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Improving Time Management

I have always had an issue with Time Management.  I’ve read many articles on it, I’ve read books on it, I’ve listened to podcasts. Many things that work for others do not work for me, so I have taken some tips and recommendations from all forms of media and I roll on and survive the best I can.

I am not alone.

Everyone is different, so we need to be careful when reading information and filtering what is possible for us individually. We need to find something that can be introduced into our daily processes that is sustainable in the long term, and distinguish that from what is merely a short term fix.

To briefly paint my picture, I drive 50km to work each day which takes anything from 40 minutes to 2 hours each way. I have four children and need to manage school/kinder drop offs and pick-ups as well as typical home duties in conjunction with my wife, who also started working full time this year. On top of this I coach my son’s basketball team, and my eldest children do Little Athletics which runs a weekday training session plus an event program all Saturday morning. Oh, and I’m an ultrarunner too, so I try to find time to run 50-70km’s a week to train for my own personal goals and ambitions. It’s not easy.

The common tools I use when things threaten to overwhelm me are:

  • Write a list of what I have to do and prioritise it.
  • Communicate those priorities to people who may be relying on me.
  • Understand that I can’t control everything, new issues and road blocks come up daily.
  • Constantly refocus on the tasks at hand.
  • Make time for myself, as no one else will do it for me.
  • Try to work on being ‘present’ in each moment.

If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
Lao Tzu

Rather than trying to multitask to complete six things at the same time and keep everyone happy, try to check yourself and stop for a moment. Re-write your to do list, re-prioritise (honestly) and communicate, then refocus and concentrate on tackling each task, one at the time.

Don’t be afraid to speak up when you are feeling overwhelmed, there are plenty of good people in the world who may surprise you and will be happy to lend a hand (or even just an ear) to help.

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