Finding Time. Written by Allison McWilliams for the Huffington Post, June 6, 2017.
How often have you heard, or have you yourself said, one of these phrases? We are all, it seems, in a constant pursuit of time: making it, finding it, creating it, or filling it. Indeed, when you first enter the world of work, you are flush with all of the available time. “I can do whatever I want!” you suddenly realize. No one’s telling you what to do, or when to do it, or how to do it. No one’s telling you to clean your home, or to eat something better than take-out food for every meal, or to go to the gym, or to join a church, or to find a place to volunteer, or to get a good night’s sleep.
However, your choices aren’t without consequences, both positive and negative. And one of those consequences is that every decision you make to fill a part of your time with one thing, limits or eliminates the amount of time you can spend on others. No matter how much you chase it, you only have twenty-four hours to every day. So what is the secret to “finding time” as an adult?
There are two ways to approach this dilemma. The first is to try to fit as much as possible into your available hours, which is probably the approach you took in college. And eventually, you will be faced with the reality that something has to give, whether that’s sleep, your health, socializing, or your productivity.
The second approach is to be intentional and disciplined in how you manage your time from the outset. What does that look like? Try the following strategies to get a handle on your time:
These strategies – create a time budget, identify your have-to-do’s and want-to-do’s, and set boundaries – apply not only to our personal lives but our professional ones as well. The culture of busyness has been explored at length for its harmful effects on both health and productivity. Multitasking has been found to be a myth; we simply do not have the ability to do multiple things at once and to do them well. And yet, even as the Millennial generation pushes for more flexible, integrated lives, as a society we still equate idleness with laziness and weakness, especially in the workplace.
But you know what? No one gets a prize for burning out, missing deadlines, or showing up late and unprepared. That friend who is always flaking out on her commitments or showing up thirty minutes late with a handful of excuses isn’t someone to emulate. So as you are acquiring tools for managing your life and work post-college, make sure that you are including strategies for managing your time effectively. It might just be one of the most important ways that you spend your time.
Want to know more about intentionally managing your life and work post-college? Check out our Five For Your First Five!