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Time management – it’s something that’s supposed to help us be more productive, but it can present problems and sometimes make us feel like we’re on the run.

I struggle with time management although I’m a very detailed person and I’m a “list maker.” In a coaching group I belong to, one of the first assignments was on time management. It included writing down what you do daily and planning your days including routines and systems used.

I struggled for a couple of weeks over this. I tried many different ways, based on suggestions from those within the group and articles I researched, to complete this project.

What I finally realized was, even though time management is an excellent way to be more productive, everyone has to come up with their own way to manage their time. It’s not a one size fits all.

Here are three things I found while researching along the way:

Juggling Projects:

There are basically three areas that we are juggling and dealing with on a continuous basis throughout our day.

• Current projects: Work, home, children, volunteer, hobbies, etc.
• Your roles: Spouse, parent, grandparent, caretaker, caregiver, business owner, employee, manager.
• Things in the back of your mind that you haven’t finished: Existing projects, new project ideas, household items, business related projects and the list goes on.

These are things that need your attention throughout the day that maybe aren’t “planned” into your time management system.

For me, it’s the unplanned interruptions that seem to cause me the most problems.

My husband is a dialysis patient with treatments three times a week and, due to vision problems, is unable to drive himself to treatments. Even though he has been able to return to driving around the neighborhood, he still has difficulty driving in the dark. Since his treatment is a 6:30 a.m., during the winter it’s still dark and I have to drive.

I’m taking him in and picking him up 4 hours later, three times a week. On these three days, it’s difficult to get a train of thought going or any long time required projects completed because just about the time I “get going,” it’s time to stop.

I’ve found it works best if on these days I schedule short projects to do a – that type that interruptions won’t affect, then I can just pick right up where I left off.

This means that projects that require longer periods of time to work with, need to be scheduled either in the afternoons (and I’m a morning person) or on the days hubby doesn’t have treatments.

So these “unplanned” interruptions have now become scheduled “planned” interruptions.

Two types of time – Clock time and Real time

• Clock time – by definition this is an actual clock: 60 minutes, one hour, 24 hours in a day, 365 days in a year. Never changing, it is what it is. Time doesn’t change.

• Real time – definition is: “The actual time during which a process or event occurs: ex. ‘information updated in real time’”
In clock time, if something is 25 years old (a person or thing), then it’s 25 years old.

In real time, time is relative. Think about how you sometimes say at 10 in the morning “This day is dragging by,” yet if you were doing something you really liked doing, at 10 a.m. you could find yourself saying “Boy, this day is flying by.”

It is the same 10 in the morning, but there are different ways of viewing it depending on your “real time” situations.

“Clock time” comes into play because there are always specific times of the day we are dealing with. Time to get up, to start work, to take the kids to school, kids out of school, leaving work, to cook dinner, appointments to keep, etc.

But we actually live in “real time” because when something comes up -good, bad, planned, unplanned – that’s what we deal with, that’s where we react.

With “real time” it’s created and since we created it, it is also something we can manage. We may not be able to eliminate interruptions, but we can learn to manage how we deal more positively with them.

Three ways to spend time: Thoughts, Conversations and Actions

No matter how we manage our time, there are only three ways to spend it:

• Our thoughts
• Our conversations
• Our actions

These are also the three areas where time management will come into play.

Thoughts:

• Do you spend your days day dreaming?
• Are you thinking about what you need to do or you should or should not have done?

Conversations:

• Maybe you talk too much on the phone, or even online conversations at your social sites
• Are you drawn into an online conversation and before you know it, a couple of hours have passed away

Actions:

• Are you watching too much TV?
• Are you running errands off and on all day?
• Are you spending too much time on our social networks?
• Are you checking and answering e-mails too often?

No matter how diligently you plan and schedule with time management, it’s going to be impossible to get it all done.
The 80/20 rules even applies here. Twenty percent of your thoughts, conversations and actions will produce 80 percent of your results.

When you look at it in those percentages, what can you do better in your 20 percent to get more positive results within your 80 percent.
I’d love to hear your comments about time management and you.


Livvie Matthews provides social media training, management and coaching solutions to businesses for in-house or outsourcing their social media programs. She is passionate about helping service professionals learn to draw clients into their space using the incredible power of social media and Internet marketing. E-mail Livvie@simplesocialmedia.tv Visit: http://www.SimpleSocialMedia.TV

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