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Time Management Article

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Time Poverty

by Esther Smith

There is a misguided thought that being busy is the same as making progress. With shorter deadlines, competing priorities, interruptions and even higher quality expectations, it brings today’s time challenges to another level. Yet the number of hours in the day has not changed.

A common mistake that most people make is not allowing for a balanced life-style. Remember, one’s overall health and wellness require attention to six important life areas:

Physical (exercise, nutrition, sleep)
Intellectual (cultural, aesthetic)
Social (intimate and social relationships)
Emotional (expression of feelings, desires)
Spiritual (quest for meaning)
Career (career goal directed work)

Naturally you don’t need a required amount of activities in each of these areas, but if you neglect one entirely, you may be ignoring an important part of yourself. For example, if you set aside time for exercise you will improve your overall functioning and better manage your stress. If you take time for your intellectual growth, you will gain new perspectives on life, experience different pleasures, and be better able to focus on your goals.

Consider your biological prime time – the time of day when you are at your best. Are you a morning person, a night owl, or a late afternoon whiz? Knowing when your best time is and planning to use that portion of the day for your priorities is effective time management.

You can conquer procrastination using Alan Lakein’s method of “Swiss Cheese”. When avoiding something because you dread the task, break it into smaller bits and do just one of those smaller tasks. If this is not possible, set a timer and work on that biggie for just 15 minutes. By doing a little at a time (I hate filing), eventually you will reach a point where you’ll want to finish it once and for all.

For myself, learning to say “no” was next to impossible. Such a small word, but I wanted to please no matter the cost to me. But focusing on your goals may help. You must be convinced that you and your priorities are more important – that seems to be the hardest part in learning to say “no”. But it does get easier when you simply can’t find the time and refuse to be derailed for that hour or that day.

In the Malaysian culture, only the gods are considered capable of producing anything perfect. Whenever something is finished, a flaw is left on purpose so the gods will not be offended. Of course some things need to be closer to perfect than others but perfectionism can be a form of procrastination. Shed the stress of always being perfect.

Gaining control over your business (and personal) life, means gaining control over your calendar. Eliminate the trivial tasks or those that do not lead to your long-term goals. Focus your efforts where they count. Managing your time requires an understanding of where your time is going, outlining your priorities, and defining a time budget and plan, even if it means changing some behavior and monitoring the results.

© 2004 Esther Smith


Esther Smith publishes a weekly Newsletter, Partners-For-Profit. Her websites: http://thepermanentventure.com and http://moreonlinecash.com offers proven resources for all home businesses. She also does freelancing: writing, editing and/or proofreading. mailto:editor@thepermanentventure.com


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