The Stones Were Right: Time is on my side!
A few months ago, I wrote a post about time and money making the argument that most people have enough of both, even though most of us don’t realize it. Then a couple of weeks ago, I read this post over on Men With Pens, reviewing a book by Laura Vanderkam called 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think. I haven’t read the book, but the theme seems parallel to my idea that there really is plenty of time.
Every business owner has to learn to prioritize and that is where the panic comes in for most of us. How do you decide between sending out invoices or taking customer calls? When you have a list of tasks that all seem equally life-or-death important you can start to feel panicky. After all, if you are talking about your business you are probably talking about your livelihood.
There are about a million cliches, instruction manuals and classes that address how to manage your time better. Maybe a spreadsheet and adhering to some sort of strict regimen could help when you feel like you are drowning in stuff that must be done. But maybe just taking a step away from your situation and remembering that there is plenty of time would help too.
Almost everyday, I make a list of things I need to do that are too important to forget. Today, “pay the light bill” is on there. That’s pretty important and also typical of the kind of thing I often forget. The power board, cable company and water company have all made fortunes from my late fees and reconnection charges through the years. But, even if I forget to pay the bill and we have to go a night without power the world won’t end. We might be uncomfortable but we won’t be homeless.
Thinking up worst-case scenarios is comforting for me because it forces me to realize that, most of the time, the worst isn’t really so bad – barring terrible things happening to people I love, of course. In day-to-day run of the mill situations involving time, money and work the worst isn’t really so bad.
For years, I regretted not being more productive nearly every evening. Then, when I decided to try and change my mindset about time and productivity in general, I started making lists of things I had accomplished each day. Sometimes I even put a dollar amount next to each accomplishment – if I pay the light bill today I’ll be saving a $50 reconnect fee.
No matter the situation, feeling rushed and pressured is not going to make it better. Just because our society encourages us to feel stressed and hurried, doesn’t mean you have to. You can refuse to jump into the rushing rapids and just stroll along the bank instead.
How do you deal with time pressures? Do you generally feel there is enough time to do what you need to do? Do you think that organization and regimen is the answer to feeling perpetually rushed? Do you complete your to-do list everyday? (My dad would tell me that having a to-do list to start with is the problem!)