Time is fixed and passes at its own pace. Goals can grow, contract, adjust and evolve.
Often advice for time management includes instructions to make lists, dedicate time for tasks, be organized, get up early, multitask, do more, and just generally be different than you’ve been. While some are good suggestions, the attempt to fit an individual’s unique experience into a fixed and uncontrollable passage of time can miss the mark. It can be overwhelming and unrealistic when not considering a person’s specific life circumstances, obligations and health. When already feeling like there isn’t enough time, the advice to do more can feel offensive.
Time management seems to inherently approach the future from a perspective of scarcity. It is true there is only so much time in the day, the week, the year, and a lifetime. Each moment passes whether we’ve spent it intentionally or not. Even so, I’d rather approach the future with a feeling of abundance. There is limited time, I have limited energy and abilities, and I also have the opportunity to fill that time in ways that fulfill my needs and goals. I can do this by being clear about my immediate and long-term needs as well as my goals in each moment and for my life.
Time management advice recognizes that it can be a project to fit everything in, but it often forgets it can be effort to fill the time. I’ve had both in my life, and at times they’ve paradoxically co-existed. There were fast-paced workdays where dedicated, productive accomplishments never seemed to put a dent in the backlog, and there were evenings with long stretches of solitude where loneliness was at the ready to dominate my head space. The daily schedule of surge and stagnation with such severe contrast was exhausting. That experience is telling for how different needs and goals dictate different choices and solutions.
Time stops for no one. We often do not realize how fast the clock is ticking. But soon days turn to months and months to years and valuable time is long gone by. It is important that we use time wisely and set our priorities right. Here are some tips on how to accomplish your work and use time in the most effective way:
Whoever said procrastination is the thief of time was not joking. It takes much longer to delay a task than it does to buckle down and complete it. But why do we procrastinate if we know that it is probably a bad idea?
Being productive is not only a matter of planning our day. Being productive means setting that plan into motion. Too often, I have waited to complete a task and chosen to tell myself tomorrow will be a better time to start. Even in writing this blog, I experienced procrastination. I told myself, “Tomorrow I’ll have a better idea, tomorrow I’ll be more inspired,” because tomorrow always seems to be a better time until it isn’t.
Most of us consider procrastination to be a problem that stems from lack of planning, poor time management, or even laziness, but procrastination is much more than that. Although there are many contributing factors, such as lack of motivation, research shows that we tend to delay or postpone doing tasks that we perceive as unpleasant.
Joseph Ferrari, professor of psychology at DePaul University in Chicago, identified three basic types of procrastinators, each with different motives: