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  • Writer's pictureShawndra Holmberg, CPO-CD

It's Time to Get Real(istic)

We need to be realistic about how much time and energy we have these days. So let's Get Real this month.

kitchen timer

Set realistic goals and expectations: Sure, if you had nothing else to do you could get that project done in 4 hours. But what about interruptions or getting sidetracked or finding out you have to wait on someone else before you can move forward on that project? Set realistic goals and expectations for yourself, double the time you think it will take, and then set aside the time to work on it. The work doesn't always have to be in one continuous block of time. Think about working 15 minutes here and 20 minutes there. Small bites of time can add up to a job accomplished.

Find out how long "it" really takes: Take a minute (or rather 10 minutes) and estimate the time it will take for you to do each of the tasks on your to-do list. Time yourself as you do each task to get a realistic time frame. You'll be surprised. Many of the things that you think will take 'just a minute' actually take quite a bit more time. Other things that you dread doing may not take as much time as you think. So make your schedule and your to-do list realistic. Not a single person I know has more than 24 hours in a day, and remember, you have to sleep and eat sometime.

Oh, and I don't have to-do lists. I have could-do lists. I could do them if I had the time or the desire!

Organize with the end in mind: Before you decide that you are going to set up a system for filing or for storage or for whatever organizing project you want, estimate how long it will take on a daily, weekly or monthly basis to maintain it (remember to keep it realistic). Now, DO YOU HAVE THE TIME it takes? Keep your system easy to maintain and you are more likely to keep it organized.

Permanent change takes time: Are you critical of your ability to get or stay organized? Give yourself a break. Most articles I've read on creating new habits say that it takes 21 days. I think it takes a lot longer than that (and studies are proving it). I think it takes at least the same amount of time to create a new habit as you lived the old habit. I figure some of my new habits won't be permanent for another 40 years, but I'm willing to keep at it.

A Time Timer is an excellent tool to make time visible and keep you realistic.

The Art of Time Management: Habits, Tools, Skills

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