Why Isn’t There Enough Time in the Day? 7 Time
We are all afforded the same 24 hours in each day – nothing more and nothing less. Why is it then that some people seem to get everything done with time to spare while others can stand to have a couple more hours tagged on to each day? It all comes down to Time Management!
I’m often asked how I have time to do everything I do including running a medical practice, writing a leadership Blog, Being a Leadership Speaker, writing a food blog, serving on 3 non-profit Board of Directors, active in my sorority, exercising, enjoying my family and still have time to dine out with my friends AND spend time watching any number of mindless reality shows from time to time! The answer I always give people is that I’ve always been really good at Time Management. I’ve simply figured out how to do everything I want to do when I want to do it!
I don’t really believe in work-life balance because the scales will always be tipped in one direction or another. I like the concept of Work-Life Integration better. The term “integration” removes the connotation that there has to be a perfect harmony with your schedule all the time. It also allows for the idea that your work can be both fun and enjoyable.
My food blog is work, time-consuming work, but yet Sooooo much fun! Even though putting together any given blog posts usually takes at least an hour’s worth of work ( and that is for a short post), I absolutely love food photography, dining out with my friends and making connections within the culinary world through my blog. This is Work-Life Integration.
My Leadership Speaking engagements require a lot of work and preparation. I am constantly studying, reading, putting together presentations and writing regular blog posts. However the benefits I receive when I present to groups is priceless. I love the work that I do – Work-Life Integration
Owning my medical practice is one of the biggest responsibilities I’ve ever had and is certainly a ton of work! However, because I own the practice, I have the freedom to shape my schedule the way I like to. This allows me to integrate a lot of other opportunities into my schedule – Work-Life Integration.
I’m also a “To-Do List” type of person. I create my list on Sunday afternoons for the upcoming week and that gives me a clear, written vision of what I need to accomplish in the coming days. As I’m creating the list, if I notice any given day becoming more full than I know is realistic for me to accomplish my tasks, I simply shift some things to another day. Not everything on our “to-do list” is urgent….some things can wait!
When I start feeling overwhelmed with activities, I do a self-evaluation to determine if I need to let go of some things on my plate. I gain fulfillment of my God-given purpose in life when I am serving and helping other people………..including MYSELF. No one else will be held responsible for me being stressed out and over-doing it but me! I’m not interested in a life where I become so busy with outside obligations that I miss out on time with my family, friends and doing those things I enjoy and bring me peace.
Here are some Time Management tips that I hope help you when you start to feel overwhelmed by too many activities and happenings in your life:
❐ Create a To-Do List – 1 for the entire week and 1 list that you can tweak and tailor everyday
❐ Assign a time frame to each activity – This ensures that you are being realistic about just how much you can physically get done in one day. When I was a student, specifically a med student, I literally scheduled blocks of time to study each subject, down to the hour. Example:
Break for 15 minutes
Break for 15 minutes
Break for 15 minutes
Watch Favorite TV Show 9pm-10pm
❐ Schedule for time spent with family and friends – At the end of your life, you will most likely care more about the time you spent with those you loved and who loved you than the hours spent pounding away at the office. Work and making a living is important for all of us, but make sure it doesn’t come at the expense of quality time spent with others.
❐ Schedule personal “me time” – These include time for meditation, meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner times, times to watch your favorite TV shows, working out, pampering yourself at the nail salon or spa, attending a festival or a cooking class, etc
❐ Create barriers around your valuable time – Answering and replying to emails is a major time-stealer for many people. Set specific time frames around when you will answer emails and when you will return them. If you like to check emails first thing in the morning, try deleting spam and junk mail 1st, then scan your inbox for emails that are urgent and need immediate attention-> reply to those as necessary. Flag those emails that require a response (not immediately) today, so that you know to come back to them later. Wait until the end of the day to reply to all others. Close down the email tab so that you are not distracted my message alerts throughout the day. Believe me….most things can wait a couple of hours!
❐ Create time barriers around social media – Ever been on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest and before you know it, an hour or two has gone by? I love social media, but I know how much of a time-zapper it can be too. Engage in social media during breaks or downtime. Similarly, resist the urge to engage in social media during times when you should be spending precious time interacting with family and friends. Ever been out to dinner and seen an entire family all on their individual mobile devices checked into social media and ignoring each other?………..ANNOYING!
❐ Be intentional with how you live your life! – Many of you are probably engaging in activities that don’t really bring you joy, purpose or allow you to live out your passions. The problem is that many people get trapped in doing things out of habit. Walk away from those time-stealers and start living a life on purpose!! Remember, you can always make time for what you are interested if you simply make it up in your mind to do so! (Tweet this)
Dr. Carmen April is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter. Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.