much. If that makes sense?

    I actually think about errands and do my best to make them fit together. If I have to go to home depot, I think about whether I need anything at the TJ’s I’ll drive by. Things like that.

    For me, for blogging, most of the time the majority of it is done in my head before I write. That is, the core idea of what I’m going to write about is something I poke at in my head, and then I sit down and whatever comes out comes out. So…combine that with exercising? Go for a run (or hit the weights, or whatever you do) and see how much you can get your blog ideas hammered out in your head. A good distraction from the pain too. πŸ˜‰

    Sometimes the chores can be a kind of veg-out time. Gardening is that way for me. Back when I used to do things like iron, ironing could be (if I put the music on and danced around a bit too).

    Sometimes it is a matter of perspective on the things you do, sometimes it is planning an efficient errand-running route, and sometimes it is cutting the crap out of your life that eats up time but doesn’t add much to it.

    As for the quality time with friends, I have mixed feelings about multi-tasking too much and the toll that mindset can take in our lives, but…but sometimes a great thing in friendship is sharing a task and quite often sharing a task like that gives you a chance for quality time as well. Painting a room, helping pick out drapes or something. I don’t know exactly, it would depend on your lives, and certainly shouldn’t be the only time you ever spend time with your friends, but it can definitely help you feel like you’re freeing up some wiggle room in your schedule.

    Oh, and you can use your commute to learn spanish or “read” books or something, if you make use of your cd player or whatever! πŸ˜€

    You’re so funny – it’s like you can crawl into my head. Actually I do most of what you suggested – except for the learning a new language thing, which believe it or not I have been thinking about – like what kind of cd’s can I find that I can listen to while I drive to and from work that will teach me something? Wild.


  3. The world managed perfectly well without schedules and planners, and it was done by an instinctual process called routine.
    It works like this: forget time (apart from work, of course) and discover your pace. Then let things fall into it, and soon a routine will be had and you’ll have time for everything.
    Usually it is thinking about how to do things that takes up most of the time.

    Hmm…I wonder if that would work. I’ll have to think on that for a while. πŸ˜‰


  4. I think ahead. Not weeks ahead, but a day or so. If I have many things going on within a few days span, I’ll mentally break down time periods for them, and STICK TO THEM.
    I rarely write anything down, I don’t use organizers nor gadgets. I keep everything in da brain.
    As far as getting everything done in the 24 hour period we call a day . . psh, some things just can’t be accomplished everyday, when you want them to. Sometimes you must decide what is more important to you, and do that first. If you have time *and/or energy* in the end, you do something else. And hopefully, you’ll be able to get everything done, feed the dog, garden, blog, work, commute, eat, sleep, shit, shower, LIVE.
    Sometimes things need to get put on the backburner for a bit. Let them. Do something you enjoy instead of chores/errands/have-tos.

    You know Red, I think you are a more disciplined soul than I. You seem to have so much to handle and just take care of it all. Me, I’m a loser slacker.


  5. Uh, right.

    I can’t even remember to feed my poor cat most days. If my daughter didn’t remind me, our cat would be, well…..uh, skinny?

    No advice here, chicky.

    Yet you manage to get all that stuff done. Cripes I don’t have half the stuff in my life going on as you and yet, you’re ms. accomplishment and I’m misguided. πŸ˜‰


  6. Hmm…I concur about schedules. They blow. Maybe you can do gardening one day, friends the next, and so on? Perhaps…

    That’s what I’ve been trying to do but I’m a hopeless case. 😦


  7. i’m definitely not the person you want giving you advice. I overbook myself constantly and have bought so many planners i think i have stock in franklin-covey. i can wish you luck though!

    Thanks, I’ll need it. πŸ˜‰


  8. I probably shouldn’t say anything here, inasmuch as I live in a reputedly-sleepy Southwestern burg and I have a 10.7-mile commute that takes twenty minutes max unless there’s snow on the ground.

    But I try to avoid planning everything out to the last detail, if only because I am so devastated when the plan fails, which it does about half the time. Fortunately, I can come up with a blog post in the left lane and spill it onto the screen later, and I am past master of bunching all the errands into a single loop once or twice a week. Other than that, I’m hopeless.

    Hmmm…Maybe I need to move to a sleepy little southern burg? Oh no…I tried that – nearly lost what is left of my mind. πŸ˜‰


  9. How do you squeeze work, exercise, blogging, writing, marketing, quality time with friends, gardening and veg-out time into 2.5 less hours per day?
    Please, dear God, let me know.
    You are sooo right on, Annie.
    It’s a major problem these days.
    For everybody (except Pete Doherty)

    Who’s Pete Doherty? I know it’s probably a stupid question but I still don’t know who he is.


  10. annie, i guess your head is a comfortable place to be, if I’ve set up residence in there! πŸ˜€

    I have been quite happy with “Behind the Wheel Spanish”, if you’re looking for Spanish learning cds!

    If you’re already doing a lot of the reasonable errand combining and task combining, it makes me think that you’re just at your max. Think of it in terms of priorities instead, and what is most important to you. Make sure you do those things, and live with which of the rest you can get done and still have time to relax.

    We’re not really meant to be able to do it all, I think we just have that idea from the myth of what “successful” means!

    You may be right, Deb. I just can’t accept the fact that I’m not a superhero. πŸ˜†


  11. Yeah, throw out the planners. I have a big calandar on my wall at work and write shit on that. No more Outlook or synching with Outlook, blah, blah, blah. How about running errands at lunch (lunch? waht’s that?). Books on CD for the commute (gets the reading done). Save it all for the weekend??? Sometimes I do that and I hate myself for it.

    So, to recap – no real advice here! I feel your pain though.

    Hey Karen,
    Thanks for the non-advice. It really helps. πŸ˜† I like those big ol’ calendars too. I think I’m more of a visual person – not into the little electronic thingies that have everything written in point 5 font and glows. I once worked for a woman who was really hung up on the task thing in outlook. She drove me fricking crazy with it. Rather than writing me a little memo or just walking the three feet to my desk she had to constantly send me tasks that I had to do all this crap with to report compliances. It was fricking ridiculous – to learn a lame ass program so I could tell her I’d done the things she’d asked of me. Talk about wasting time. Oy!



  12. Time for my unsolicited advice.

    First off, if you haven’t already taken a hint from everyone else on these comments, stop planning. Every five minutes planning is five minutes which you could have done stuff. Next is something I like to call the “zookeeper technique.” There’s a reason. Most zookeepers only feed their animals 6 days out of every week to simulate conditions in the wild. Take everything that isn’t absolutely necessary, and for one day, don’t do it. If possible, start taking in different hours at the office. I don’t know exactly what you do each day, but I know you work in a the health/docotr milieu. If you worked early in the morning or late at night, there’d be less people there, which means more time to do other stuff at work.

    In fact, scratch that. Just quit sleeping altogether. Having an extra 7 or so hours to mess around can do wonders!

    Oh yeah, I do waste a lot of precious time sleeping. Now why didn’t I think of that? πŸ˜†


  13. “I hate schedules. Always have, always will. Ironically, I am quite good at organizing.”

    See this is me….you have described me. I could change that last sentence to read “Ironically, I’ve fallen in love with the master scheduler himself” I’m not sure because i’ve been too scared to test my theory, but I think he shits at the same time every day…..

    As for advice, see that first sentence of mine as to why I am most certainly not the one to help you out! Perhaps I should send Tony over here…..hehehe
    Cheers, Kelly

    Hey Kel,
    Oooh those servicemen are wicked organized and keep their schedules don’t they? Funny – do you really think he schedules his potty breaks? πŸ˜‰


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