Do you struggle with time management and prioritization of projects and tasks? I sure do.
I feel like the pastor who preaches against the very secret sin he’s hiding, constantly encouraging people to have better productivity systems so their creativity doesn’t go to waste.
But most of the time, if I’m being honest, I have pretty poor time management skills. I get distracted with Facebook or kill too much time on Twitter. I obsess over a certain design piece of my blog, spending hours trying to get it just right.
I aimlessly wander through the blogosphere, scanning irrelevant articles and commenting on posts that really shouldn’t be a priority to me.
I get stuck answering emails for half a day, giving in to the vile temptation to keep hitting “Get Mail” button (even though it’s set to retrieve new messages only every hour).
I eat up my day with pointless, unproductive meetings and lengthy phone calls. And then, when my wife asks me to do something like take out the trash, I procrastinate, using work or personal projects as an excuse for being busy.
The reality is I need to get a grip on my schedule.
I deal with this stuff, it seems, in seasons. On occasion, I can be really fantastic at it. At other times, my whole world falls apart, because of “busyness.” Even now, as I write this, I’m in the process of reclaiming my schedule. Reading an article recently help me identify what a problem this had become.
There are six symptoms of poor time management that you should be monitoring:
1. Being overweight
Do you find yourself saying that you don’t “have enough time” to work out and eat right? There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to spend 20 minutes a day doing light exercise.
2. Lots of email in your inbox
Do you never get your inbox close to zero? Do people send you emails and have to follow up a week later, because they haven’t heard from you?
In today’s connected world, it’s a challenge to stay on top of electronic communication. But it’s not impossible. And if you’re going to be effective in your work, you can’t let the digital “paperwork” mount up.
Is your office and/or home a mess? Can you not see your desk, because of all the paper? If you have unpaid bills or unreconciled credit card statements, there’s no way you’re able to concentrate (or fulfill) the tasks at-hand today.
Clutter is an indicator of a lack of organization, which betrays your inability to manage your schedule.
4. Unfulfilled commitments
Are you constantly running late or finding yourself often canceling or postponing appointments? If you’re making promises you can’t keep and always apologizing for it, you may need to acknowledge that you have a problem.
5. Lack of personal touch
Do people complain that they never hear from you? Are you unable to make time for friends and family? Losing touch with those who are closest to you is a sure sign that you’re spending too much time at work or engrossed in an activity.
Do you constantly feel stressed, no matter how much you work? If you always feel like you could be doing more and never “on top” of things, this is a bad sign. Your life is probably out of balance.
You don’t have to feel like this. If you were afraid to answer any of the above questions, you may have some time management issues. That’s nothing to be ashamed of, though.
In American culture, these feelings are almost inevitable. But you can take control of your schedule. And you need to do so. Who cares if this is normal in our culture?
You don’t want to be “normal.” You want to be healthy.
For more on how to deal with this, I recommend you read this: Is It Time for a Time Management Upgrade?
Do you struggle with time management issues or any of the above? How do you manage your time? Share in the comments.