What do you think of when you hear the phrase time management? If you are a go-getter, you may hear those words and think of how many tasks you can cram into a single day. However, I didn’t say task management; I said time management.
Healthy time management, meant to reduce stress and increase quality of life, includes more than merely scheduling tasks. Time management means incorporating times to accomplish tasks, yes, but also times of rest, reflection, recreation, and communication. Each of these is needed daily to advance priorities and goals.
If you are a stay-putter, you may hear “time management” and think of how impossible it is for you to get anything done, no matter how much time you have. For you, time management means incorporating effort, progress, completion, and accomplishment into each day in order to advance priorities and goals.
Time — no matter how much of it you have — needs to be harnessed and controlled: each morning (or even the night before), decide what you goals and priorities are for the day. If the day is a word day, then arriving to work on time and being ready to actively participate are going to be main priorities.
However, most people don’t work sixteen-hour days, so there will be hours in each day for other activities. Decide ahead of time what those activities should be based upon what you want to accomplish as well as on the type of person you want to be.
For example, as you’re on your way to work, you might decide to listen to music or an informative or informational podcast. You might decide to spend the time in quiet reflection, meditation, or prayer, depending upon your mode of transport. At lunch, you might send a quick text, or place a quick call, to a friend or family member. On your way home, you might catch up on the news and take time to disconnect from your workday. If you don’t intentionally plan your day, your day will plan you.
If the day is not a workday, then you will have more time to harness and manage. There is a danger in thinking that you have all the time in the world over the weekend, but how many Sundays (or the equivalent) have you gone to bed, realizing that you didn’t get done half of what you wanted. Instead of being satisfied with the goals accomplished, you’re distressed about tasks left undone. Now not only do you have the week ahead, but you’re also playing catch-up from the week just ended.
When it comes to time management, the challenge for go-getters is to balance time with reflection. The challenge for stay-putters is to balance time with achievement.
Dr. Gregory Jantz is the founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 35 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety, and others.