When you hear the words time management what do you think of? For me it reminds me of structure, steps, action, and then after following through, having an extra 10 hours in my day to kick back and relax in a stress-free world. The truth to managing time is simple: you can’t.
After realizing that maybe I wasn’t an expert in time management I started to listen to books on audio and print off charts of how to manage time. All the while chasing that dream of extra time once I became a master at the 10 steps of time management. Oddly enough, all the books, outlines and internal questioning never worked for me.
As luck would have it, one night I was at a friend’s Bar exam party and we got on the topic of time management; as she became a patent lawyer, her days consist of large projects. At the time I was managing the maintenance work at Proform so I felt that she may have some good advice. I purposed the question to her “What do you do for time management?” She looked at me, laughed, and said one part of it is tailoring it to what you do. She said “If your job depends on email communication you can’t simply only answer emails at 2pm and 4pm, you may need to email all day.” She continued on to say “The biggest thing I’ve learned about time management is that if there is a project that cannot be completed that day to be okay with it. If you can focus on a couple parts of a larger picture and “manage” the smaller steps from there, then you are on the right path.”
Although I am a sucker for guidelines and steps, I am taking action toward a tailored style of time management. Although it may not consist of segmenting my entire day, it does entail being okay with what I do complete and focusing on one endeavor at a time.
Sometimes the best style of time management is simply balance. It’s not that the books and steps don’t work – they’ve inspired me to start looking at my day and how it is allocated. We all have the same 24 hours, the question is, how will you use your time?