Tuesday, October 6, 2009

5 Step To Stealing Your Time Back From the "Pit"

Do you have a great big pit where all of your time goes? Is it the television? Is it a favorite hobby? Does your time get sucked away by a hundred little things you didn't intend to do?  One way or another it is gone and you find yourself sitting at the end of the day wondering what happened to all the good intentions you had for your time.

I have a pit too.  In reality I probably have a few pits. TV is one.  There is something nice about sitting in one spot and not being required to do more than that.  Entertainment is thrown at me and all I have to do is sit back and take it in.  The TV does not mess up my house.  The TV doesn't dirty any dishes either.  When I turn off the TV I don't find that it hid toys under its bed or nibbled on the cookies I was saving for an occasion.  The TV gives to me continually, and all it asks is time.  (Okay, lots of time.)

I have hobby pits too.  Reading is a time sucker for me.  I have been known to start a book and stay up to finish it in the wee hours.  I usually have a content look on my face as I crawl into bed, knowing I will only have a few hours until I have to crawl back out.

If you take a look at my house you will see I obviously have a great pit of "I didn't do any housework today."  I find that when I get up in the morning I am ready to conquer the world.  If it doesn't happen by about noon, all of my energy and time gets sucked into the great time abyss.

So what do we do about this?  While it is good to have downtime, it is not a good idea to feel like you can't accomplish anything.  It is draining to feel that way.  As a sad irony, the more you feel drained, the less you accomplish and the more time gets sucked into the pit.  Every time you notice time being sucked into the pit you tend to get more drained. (Drat! The unfairness of it all!)

Let's go into this with a plan.  I want a real plan to help me accomplish my goals, get things done, and walk away empowered.

Step 1 - Identify what you are going to do. This doesn't sound hard, but it is very important.  Get a piece of paper, either one you can see on your counter or one on your computer.  Write a list of everything you need to finish.  Put everyday stuff as well as special projects you need to accomplish. If you want to get fancy you can organize the list with headings such as "household," "personal," "kids," "work," "maintenance," etc.  When you are done you might get intimidated, but don't.  This is just a list of the big picture items which need to be accomplished.

Step 2 - Break that list up.  Identify what things on the list you are going to do today. Be realistic.  It is not likely you will run a marathon in the same day you repaint your bathroom and sew a quilt.  If today has a small to do list that is fine.  Don't bite off more than you can realistically chew without gagging.

Step 3 - Create the environment.  Some people clean to loud music.  Some people sew to the sound of a symphony.  I like to read in a cozy chair with the breeze blowing through my house.  Whatever it is you are doing, create the right environment.  I like to work early in the morning as it is quiet and peaceful. So look at the list and create the appropriate environment to complete your first task.

Step 4 - Do It! Yep, actually do the first thing on your list.  If you are good at multitasking, do two things. I like to start laundry while I scrub the kitchen.  Then I change loads and pick up the house while things are in the dryer. I head up to make beds and find hangers and then pull out the first load.  If I time it right I can wipe numerous items off the list at one time.

Step 5 - Cross it off the list. Notice the sense of accomplishment? You have just stolen time back from the pit.  You have done what you set out to do. Yippee and congrats!

One side note: Sometimes you will have things on your list that you can't do alone.  You may not have the right equipment, or you may not have the physical strength.  Either get help, pay someone else to do it, or go learn the skill.  Don't let it sit on the list forever and suck your energy dry every time you see it.

Today's Question: How do you steal your time back from the pit?

No comments:

Post a Comment