Re: Blog

Time Management

In my last blog, we established that no amount of kicking, screaming, pleading, or bribing will convince the sun or moon speed up or slow down their movement in the sky.  We further established that we're all human and as meager humans, we must prioritize because there are only so many hours in a day, and if we don't pick and choose what's important than we will begin and end our days doing anything and everything, whether it's important or not.  Is it any wonder, then, when we look up, in consternation at 5p, and puzzle at where the time went. 

I said that I was going to mention Dead-lines in this blog.  It's not a dirty word.  After all, I don't want to waste any more time on cleaning my desk than I have to.
 I'm going to use an egg timer and spend 3 minutes cleaning my desk.  (This is of course a hypothetical situation, but if I were going to clean my desk, this is how I'd do it).  After 3 minutes of cleaning my desk, it might not actually be clean, but that's about all the patience I have for that kind of thing at any given time.  

After 3 minutes of desk cleaning, I go on to something easy, like my lingerie, because I don't fold that.  I just cram it in a drawer and close the drawer.  After that, maybe one more easy task, before another 3 minutes of cleaning my desk, and I keep coming back to my desk until it's clean enough that I can actually see the top of it, and maybe even wipe it with some Windex.  

So that's a way to work a dead-line.  Most people think of dead-lines as the arch enemy.  They're not.  

Dead-lines can be great tools.  I like to give dead-lines to human phone solicitors.  They start out asking me how I am, and if they can tell me about what-ever it is that they would like to sell to me, and I respond with a dead-line.  Usually it's about 2 minutes or less.  I tell them that I'm very busy and will be called away in two minutes, so that is how much time they have to tell me about their new and improved toaster oven. 

The solicitor will often try to trick me into giving them more time for their schpiel, by asking if they can call at a better time.  Don't be fooled by this ploy.  Your time isn't like your mini-van.  It doesn't depreciate in value over the course of time.  If anything, your time becomes more valuable, as time goes on, because we actually have less and less of it, as it marches on.  

(Consider what is said about the time left to victims of terminal illnesses, and how they use the time that they have left to them, when they know that it is limited). 

I listen politely, for exactly two minutes, and then I tell them that I'm now being called away by my husband, boss, son...........Okay, so I don't have a boss, but you get the picture. 

Dead-lines can keep you on track when you're working on a presentation to get that big client who will make everyone in your company independently wealthy enough to retire young.  They keep you from spending too long playing Chutes and Ladders with your kids when you need to be preparing that presentation, and they keep you from preparing the presentation, when you've promised your kids that at 4p on Sat. you were going to put that presentation aside to play with them, for an hour or two before dinner.

If you're like me, your family is a high priority, which is why we end our work days at a regular hour, and come home to spend time with our families. You work in order to feed your family, so in that way, what you are doing is for them, and this tends to be an over-used justification for not actually getting in some face time, each day with one's off-spring, and significant other.  

Your kids, unfortunately, don't get that the cost of a month's worth of groceries rides on the success of a particular sale's pitch.  They don't understand taxes and they aren't aware that cars, pools, and furnaces have to be maintained and that all those things cost money, too.  

What kids do understand is that parents are there or not there, to spend time with them.  When a parent has to travel a lot for work, or any other reason, it takes a toll on the entire family.  Luckily kids are pretty resilient and they learn coping mechanisms, and wait for that parent to return. 

But what if that parent comes home and continues to not be present for his/her family?  What does this tell the family members.  

If I were to come home from work and lock myself in my office, or if I were to go out cavorting or drinking, after work, instead of coming home, this would imply to my family that these things come ahead of them, on my list of priorities.  It may not be true, but truth really doesn't matter.  Perception does.  

I can't, and wouldn't if I could, tell anyone how to run their lives.  The thing is that a lot of horror stories that I've heard tend to start with family members who felt like they weren't high on a parent's list of priorities.  Just watch any episode of Super Nanny.

The funny thing about apologies, is that, contrary to popular opinion, they're not admissions of guilt or weakness.  It takes no effort to apologize.  It takes only a split second of thought to make someone feel better, by apologizing and changing a behavior that may be making them uncomfortable, like neglecting them.

It may be a bit harder to turn that split second of thought into a habit that lasts a life-time.  On the other hand, the rewards are so great as to make the effort of turning the thought into a habit, an experience of richness that will last your whole life.  Consider who is going to be taking care of you when you can no longer care for yourself.  The shoe will eventually be on the other foot. 

So kicking work to the curb at certain times, is essential to your future welfare, and you must manage your list of priorities so that you can routinely spend time with your family, and you also need time to yourself and if you have a significant other, he or she is going to want some of your undivided attention as well.  Each of your children also deserves a certain amount of your undivided attention, and needs it on a fairly regular basis.  

This then is why so many mothers must have chosen to be Stay At Home Moms, for so long.  I can see, clearly that a family, and a career together might just be too much for any one person to handle.  I truly admire those parents who are able to successfully juggle career and family life.

I am attempting to do both, and to do it now, to a greater degree than I've tried it before:  Perfect Day Massage has become a booming business; I'm working on writing a book; I'm learning how to be a Life Coach, and I'm considering founding an E-zine to compliment my Life Coaching business.  I also have an almost 10 year old son, who is maturing nicely and becoming a very decent and independent young man.  

I'm hugely fortunate in that my husband is supportive of all my varied endeavors to help our family to financial security, even when he is so busy with software programming that it really isn't always convenient for him to hold down the fort and take care of our son, our meals, and other domestic chores, as well as the handy-man type stuff that most husbands and fathers end up doing, on a fairly regular basis.  

Plumbing doesn't wait until you're ready before breaking down.  If the garbage man comes on Tues. am, then the garbage had better be on the curb Mon. night.  If the garage door won't go up, and your wife needs to be able to get the car out to get to work the next day, then you have to do something about it, now, even if something is on the stove.  

So we're back to prioritizing.  Not only are we back to prioritizing, but we can open up a whole new can of worms, called "delegating".  

In case you missed it, that "can of worms" thing was meant to be a cliff hanger and bring you back to read the next blog. 

Yours in Service,

Sue Hirsch, Owner of Perfect Day Massage