Have you been procrastinating some task? Have you forgotten to take a minute and do some trivial thing? Do you wish you could find time for your hobbies?
I’ve found that the key to time management is: making multiple things available to you at all times.
I used to hyper-focus on 1 thing at a time, thinking that by putting all my efforts toward completing 1 task at a time, I would do better. But instead, I Burnt Out quickly and needed to take breaks where I’d lose focus and get distracted. In high school, was anyone else told to “not move from this spot until this assignment gets completed”?
Did you have to do that because you forgot to do it a little every day? Studies have shown that there’s a cap on how long you can focus on 1 thing before your mind starts to wander. Switching up the task every time you get bored makes you more productive because you are able to squeeze in more activities throughout the day. I used to think that ‘setting up’ a task took the most time, but, Juggling works best with 3+ objects constantly in the air. And I’ve found that having 3 things on my plate at all times not only gives more variety to my day, but also demonstrates ‘progress’ on multiple jobs, which improves morale.
I have a few ‘stations’ in my life: my work desk, my home desk, my car, and the place I eat lunch. Those are my ‘usual places’. So, I keep various things I need to work on at those stations. So while I’m there, I always have something to do [aside from the main reason I’m there].
If I’m at work, and I get burnt-out for a minute, I have some other things right there that I can focus on for a few minutes. It’s a mental recess from work, and it productively uses my break time for some other task without moving myself to a different station. Having multiple things available to me keeps my brain stimulated so I don’t get drained on any 1 activity.
Time in my car could be time that I spent making appointments, or calling my folks, or catching up on podcasts/radio news/seasonal errands. I keep things in my car that facilitates doing those things easily. I keep books/mail/non-urgent paperwork at my other stations, so if I get bored of 1 thing I can give attention to the others. If I’m burnt out on 1 type of work, I have other work I can transition to at a moment’s notice, and still keep my routine.
The way this Manages my Time is that it gives me an actual task to do. Instead of spacing-out, I’m giving real brainpower to things that I selected as worthy of my time. This way I’m able to stay on top of all the little things. I think most people like having a routine, it keeps people on track so they don’t waste too much time lingering on any 1 activity. Work, home, chores, ect. But the routine often forgets to allocate time for seasonal activities. These Little Things don’t take much time, but are somehow so trivial that we can’t find a spare minute to give them.
What are my little things ?
-Writing and sending cards to my grandparents a few times a year. This doesn’t take a lot of time, but I kept forgetting to do it, so now I keep cards at one of my ‘stations’ so I can write without breaking routine.
-Drawing up marketing material for my side gig. I doodle cartoons for my friends company’s social media presence, about 1 a week. Now, I keep a sketch pad in my lunch box, so I can draw while I eat, a little every day.
-Book club. I could never find enough quiet time to read at home, so I brought the book to work. Now I have the opportunity to read a few pages every afternoon in between work tasks [instead of zoning out].
-Giving proper attention to snail mail. My brother misplaced important paperwork once, he left it on the kitchen table for months until it was Lost. When I get mail, I put it in my laptop so that I’ll remember to actually read it/file it/pay it the next time I use the computer. I also have a loose filing system, so I know where to look for anything remotely important. Notices from the DMV, tax forms, bills, ect.
-Keeping up with hobbies. When life gets busy, personal interests are the first thing to get pushed to the back burner. Finding time for yourself can be tricky, but I think there’s time somewhere; maybe during the commute, or during lunch break. There’s got to be something I can carry around with me to encourage my hobbies [on the go].