Past me was a train wreck. Not an obvious one, but more like organized chaos. She managed to get stuff done, but always in the most tornadic way possible. I will never forget one of the times I ran out of gas on the side of the road…in my company car…just a few miles from my office…surrounded by countless gas stations...with gas cards in-hand. (Face palm! And yes, I said one of the times.)
This is a great example of the level of poor time management I was living in each day. My life was quadrant 1. This situation didn’t have to happen, but I let it happen because I did not value my time.
At that point in life, I was very focused on my interpretation of what I was supposed to do. I thought I was supposed to work hard for hours every day to prove my worth. I thought the sacrifice of my health and happiness would, somehow, pave the way for a better life. I thought I was on the fast-track to the ‘American Dream.’ After all, haven’t we been taught that more work equals more money which equals more happiness? I thought I was working my way to happiness.
In fact, I was actually working my way to burnout. You see, we are not meant to live in a constant state of urgency. However, many of us find ourselves in this state of ‘hair-on-fire’ living because we are afraid to say no, set boundaries, and protect our time. Or we are there because we haven’t yet realized the freedom that comes from planning ahead.
I used to say I worked best under pressure. This was actually a way to justify the poor time management that created pressure in my days. It turns out, I work best when I am well-rested and have time to think clearly and work without distractions.
I share all of this in what I hope will be an inspiring cautionary tale. No, I don’t hope to inspire you to hit rock bottom in the form of road-side distress. I hope this story will show you that I was not always good at managing my time, but I was able to make that important change and become a better version of myself. You can too. Maybe you have never run out of gas on the side of the road (I’m not sure how many people this actually happens to), but maybe you have had a different experience that underscores the need for change in your life. Don’t give up! None of us were born perfect. But we don’t have to be a version of ourselves that we are not happy with.
February is actually national time management month, so it seems like a better time than any to start mastering the art of good time management. Remember, important changes can take time and any progress is better than no progress at all. If you aren’t sure where to start, review some past blog posts or this one specifically about a first step. I would also encourage you to join an event or contact me for more help. You can do this and your life will be better for it.