Akst: Time Isn’t on my Side

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Classic rock lovers will recognize the headline as a play on words from the famous Rolling Stones song, but actually, another song with a time riff is stuck in my head.

It’s “Fly Like an Eagle” by the Steve Miller Band (“Time keeps on slippin’ slippin’ slippin’ … into the future)”.

The passage of time is weighing heavily on me. My birthday is Sunday. I turn 143, if memory serves, and have become aware that the time ahead is less than the time behind. I’m fretting about life organization, career development, and bucket-list scratch offs.

I don’t even have a bucket list. Writing one is on my to-do list.

As a journalist and former restaurant cook, you’d think I would be good at time management. Both those jobs are extremely deadline intensive.

I am good at making the deadline, but the way I do it – see if this sounds familiar – takes its toll.

I often have to scramble to get things done at the last minute.

It’s not like I intentionally let things slide and partly it’s about overcommitment. Life would get so much better if I said no more often. Hey, what’s the worst that can happen?

Overcommitment is only part of my problem. Regardless, a few weeks ago I wrote about teaching a “University 101” class this fall, and several readers asked for updates.

My “kids” are shy, but I’m impressed with them. They’re eager and smart. I hope some of it rubs off on me (nothing yet; I’ll keep you posted).

As you know, one of the biggest challenges about the transition to full adulthood is the expectation of being able to manage time wisely.

So, we’ll explore time management Monday. I haven’t written any notes yet. That will probably happen Sunday night, which is a pattern I want students to avoid.

Before the Labor Day weekend, I told students to email me. The assignment was simple but I had an ulterior motive: I wanted to see when the emails came in. I hoped students would get it out of the way before the long weekend, but fully a third of the class turned them in only hours before the deadline. A few turned them in minutes before the deadline.

Anyway, this isn’t sliced bread, but here are some simple ways to carve out a few seconds or minutes here and there.

First, understand the seriousness. Time is the most valuable commodity in life. It’s worth way more than money.

Keep a journal of how you spend an average week of work time. If you’re honest, you’ll be able to spot where productive time leaks.

Stand up at meetings. They tend to be shorter.

Try to handle each communication (paper or electronic) as few times as possible, and as immediately as possible. Avoid “maybe,” “pending” or “later” piles.

Delegate. Avoid the mindset of thinking it’s easier/faster just to do a task rather than explain it to somebody else. If you have trustworthy people, trust them.

Don’t instantly give people your attention unless it’s crucial. Instead, schedule a time to answer email and return phone calls.

Many surveys say people are frequently interrupted by their colleagues. Edward G. Brown, author of “The Time Bandit Solution,” suggests creating “time locks” and politely tell colleagues they can have your full attention later.


Source : daily-chronicle.com