You have to manage your time better. You can hear the drum beat in your head. I should have made better use of my time today. I should have… I should have… I should have. Give it up!!!! There is no such activity as time management. There, I have said it. Now, I will be pilloried in the city square or internet universe.
Think about it. In the universe, time is a non-renewable resource. It isn’t like food where we can grow more; it isn’t like money where we can earn more; it isn’t like a spouse where if push comes to shove we can find another one (there is a heavy duty assumption here that you might want to go down that path for a second, third or infinite number of times). Sunday, September 5, 2010 is nearly gone. It isn’t coming back. There is no time travel (Dr. Who to the contrary) that allows us to revisit, rejig and restore the decisions of the past.
Today, I decided that I would read. I read 4, count them 1 – 2 – 3 – 4, books. They were all critical to my mental health. The list that I was going to accomplish today had nothing to do with reading. I was going to shorten pants for my husband and daughter, mark assignments for my students, cut trees into logs (my husband and son-in-law cut down around 15 yesterday), help my husband bleed the brakes on the truck and so on. The reality is … I didn’t do any of those things.
I did read my books, update my IPod, walk on the treadmill, watch the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL teams for my friends outside Canada), walk on the treadmill, review some contracts, share wine with my husband, print material for Tuesday and write my blog. But!!!! I never completed the other items on my list so guess what! These have been added to my list for tomorrow which already has about 10 activities to be completed. Oh! for change requests. We never seem to think about them for personal things.
The golden nugget for today is ‘track your accomplishments. There is no such thing as time management; there is only time conservation.’ You have to make the best use of the time you have today. There is no one who knows if we will awake tomorrow. There is no point in feeling guilty. There is only making the best use of the time you have available to you today.
‘Where time is concerned, there are no do overs. There is only do.’ Just a second, I was channelling Yoda. When you go to bed tonight, give thanks that you got to the end of the day and that you accomplished everything you did. The lesson is ‘procrastination is for the afraid.’ It is critical that each of us leverage every minute as if it is the last. Each day has 24 hours. It can’t be extended or shrunk. It is what it is. Conserve time like you would conserve water. It is the only non-renewable resource that where your choices have a direct impact. Make every minute count, no matter how small the activity. In project management, our personal decisions impact a team. Sometimes, we forget that our personal tendency to defer that which we don’t like to do will directly impact the team. Get with the program. Do the best you can today so that you have no do overs tomorrow. When all else fails, tell the project manager the truth. Life got in the way of your plan.
Don’t be the ‘drive by team member’!