“There aren’t enough hours in the day.”
How many times has this phrase been uttered in despair? I’m certainly guilty of saying it. But over time I have deliberately wiped it from the list of acceptable cliches (assuming there is such a thing). I’ve come to realize that this is simply not true. Perhaps more accurately there are two types of people who utter this phrase:
1. Those who take on far, far too much
2. Those with little -to-no time management skills.
This blog post will address the first type, and in a blog post coming soon I’ll offer some tips on figuring out if you’re in that second category and what you can do about it. The good news is both these problems are fixable and you too can have enough hours in your day.
We live in a high pressure culture that demands a lot of output from us. And our lives demand a lot from us. Most people in salaried positions work easily more than 8 hours, have families and friends, more than one hobby, necessary chores like banking and laundry, side projects like writing a blog, volunteer obligations, gym memberships and oh, yeah, we’re supposed to relax too and Tweet about it while we’re at it. Right. I’ll squeeze that right in. So what to do?
Learn to say no — and don’t feel bad about it. It’s often repeated that saying yes to everything in fact means saying no to something — and sometimes that something is your mental health. So if some request is going to push you past the limits of what you can handle or prevent you from having a night in (finally!), then say no. Take some time to refresh yourself so you can focus on things you’d rather be doing or really need to be doing.
This can be hard to do at work. There will be times when workloads pile sky high and it’s hard to slough it off. However, if you’re stuck in a perpetual hole it’s time to do a few things.
– Assess what you’re doing outside of your job description. If it’s more than a handful of easily managed tasks, it’s time to chat with your boss about staffing resources and responsiblities.
– Don’t volunteer to plan the office Christmas party or potluck. Let someone else do it this time. Don’t cave to whiners who point out “But you alwaaaays do it.”
– Be honest with yourself about your delegation skills. Are you doing something because you don’t want to pass it off to your staff? Don’t be a responsibility hoarder.
If you do those things and haven’t gotten yourself even a bit out of the hole, maybe it’s time to consider that your time management skills aren’t what they should be.
Celebrate addition through subtraction. If you don’t love it drop it. If it isn’t helping you achieve some sort of goal in your life, drop it. If you worry every day about having to do it, drop it. Of course, you need to go to work, do your banking and get some exercise, but if you eliminate the extraneous activities that have become a chore (or aren’t your responsibility), you’ll have more time to, dare I say it, relax. Plus, eliminating all that stress, dislike and worry is going to improve your outlook on life and enable you to become more productive.