I have found that you can take a woman out of the busy city, but you can't take the busy out of that same woman! (I hope that makes sense). I moved here and got involved in all the things that I have always wanted to do, (but never had the time for). I am an EMT at night, work all day as a Post Master, attend school functions, Sing in the Choir, help the kids with homework, blog, write, and even manage to travel when my boss needs me to do something extra for her.
How do I do that, you ask? I am NOT and never have been super woman. I am someone who uses every moment of time in my day. I don't relax too well, it is something I am working on and I think we might even have one picture of me in a hammock (I know that I have seen it somewhere!). I actually manage to do many of the things I do by using the time managment strategies that I learned in my work place.
I used to help teach a "7 habits" class. If you don't know what that is, or have never read the books, I recomend that you try and find them on ebay (or at your local bookstore) and go through them. They are by Stephen R. Covey. I have read most of his books and love them!
My very favorite visual aid with that class goes like this-
Start with a bucket, some big rocks enough to fill it, some small stones, some sand and water.
Put the big rocks in the bucket - is it full?
Put the small stones in around the big rocks - is it full?
Put the sand in and give it a shake - is it full?
Put the water in. Now it's full.
The point is: unless you put the big rocks in first, you won't get them in at all.
The big rocks represent your big issues, the things that are most important to you above anything else, the smaller rocks represent those issues that are still important, but not the most important, and the sand and water represent the inevitable issues that fill up your day and take up your time. (This can be things like telephone, email, ect.)
If you start out by putting in the water and sand, you will never get the big rocks into the bucket. Try it! You will be amazed that trying to put everything in the bucket backwards does not work! We used to use all the amounts pre-measured and use the same big rocks for both examples. In the one bucket we would put in the water and the sand and than the small rocks and than the big ones. The big rocks would never fit. They would be sticking out all over the top, or they would fall out of the bucket. Than, we would dump out everything and take the same bucket and put the big rocks in first. Than, the smaller rocks, than the sand, than the water. It is a great object lesson and I have found it to be true in my life.
In other words: Plan time-slots for your big issues before anything else, or the inevitable sand and water issues will fill up your days and you won't fit the big issues in (a big issue doesn't necessarily have to be a work task - it could be your child's sports, orchestra, concert, or even a holiday). I have learned that we can all make choices. We can choose our big rocks. It is up to you to decide which issues in your life are your big rocks. Put those on the calendar first and than plan the rest of the month (or week, or day) around them. I have found myself accomplishing so much more since I started putting the things that matter most ahead of all the ones that matter least. At least this way, I make it to most of the things that I need to be attending.
You really don't have to let the calendar run your life. I only have the things on the calendar that I really have to accomplish. That keeps me from forgetting. Having a calendar doesn't tie you down. It gives you freedom to plan and make sure you can do the things you have committeed to doing.
I once heard a speaker say, "Ask yourself, what comes first, the compass or the clock? Before you can truly manage the clock, (time), it is important to know where you are going, what your priorities are, in which direction you are headed (the compass). Where you are headed is always more important than how fast you are going. Rather than always focusing on what’s urgent, learn to focus on what is really important".
What is it that is important in your life?
This is the beginning of a new day.
God has given me this day to use as I will.
I can waste it or use it for good.
What I do today is important, because
I am exchanging a day of my life for it.
When tomorrow comes,
this day will be gone forever,
leaving in its place something
that I have traded for it.
I want it to be gain, not loss;
good not evil; success not failure;
in order that I shall not regret
the price I paid for it.