Time planning: getting on top of the wave

unusual clock face - like a spiral,a sun,  using roman numerals.I woke this morning with a sense of tightness in my chest – kind of like something had stuck in my ribcage. Uncomfortable. I get to feel like this when things are getting busy and I can’t quite work out how I’m going to do everything on my list before the time I need to.

I love it when I am working at full capacity – it does feel like riding a wave. But now I feel like I’m just slipping underneath the overhang and am about to be consumed by it. Basically panic is about to wash over me.

So I’m stopping now, noticing it, and taking action. The aim is to look at it more closely to see what is really there, rather than putting my head down and try  to blast it away by throwing hours of work at it (my usual approach).

I need a strategy, and these are the five things I’m starting with.

Planning

I’m going to take an hour now to structure this week. Work out exactly what time I have, only including occasional evenings or early mornings. I’m going to include time off for lunch and some unplanned time each day to deal with stuff that comes up during the day that I haven’t planned for. I’m going to keep walking the dog.

Social and other important stuff

I want to keep in my social stuff, not have it squeezed out. I want to make time to go through my clothes and pack appropriately for the bits that take me away from home. I want to get my nails done.

Priorities

Some things will have to give. There won’t be enough time to do everything I want to do – so what is most important, what needs to be done this week? I can look at deadlines – which are set by others and which are self-imposed and could therefore be moved? If I choose these now, I’ll save time.

Chunk it up

Big tasks need chunking up. I’m used to doing this with the kids and homework, now I need to apply it to me. No point having ‘ write 3000 paper’ as one mornings work – too big (for me!). Day one – skeleton outline, day two – compile research material, day three – tackle introduction… and so on. Need to make sure I leave a safety gap at the end and ideally one day off before finalizing my draft so I have a clear day to think about other things so I can come back to it refreshed to read it anew.

Time blocks

When I block out a section of time that is as long as I have to do a specific task. I can set a timer for near the end of that time so I don’t get caught out. Sometimes things have to be as good as they can be in the time available.

Ok, that feels better. The acknowledgement that something has to give is an important thing to get out there for me. I spend a lot of time determinedly trying to do everything ‘in time’ fulfilling some kind of ‘good girl’ fetish I have. Also the recognition that I need structure and process.

And I’m finishing this early – I gave myself 20 minutes and it’s not quite up yet. That means I can sneak in a quick dance around the kitchen as the kettle boils!

How do you deal with time pressures? Really interested in other things I could try this week.

Photo by  Ghetu Daniel and remember if you have enjoyed this and want to read more, you can subscribe to Jo Verrent’s blog by email.

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