Do you ever wake up bright and early on a Saturday morning (okay, maybe not bright and definitely not early) and think: I am going to get that project done? You know you have nothing else planned, so you have the time. I did exactly that this weekend. Somehow the hours passed, each one occupied with something that I wanted to do, and the next thing I know, the clock said 9PM. And those boxes of unassembled furniture were still crowding up my stairwell, certainly not getting assembled tonight.
Have you ever thought about how long it REALLY takes to get things done? The reality is that all things take time – and usually we underestimate just how much time. “Let me run to the store – I will be back in 15 minutes.” When in reality it takes 45 minutes to drive, walk through the store, stand in line, and drive home. You can gain a lot of control over your life if you truly understand how long it takes to do all those things you want to accomplish in a 24 hour period. After all, there is no changing the fact that 24 hours is all we have in a day.
There are the usual tasks that we do every day and week – the laundry, shopping, paying bills, etc. There are those quick tasks that “Should just take me a few minutes.” And then there are those projects we try to slot into our days. Organization is about finding and setting aside the time to do each of these types of tasks. The challenge is accomplishing this with realistic expectations.
Julie Morgenstern’s book: “Time Management from the Inside Out” teaches you how to “Get Real” by using a time map. From the moment you wake up until the minute you go to sleep, your day is recorded. I did this every day for two weeks.
I can’t say I really enjoyed this exercise. To be honest, it’s really hard to stop, think about, and record how you are spending your time. But that is the point of the exercise. There is no guessing once you have your day written down on paper. Now I KNOW how long it really takes me to do all those things that I want or need to do during a day or a week.
What is the benefit? Knowledge. This knowledge allows you to realistically plan what can be accomplished in a given time frame. It teaches you how to realistically find slots of time for those other projects you want to complete.
That’s not to say that I don’t sometimes overestimate my days. This weekend was a good reminder for me that being realistic is much more productive than being over committed. And that blog that I thought would take me 20 minutes to write … really took me an hour. I’m still learning …