Working for myself, from home, means I am responsible for the work I do. It also means I am the one that must create the necessary motivation to achieve all that I plan to achieve on a given day or week. I know how important it is to set goals and create routines, yet I have spent weeks now working on this article. I have really struggled with motivation and I have wasted hours and hours of time not doing what I know I should be doing. Funnily enough, just writing that makes me suddenly conscious that I am never going to get that time back and that if I’d used it well I could be working on something new. So with no more procrastination, let’s all learn from the words I am about to write. What is time management? Time management is about managing your day affectively so you can achieve all that you want to achieve. It is also about making use of time today, so that you can obtain larger, long term goals whose deadline is sometime in the future. Being able to manage your time well will leave you with a feeling of mastery and accomplishment, knowing that you put your time to good use. Having busy lives with enormous demands from so many sources means life often feels like a juggling act. People can become overwhelmed with the amount they have to do, making them tired, disgruntled and demotivated. Motivation is important as it can lead to an apathy which can prevent you from doing anything, even though you know there is so much to do. As such, time management can be seen as making the best use of your time, so you can handle all your responsibilities, without giving in to the misery of procrastination. Why is it so important? We all know that time marches on. We can all say “make the best of each day”, “live every day as though it’s your last”, but are such affirmations alone enough? I am aware that time is precious but it took writing the words hours and hours, that jolted me into a frenzy of activity that I was beginning to think had gone forever. Being able to manage time is important for those people who desperately would like more time to do all the things they want to do. You know who you are — “I wish there were more hours in a day” is one of your favourite sayings. Yet there are some people that seem to get so much done each day and still find time to relax and enjoy themselves. We all have the same amount of time. As such, good time management is about making the best of the time available to you. This also means using your time to help you attain both your short term and long term goals. Stress is a huge problem in this society and being in control of your own time is a sure way of helping you manage the stress you face everyday. By knowing what you are doing and when, then having enough time to do each activity will go a long way to helping you towards a life of reduced stress. Finally, I think it is important to mention the concept of flow. Flow refers to those moments where you are so focused on an activity that all other things are forgotten. If you are managing your time well, you should be engaging in regular flow-inducing activities. This means minimising time wasters that do nothing to enhance your wellbeing or give you that feel-good feeling that comes from engaging in something that absorbs all of your attention. So begin by switching off the television, stop checking your email every five minutes and browsing websites that you are not really that interested in. Copyright Julia Barnard 2007
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