Sunday, February 24th, 2002
Is it just me, or does it seem as though there really isn't enough time to get everything done?
Seriously, there just aren't enough hours in the day to get all my work done, attend to the household chores, update my diary, exercise, read a book, visit or
e-mail friends and family, or just try to get a head start.
Of course, there are always the tasks that fall on the critical path, and therefore always have to get done first. Even so, at the end of each day when I
look back at what I achieved, some days I still have unfinished tasks that are critical, even late, other days I feel good about getting everything done that I set out to finish. Most days, however, I plan to
finish everything I need to do, and then try to catch up on the things that have been outstanding for ages... and almost all of the time, I just never seem to manage to do this.
Lately, in an attempt to really take control of this constantly reactive way of managing my time, I have had to go into a mode of active choice. That
means that I have had to choose, actively, not to bother to do something. It is painful at first, because as soon as you make the choice, all of your time-demons seem to attack at once. Friends drop in,
family want attention, work gets busy, the garden is overgrown, the house needs cleaning, the car needs a service, the finances go crazy...
And when you simply say 'No'... people are taken aback... suddenly they are not a priority... well, you get the picture. Problem is, this is the only way
to get ahead of the game. Jacqui and I decided to go out and buy a year planner, and to mark at least two consecutive weekends each month out that we call 'Our Time'. On these weekends we set ourselves
the task of ensuring that those outstanding tasks are tackled. Any calls go to the answering machine, any e-mails are unanswered... we just commit ourselves to the task at hand, and go for it.
This is what we have done for the last two weekends, and what a difference it has made... we have smashed through the jobs-to-be-done list... and had fun doing
it. Next weekend we have family coming to visit, the weekend after that we will see friends, and then we will have another two weekends of 'Our Time'... when we will again attack the outstanding jobs. I
think we're onto something....
Obvious, I know. I can almost hear your thoughts as you read this... 'Yeah, Dah!!'. Well, let me be the first to step up and say that we didn't get
it. I mean, it is obvious that this will work, but we just didn't do it... we lived by reacting to whatever came our way, and landed up being ticked check-boxes on everyone else's to-do list, except our own.
And that goes for financial matters too... we would budget at the beginning of each month, and by the end of the month we were wondering where the money
went... now we are proactively tracking how we live, how we spend, where our time goes, and making adjustments along the way. Slowly, I am certain we'll make this a habit, and we will be better off for
it. And those around us will come to understand that we are, in fact, much more available than we were before...
OK.. if you have walked with me through the last few years, you'll already know that there is a deeper structure to these thoughts... I
have written more about this in the Philosopher's Corner.