Why Time Management?

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Before I start, I want to thank those that commented on my previous post. I appreciate all comments because they make this blog into a two-sided conversation, and this was no exception.

The two comments were a response to my problem: how can I manage my time better? (Using a budget was a bad idea, it turned out.) Duth Olec talked about his experience working from home, concluding:

At this point I just make a list of all the things I want to get done today. Then I fail that list. Still, I try to keep the same rate of work on the list for each day and get stuff I’m behind on done, and on days when I happen to be more productive I can get it done.

Crystal Colwell, interestingly, said something similar:

Now I basically start my day by doing what I know needs done. Through the week that would be making something to eat for me and the man, spending time with him, and getting him off to work. After that I make a simple list of things I want/need to get done (usually before he gets home from work). I schedule in anything that *has* to be done at a certain time and the rest gets done as I get to it.

What these two comments had in common was making a short list for the day and just trying their best to get it done. Coincidence? Probably not. I have a lot of respect for both of these people, and if they both do this, I’m sure it’s worth a shot. I plan to try this short list approach next.

Crystal also had a question for me, though:

I do wonder what the biggest issue was that made you want to tryout this time budget? Is there a particular area of your life that you feel you are not spending enough time on?

My answer is absolutely yes. Although I have a full-time job, I believe that my greatest moments will not be in the workplace. It’s easier for me to get excited about my favorite things–writing, game design, Japanese, music–when I treat them as hobbies. In fact, I feel that my greatest mistake in life has been assuming that I’d want a career in one of those areas.

That means that if I ever want to do the things that really matter to me, it has to be in my free time–after I get home, or on a day off. Since moving in with my fiance, though, that’s been really hard. The apartment has chores that need doing, and she (along with my family and friends) wants a share of my attention for herself. By the time I do all that and then let myself relax a bit, the day is usually over.

After that, I go to bed and look back on my day… and I feel terrible. Where did my day go? Why couldn’t I get to anything–just one thing–that I actually wanted to do? I realize that if I chose what I was going to do that day, it would have turned out completely different. But for whatever reason, I’m not choosing what I do with my time. That’s ridiculous. Doesn’t everyone have that right?

When I sort through it like that, the question is not really how I manage my time. It’s more like, how do I take back my time? How do I take back control of my life? That’s a much more complicated issue, and I suspect it would keep me in a therapist’s office for weeks, so I don’t expect you guys to have a real answer. But if you have any experience like this, or little suggestions about it, I’d love to hear about it in the comments. Thank you.

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2 thoughts on “Why Time Management?

  1. I feel I should make a clarification in my setup in that I actually plan the week ahead simply in that I intend to get about the same amount of stuff done each day. Anything I don’t get done I try to finish the next day along with that day’s work. Then sometimes I’ll think of something else I need to do and write that in as a thing to do for the day, but I’ll usually focus on only getting it done when I have extra time (unless it’s important). For example, there has been something on my list for a few weeks now that is basically just “ask Phil a question”. Actually I kind of have two questions now so next time you’re on Skype I should try to ask those.

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  2. I love this post and not just because it has my name in it! ;) I have a lot of respect for you as well and I am so thankful that my words might be able to offer you a little help.

    “That means that if I ever want to do the things that really matter to me, it has to be in my free time–after I get home, or on a day off. Since moving in with my fiance, though, that’s been really hard. The apartment has chores that need doing, and she (along with my family and friends) wants a share of my attention for herself. By the time I do all that and then let myself relax a bit, the day is usually over.”

    I always feel so bad for the man in my life because his days off tend to be spent helping me around the apartment, doing laundry and etc. but to be 100% honest these are some of the favorite moments of my week. I know that sounds insane but it’s just that we have these rituals that we have fallen into that I come to rely on and look forward to each week. I hope you and your fiance can get into that same groove! Let’s be honest here: Chores suck! They suck a little less when you do them with the person you love though. It combines two things that involve a lot of time (chores and spending time with those you love) which is a bonus for those of us challenged with not having enough time in the day.

    Let us know when you try the daily to – do list and how it works out for you. My list today started out at about 15 things, turned into 40 and I got 37 done! The 3 things not done were not time sensitive so they move to tomorrows list.

    Liked by 1 person

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