Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Time management: Five steps.

On the last day of my live workshops I always have an open discussion about anything people want to ask - some strange things have come up!!  Unexpected things  that's for sure!...like for example one group that wanted to hear all about personality theory - now what that has to do with quilt design?  I don't know but I was happy to talk a little about that and then segue into how that related to one's art work!

In the last workshop, a student asked about time management.  This really is a key issue these days when it comes to actually producing something as a result of your creativity.  We are all pushed for time!  The number one reason people give for not doing  ANYTHING - is lack of time.

Years ago a book was published called "How to Live on 24 Hours a day" - unfortunately I've not yet had time  to read it!!   Arnold Bennett.  It's actually a free download from Amazon along with other self help books by Bennett.
"straightforward, vigorous, pungent" says  the New York Times!! Sounds more like manure....but!!

Actually I did start it, but didn't really come across anything very new - after all it was written about a hundred years ago.  But it's always interesting to see how the same issues bedevil us across the ages.= - we do have all our modern appliances...but we still don't have enough time!

HEALTH and PRACTICE are the two things we need most to improve our skills - whatever they are - quilting, cooking,  croquet  or canasta - if you want to get better at it, you need to practice.  In order to practice you need time.  To have the energy and creativity to practice you also need to be in as good health as you can manage.

So, time management.......

There are five steps:

1. Take data.  Write down everything you do for 3 days and see where the time is going now. Particularly note where someone else is wasting your time for you!
Also make a note of your diurnal rhythms i.e. is there a particular time of day when you are at your sharpest?  Or mellowest?  Some activities require a clear focussed mind, others only require time.  You don't want to waste your "best time" on mundane stuff!

2. Make a list of all your activities - including those that appeared on the data sheet from step 1 - AND - the activities you would like to do if you had time for them.

3.  Prioritize list 2.  Obviously the necessities of day to day living have to rank high, also those things you do to improve/maintain your health (usually exercise of some kind).

4. Work out a reasonable daily or weekly schedule....and implement it.  Keep taking data so that you can see where things go wrong - maybe your schedule wasn't that reasonable...or maybe other people are needlessly using your time for you.  Make the Most Important things from your priority list as unchangeable events that have  to happen almost every day.  But you choose what they are...don't let anyone else choose for you!

5.  Address the areas where your schedule is not being followed.  Consider each one as a problem that you can solve e.g. phone calls that go on for ages - either you can schedule them when you can also engage in a simple activity, like cooking or cleaning, or stitching.  Or, you can cut them short:  "Well, I won't keep you any longer, I"m sure you're busy" is a very good exit line!

Even if you can only harvest 30 minutes more a day from carrying out the above five steps...that will gain you 182.5 more hours in a year - more than enough to make another beautiful quilt!

If you have been, thanks for reading!  And do please comment with your own favorite time management ideas.  Elizabeth


Anonymous said...

Good to read and reminds us that we have to see our time as valuable.

When I had more family demands on my time, while I usually sewed on the kitchen table, sewing in another room sometimes did the trick. Don't know whether they couldn't be bothered finding me or respected my time spent sewing.

Elsie Montgomery said...

My time tips:
- If I deal with the time that I waste, I have more than enough hours in the day to do what should be done!
- Figure out why I'm procrastinating and face up to it. It's often a case of "I don't know how" or "I'd rather be doing something else..."
Note: wasting time and procrastination are close cousins!

Sew Jacky O said...

I find that the more I set myself to do the more I actually get done. On days when I decide to do one or two things the day often drifts by and I accomplish nothing!! Love reading your blog by the way.

California Fiber artist and composer said...

Thank you for posting this----it provides food for thought.