15 Sep Time Clutter-why can’t I do it all?
We all suffer from it—the insidious time clutter. But how come people beat themselves up for it?
The other day, I was speaking to a group of professionals— intelligent, motivated, overwhelmed and harried professionals and one of them asked me about what he called “time management” and that got me thinking…
Picture a large commodious drawer in your kitchen, just to the left of your sink, three tiers down. Now picture that nice, deep drawer jam-packed to overflowing with old, worn and stained plastic containers, some with matching lids, some without, square rippled bottoms from a Tupperware party in the 80’s, cracked oblong lids that come on your salads from the deli, that awesome glass nesting set that you splurged on at Costco, the ugly ones that your grandma gave you with the weird Santas on them, a true mishmash of loved and unloved items. Now imagine that you are trying to close that drawer, but the drawer won’t close. photo courtesy of 1000waystohelptheworld.com
Would you wonder why?
For heaven’s sake, people! There are only 24 hours in each day. Just like that stuffed-to-the-gills drawer—setting aside the mystical or scientific for now— your day (as we know it) is finite—it has a beginning and an end. And for part of that day, you need to sleep, go for a run, plan, shop and prepare for dinner, commute to work or drive the kids to school or take the dog to the vet or clean the toilet. You might even want some time to watch the news or say hi to your Facebook feed or finish that mystery novel or catch the tail end of the game.
Which leaves even less time in that original 24 precious hours.
So why do we think that we can keep adding and adding and adding to our days, taking on commitments, events, errands, projects and to-dos— why do we think that our Tupperware Drawer of Time is infinitely expansive?
You already know I am going to recommend you pull everything out of that drawer, spread it all out on the counter (and this is fresh in my mind because I just did this last week) and match up all the containers with their properly fitting lids. Right off the bat you can toss everything that doesn’t have a mate, before turning a critical eye to what’s left, letting go of the sizes, shapes and usability level that don’t meet your exacting standard.
I can pretty much bet that when you return your newly culled stash back in the drawer, it will all fit nicely. That’s how that works.
And yes, you got it, that little mental exercise was indeed a metaphor for how to manage your time.
Remember those “exacting standards” I was talking about before? What if you turned them loose on your calendar and really culled out the warped, stained, orphaned and useless time sucks, especially those dumped on you by other people and created a lean and mean 8-10 hour day for yourself?
The irony is that bogged down by guilt, obligation, pride, and an overblown sense of responsibility, we create so much stress for ourselves that we end up shutting down, and less gets done anyway!
What I am saying is simple: guard your precious minutes and hours like a mama lion guards her cubs.
Use my favorite evaluation tool for calendar items that are pushing back at you: ask yourself, “do I love it?” and “does this give me energy or take energy away from me?” Once you have the answer, here are a few options:
1. Get rid of the obligation: politely, diplomatically, decisively. Why is other people’s time more important than your own?
2. If you can’t fully let a calendar item go:
- Delegate or hire it out to someone else. (isn’t that what teenagers are for?)
- Postpone it, lower it on your priority scale so it’s not eating at you. Get it done when you have the time.
- See if it’s possible for you to do part of the task and either delegate the other part or give back the rest to the person who originated it.
- Find ways to chunk it together with other things that you are already doing. (i.e. make a few phone calls for the kids school when you are already making phone calls for your work, or drop something off when you are already in the neighborhood for another reason.)
Learn to evaluate in the moment whether or not you can afford to commit to a project or action before choosing to do so. If you have conflicting feelings and someone else is waiting for your response, let them know that you will get back to them in a specified period of time.
Remember, I am on your team.
..· ´¨¨)) -:¦:-
((¸¸.·´ ..·´ Jessica -:¦:-
New 8 week webinar starting Mid-October:
Conquering Clutter with Compassion- an 8 week online webinar limited to 12 brave souls, where participants have committed to diving deep, going through a protocol I developed specifically for those wanting to learn to be organized *for good*. I have structured the class to ensure an in-depth breakthrough and visible results in your workspace and/or home!
We will be doing weekly exercises, plus I will be providing real-time instruction and guidance and accountability on the physical aspects of organizing your space, not just cookie cutter ‘tips & tricks’. I will be working with individuals in the group on a specific room in their home or workspace and doing a “living case study” each week so that we all can learn from each other. The 8 weeks will be deep, interactive, personal and individualized.
“Seeing my hot spots dwindle down has been amazing, but going through and actually doing it was not as hard as I thought it was going to be. It seems once you start to be honest with yourself and why you let things get to the state they are, it is quite liberating. I can now walk in a room and think “Wow! if someone popped in, I will not be panicking, I can let them in.” No more shame on how I had things in the house.” D.G., Ontario, CA
Along with focused assignments, I will be including (optional) recommendations for using essential oils, as well as meditations, “mantras” and effective ways to include your family in the process of getting and staying organized, inside and out. There is a tremendous amount of value in the class for anyone who struggles with emotional, mental and physical clutter.
“I know working through especially the first protocol/exercise involved a lot of tears! Very cleansing and I definitely experience a strong shift.” A.H., Systems Analyst
Interested? Contact me at jessica at inperfectorder dot com [written that way to prevent spam]