Time management is an issue which is addressed in every workplace.
Increased productivity and profitability is linked to the ability to make the most of the time allotted to us each day – whether we are working for our own agenda as business owners or entrepreneurs or whether we are working for someone else’s goals as employees.
We are encouraged to divide our days into hourly, half hourly or even 15 minute slots and allocate a particular task to each division. This sort of time management is very successful in being able to work through the daily to-do list and many people operate along these lines and consequently achieve much.
As I’ve grown older, the desire to be driven to achieve has been tempered by a natural slowing of the pace of life. I’ve become more reflective and, although I know how fast time seems to slip away and want to make the most of this last third of my life, I’m conscious too that I want to view my days differently.
One of the side effects of the aging process, along with lined skin and changing body shape, is a sense of liking being in your own skin. This feeling at ease with yourself manifests itself as a desire to be more authentic – to live more congruently – which then impacts how I use my days.
I no longer want to be ruled by a to-do list, although I still find them a helpful tool for remembering things that must be done because I do forget! My desire is to live each day as if it were my last – to wake up each morning and think, “If today is my last, how will I fill it?”
The answer to that question lies in who I am.
The answer to that question is more about who am I rather than what I want to achieve.
The answer to that question concerns being rather than doing.
My day may be used in the same ways that I would if I had a to-do list, if I had it apportioned in time slots, but my reason for doing these things has changed. I no longer do things to tick them off a list, or to show how much I have completed or achieved today. I do things because they resonate with who I am. I do the things that reflect me.
As I end each day I reflect on how I have used the time I’ve had and judge whether I have used it well or ill by how much the day has reflected who I am.
I recognise that the ability to use time according to my agenda is a luxury I didn’t have when my sons were young and life was much more fast-paced than it is now. But I believe that we each, regardless of the season of life or the circumstances in which we find ourselves, have some measure of control over how we use our time. Time is manageable. Its apportioning into seconds, minutes, hours and days is merely an artificial construct.
We can choose to live each day congruently and authentically.