There is no such thing as time management. You cannot control time, throw it out, sell it, or give it away. You cannot stop time; it goes on forever and ever. So, what can you do?
You can manage yourself in relation to time. What does that mean? Understand your personal relationship to time. You can do this in two ways.
1. Know what organizing methods work for you- how do you best meet deadlines and manage to get things done?
2. Strive for balance
The first way you can manage yourself in relation to time is by understanding yourself and what organizing methods work for you. Believe it or not, there is a behavioral pattern called Chronic Disorganization. To find out if you are chronically disorganized, ask yourself these questions (Kohlberg):
? Has getting organized been a challenge for you most of your adult life?
? Does being disorganized negatively affect your quality of life in some way every day?
? Have you been unable to sustain organization?
Many of the organizing tips and tools you see in print and in office supply stores do not work for people. That is because they are written by traditional organizers for traditional people. If you are chronically disorganized, (ask yourself the 3 questions above or check out the National Study Group for Chronically Disorganized, nsgcd.org), accept and value your differences and move on to understanding what works best for you. There are professional organizers out there who are very familiar with chronic disorganization.
Time is one thing that is especially hard for the Chronically disorganized due to its abstract nature. One thing you can do is to "touch" time. For example, using post-it notes instead of linear to-do lists is helpful for some because you can give yourself a task and move it around on your calendar or from place to place. It is a way of making time more physical. Another way to "touch" time is to use landmarks around the room you want to organize.
Say you want to organize your office. You can put a bronze lion paperweight on top of a stack of memos from your boss reminding you that these memos are from "the king of the jungle". Or you can use real travel landmarks, such as a Yield sign, on top of projects you need to delegate. Or at home, write tasks you need to complete on post-it notes. Place them around the house onto the actual areas needing work. On the drawers, put a note, "empty out and wipe down." Alternatively, if you are an auditory learner, use a tape recorder to record tasks you need to complete.
Again, these atypical methods are suggested for anyone and especially for those who nothing has worked for before.
The second way for you to manage yourself in relation to time is to strive for balance.
Picture a table with several legs. If any of those legs are shorter than the other, the whole table is thrown off balance. So too, in your life, we all have several "legs" or vital categories we want and need to spend time on, namely: self, family, spirituality, education, financial, social, health. In applying the table analogy to time and life balancing, you do not need to spend an equal amount of time on each category, rather enough time on each one. Otherwise, everything gets thrown out of balance.
For example, a person pulls all-nighters for a work deadline. He/She becomes tired and crabby, upsetting the family, and comes down with a cold because of the jeopardized immune system. See how the whole "table" is thrown off?
It is important to make sure your daily, weekly, and monthly schedule reflect your vital categories in life. If you are spending lots of time on things that are not one of your table "legs", your tasks are not reflecting your life goals and priorities. No wonder you feel stressed and out of balance!
So, take a deep breath and assess your life as it is now. Are you spending your time on the areas you value most? If not, delete, delay, delegate and diminish these tasks. Always consider the 4 Ds.
By learning more about yourself; understanding what organizing methods work best for you and what your goals and priorities truly are- it is my hope that you will experience the meaning and balance in your life that you seek.
Rebekah Slatkin is a professional organizer dedicated to getting people organized through hands-on decluttering sessions, teleconferencing, coaching, and her website http://www.best-organizing-products-superstore.com Visit http://www.best-organizing-products-superstore.com and subscribe to Organewz, her ezine dedicated to organized living and get organizing tips and downloads- free.