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The Reality of Time Management

posted Dec 7, 2010, 6:59 AM by Kristin Mastromarino Vander Wiede   [ updated Dec 7, 2010, 7:40 PM ]

Dec 7
If you missed Wendy's (lifewithwendy.com) update yesterday go back to yesterday's post.  Below is Professional Organizer Kristin Mastromarino's response.

One of the best things that Wendy did this week was take a time inventory of how she spent her week.  She looked at what she planned for the day and then tracked how she actually spent it.  This process is more revealing than you realize! I highly recommend doing it. Let’s look at what Wendy learned:  She has more to do in a day than can possibly be done and most of this is self-imposed pressure.  Of course she is going to feel like she failed everyday because there is no way she could have possibly accomplished it all.  And the reality is the only person she is disappointing by not getting enough tasks done is herself.

I will fully admit that as a Professional Organizer teaching time prioritization to others, I go through the same feelings of failure when I can’t seem to make a dent in an ever growing to do list.  As Wendy pointed out, she is doing more than is humanly fathomable to others.  She should congratulate herself for being able to accomplish so much rather than feel like she has failed to accomplish anything each day.  

We are both extremely successful women accomplishing huge amounts of tasks each day, but we are also over-achievers. This is a personality trait that is both a burden and a gift depending on the setting you are in.  As entrepreneurs and natural leaders who are passionate about our work, and helping others.  There is a constant self-created pressure to achieve and follow through with ideas that will flow as fast as we can think them. Our peers are impressed with how much we are able to achieve.  But at a certain point the goals will seem insurmountable as we simultaneously attempt to balance family and social commitments.  Burn out will certainly occur if we don’t keep it all in check.  We all need the reminder once and a while that “saying no” and “letting go” of perfection is okay.

Wendy, this week I want you to really think about what you are committing to everyday.  If you aren’t keeping your long term goals in check and doing activities that support them you are going to keep suffering from diversions and doing tasks that have you all over the place both physically and mentally.  You have made a huge step from last week in recognizing that accountability isn’t your only struggle, its a distorted view of time. Sometimes it is hard to understand what activities and responsibilities you need to ditch, but admitting you can’t juggle it all is not a defeat, it is freedom from your own psychological grip.

Here are four action steps:

1.  Identify your goals for your career and your personal life.  What do you care about the most?
2.  Track the activities you participate in this past week.  Did they support those goals?
3.  Identify areas where you get caught in your own perfectionist ideals.  (Would it really matter if you didn’t have the perfect meal on the table tonight?)
4.  What can you let go of?  Are there activities, mentally draining relationships, or projects that you can let go of that would give you more time and mental clarity to do the activities that you really love?
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