Digital Attitude: Becoming Eminent

The Journey To Authentic Self

25 Hours In Your Day? 4 Things To Get You There

Alarm_panicsThere will never be a 25th hour in the day.

How many times have you said, “I just don’t have time!”   And now, with the world at your fingertips, with the internet and global business buzzing by in nanoseconds, having time to get everything done seems more and more difficult to accomplish.

But what if I told you it isn’t about time at all?  It is about your priorities. You may be rolling your eyes right now, saying ‘sure, sure,’ but  I bet you really do have time for the important stuff in your life, it is just your priorities that may be foggy.

Time is about priorities.

importantIf something is important, be honest, you will find time to do it.  For example. if one of your kids are in a sports game, you are there; if your favorite band is in town, you are there; if your mother needs someone to change the furnace filter, (oh well, I may have gone to far with this.)

We are able to find the time to do things that we think are important.  We are constantly making choices about how we spend our precious time.   And true, there is never ENOUGH time in the day to do every single thing, so we must choose.  Time is about priorities.

What would happen if you changed how you spoke about the time you have to do things?  If you started looking at it in terms of your priorities instead of the minutes that a task takes?  What would happen to you if you changed the common phrase, “I don’t have time,” to “it’s not a priority to me.” (Are You As Busy As You Think?, by LAURA VANDERKAM,The Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2012)

I would love to help you move into your new place on Saturday, but I can’t because, I don’t have time,  your move is not a priority to me.”

“I would really like to help you with that school project, but I can’t because, I don’t have time,  your project is not a priority to me.”

“I would really like to go to the gym to work out, but I can’t because, I don’t have time, exercising is not a priority to me.”

Is this starting to feel a little uncomfortable?  It should.  Changing your internal language in this way, shows what is important in your life.  When you say ‘it is not my priority’ (which is the truth, isn’t it?) opposed to ‘I don’t have the time’ (which may be true but it is because it is not a priority in your life), you can start to see what you are willing to place on the top of your limited time resource list.  Everything can not be important at the same time.  (Note:  I am not telling you to say this phrase out loud to other people, that would be rude.  I am suggesting you say it to your self, to understand your priorities.)

Time is about choices

OK, I agree, there are way more things that I would like to do then can possibly fit into my day or my life; my bucket list is very long.  But, as the Chicago columnist, Eric Zorn, said: “Don’t waste your breath proclaiming what’s really important to you. How you spend your time says it all.”

$7D24436BC485CA89This was not an easy lesson for me.  A few years ago I struggled with my time management and it started to get away from me. You see, I work remotely on a computer, all day, over the internet.  After work, I would stalk my kids on Facebook; blog on Tumblr and WordPress; Tweet; look at family pictures, and read tons and tons of online articles and blogs. I was getting sucked into the vortex of social media and online information.

It took my family to wake me up to how much time I was spending in my office, every day and every weekend.  One of the curses of working from home is you are always at the office, so, if you are an information junkie like me, it is hard to pull yourself away. My priorities had shifted because I was not paying attention to the choices I was making. Luckily, I have a loving and supportive family, who missed me, and told me so.

Getting control of your Time Management

Time Management is not a new concept and, as a project manager, it has always been a big part of how I operate at work, but I realized, that I needed to extend it to my total life. I needed to place my social participation on the internet, my work life, and my personal life into one integrated plan.

Attitude Adjustment Homework Assignment 1:  Know where you spend your time: Keep a time log

There are 168 hours in a week.  No more, no less. Do you know how you spend your time?

  • Over the next few days (a week would be great), I want you to track your time in 30 minute blocks (or at least as often as you remember).  How much time do you spend eating lunch, watching TV, surfing the web, and at your job? You may find that tracking your time uncovers some surprises. 
  • Add up the totals. Be honest.  This is only for you.  If you Tweet 5 times a day at 5 minutes each time, that adds up.

Attitude Adjustment Homework Assignment 2: Change your language

  • I challenge you, at least for the next week, to erase the phrase “I don’t have time” from your vocabulary.  Replace it with “it’s not a priority.”  Then after that week, move on to Assignment 3.

Attitude Adjustment Homework Assignment 3:  Make time for your priorities

  • Take the time log from Assignment 1 and put the actions into an order of importance.
  • Schedule your priorities into your daily calendar, including social media time.  Whether you use Lotus Notes, Outlook, or a paper DayTimer, you need to carve out blocks to accomplish your priorities.  If you don’t, you can’t complain that you don’t have time for them, since you did not give them any importance.

Alarm_jumps_2Blogging is a priority for me. Though it is not my day job, it is my passion.  I have two blogs, DogDaz,com where I publish two posts everyday of the year (which takes a lot of time), and this blog, that I post two times a week (which takes even more time then DogDaz).  The only way that I can make sure that I have the time to accomplish my publishing schedule is by blocking my calendar, otherwise, less important things eat away at my priorities.

Maybe you can only schedule 15 minutes for social media stuff like Twitter or LinkedIn, but at least it is a start.  Block out time, literally, to incorporate some priority activities into your schedule that may have been pushed aside by less important things.  Yes, it is a trade off, but what is important to you?

Are you worried about getting lost on the internet?  SET A TIMER.  Humor me here, it really works.  If you give yourself 15 minutes – stick to it.

Attitude Adjustment Homework Assignment 4:  Acknowledge the Trade Offs

Time is finite.  What you do in that time are your choices. The order you act on your choices are your priorities.

Since I can not find that 25th hour in the day, I must partition my day so that I can accomplish the important things.  The trade offs are the things that I have to let go of.  The things that will fall off the list.

  • Look at your time log from Assignment 1 and make sure it includes most everything you do in a week
  • Look at your priority list from Assignment 3 and make sure the choices on this list match where you are going in your life
  • What happens when you drop the bottom activity off your list?
  • If you were to add an activity, what would you trade?

——————————————————————–

I thought that I was a good time manager until my social participation started taking over my life.  Getting my priorities straight made all the difference. The larger the social world is getting, the picker I am becoming.  Because time is about choices and I chose an integrated life.  (But I it would be nice to have that 25th hour too.)

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Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)

3 comments on “25 Hours In Your Day? 4 Things To Get You There

  1. Pingback: Solving the Project Manager’s Social Dilemma – Part 1 | Digital Attitude: Becoming Eminent

  2. Remember that line about “A sound mind in a sound body” (Ancient Greek ideal, I believe)? Perhaps with a 21st century twist, “A sound social networking life in a sound social life”?

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