Not Enough Time!
Corinne Pratz ©2001
I'm often asked how the heck I find the time to do everything that I do. I do keep busy, no arguing there. I write fulltime for a living, maintain a website and two newsletters, engage in all kinds of arts and crafts, keep my house reasonably clean and spend time outdoors. Along with this, I have four kids, six cats and one husband.
While I certainly do have an active life, I really don't have a couple of extra hours tucked away. I think it's my perception of time that makes a difference.
I find that it really doesn't take as long to do things as I initially think they will. I can cook a well-rounded dinner in 20-30 minutes, update my website in 15 and spend 10 minutes reading to my daughter for a little quality time together. If you feel as though there are just not enough hours in a day, consider the following:
How much time does it really take?
Think about this. At work, how long does it take to write that memo? A minute or two? Ten minutes? How about the filing? Twenty minutes? What about phone calls? A couple of minutes a piece?
What about at home? Household chores only take a few minutes and helping with homework a little more. Cooking can take ten minutes (pasta) or an hour (roast with all the trimmings) depending on what you dish up. Weeding the garden can be done in 10 to 45 minutes and cutting the grass in about the same.
In the fraction of a mere second, our lives have been changed forever. We have stepped onto the moon for the first time, discovered a vaccine for polio, watched someone take their last breath and witnessed a baby take their first.
Take notice of the things you regularly do and watch how long it takes you to do them. Consider the times in your life where everything changed permanently. You may be surprised to find that it really doesn't take as long as you might think.
How organized are you?
More time is lost through disorganization than through anything else, in my opinion. Writing a list of things to do will take much longer if you can't find a pen or some paper and have to hunt for them! Take the time to get organized - it really won't take as long as you think and the time invested in this will save you far more minutes and hours. Start with this:
A place for everything and everything in its place!
Keep your writing things together, cooking utensils in one spot and cleaners in one specific area. Use file folders at work for things that are pending or for lists of the phone calls you have to make. Even if you have ten junk drawers, make one for papers, one for batteries, one for sandwich bags etc.
Put things away!
If you take something out, use it and then return it. Automatically. Don't decide you'll put it away later. It only takes a second and you will know where it is the next time you want it. If you have kids, get them to do the same.
Write things down!
Whether you use a daytimer, jot things on your calendar or make to-do lists, this will help you to stay on track of things.
How well do you plan for things that take longer?
There are just some things that do take a while, especially when you aren't able to control all of the variables. If you can set a realistic time frame for these, you will be less stressed and more in control of your day. Here are some activities that can take more than a few minutes:
Appointments with Government Offices
Visiting with a friend
Getting the kids ready
Balancing your checkbook or bookkeeping
Tuning your vehicle
Painting and other home repairs
Waiting at an airport
Calling a utility company
How much time do you waste?
First and foremost, consider how much time you spend thinking of what you have to do? Rather than doing this, think about it as you make a list and then get going.
Other areas that may eat into your productive time are:
surfing the net
interruptions that could be avoided
How well do you multi-task?
You really can walk, chew gum and pat your head at the same time. It might mean getting into a different mindset but it's worth it. Think of all the things you can do while watching television, for example. You can fold laundry, write out a shopping list, fill out forms, do a favorite hobby, chop onions...the list is endless.
Apply this to everything it's possible with. Some things do require a single focus, but if you think about it, many don't.
In conclusion, if you need more time, try some of these methods. Set realistic time frames by noticing how long things really take. You can make as much as you need.
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