Cultivate Day 2: Time



What would you like to do in your spare time to enjoy it more?

Ah, time. My arch nemesis and best friend. My flirty lover that is either right by my side or running away from me. My inconsistent consistency that in one moment seems to drags on forever and the next moment is suddenly and permanently gone.

When I was a grad student, folks would comment on my seemingly impeccable time management. I would get questions like “How do you do it all?” “Do you even sleep?” “You just get so much done!” etc. etc. I chalked it up to religiously using Toodledo and always being motivated enough to work in large chunks of time in a fast and efficient way.

Fast forward to last spring. And this fall.

And I would argue that I was NOT being impeccable with my time management.

In fact, quite the opposite – I was worn out and stretched *way* too thin (more details are relayed in another post here) and I felt myself “doing constant flips underwater without knowing which way is the surface” as one of my co-workers and good friends so eloquently put it.

Suddenly I felt as if I didn’t have enough time to do anything (including eating some meals, much to my fiance’s concern) and it started impacting my health by way of kidney stones (wouldn’t recommend), anxiety (also not fun), and depression (definitely #nobueno).

Fortunately, I have an amazing support network and a really understanding therapist, and together we worked together to tackle my newfound issues with time.

Among the many tips and suggestions, here are a few that I plan to implement in 2016:

  • Setting aside specific time(s) every day to respond to emails. I’m sick and tired of being an email whore. No more.
  • Tracking how much time tasks actually take to use as documentation if needed. Meaning, if I get asked to do something I can easily show a spreadsheet and say “Sorry, can’t right now, I have enough on my plate.”
  • Accounting for prep time to tasks in addition to the actual task (for example, preparing for meetings with students as well as the meeting itself).
  • Abiding by strict meeting times (for example, I can’t be chatting with students for hours – as much as I love playing catch up and hearing their stories, there’s still work that needs to get done).
  • Adding cushioning to my scheduling (even if it’s just 10-15 minutes!) so I’m not running all around campus. As much as I need the exercise, it’s a bit much.
  • And finally: seeing time spent on activities outside of work such as stretching, meditating, dancing, etc. as necessary and needed.

So in addition to these tips to more efficiently manage my work time, I’m going to better maximize my personal time by doing more fun things that make me happy and feed my soul, spending quality time with friends and family, and oh yeah, planning my upcoming summer wedding. 😉

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