Order and fun – the secret to making the most of your day
When did time start?
In Genesis 1, verses 3 to 5, we see the first reference to time when God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
This is the only currency that every person in the world has the same amount of. We start each day with the same amount of time namely 24 hours! It is a truism that some people simply get more done in a day than other people – thus the saying that “If you want something to be done, ask a busy person”.
However, there is a difference between being busy and the disease of our time, “busy-ness”. The symptoms of “busy-ness” are rushed behaviour, telling everybody how busy she is, running from appointment to appointment, shouting at kids not being fast enough and the most dangerous of this is a reliance on energy drinks to get through the day. The problem with this is that you are exhausted (but proud) at the end of the day, but only the basics have been achieved.
Then there are those cool, calm and collected women that breeze through a day, a week, a month, always smiling, always available and probably always wearing lipstick and stylish clothes while listening to the stories of their kids. The difference is planning – in pencil because you never know what curveballs may be thrown at you. Interesting fact – the first person to develop a “to-do list” was Benjamin Franklin in 1791. Believe me – if it was necessary then, it is even more necessary now!
If there is one woman that we can learn a couple of lessons from about time management, it is Lillian Gilbreth. Not only did she and her husband have 14 children between 1905 and 1922, but she was also an engineer and did pioneering work to improve productivity in the house. As an engineer with a PhD in Industrial Psychology, she created the “work triangle” and the linear kitchen, the foot-pedal trash can, added shelves to the inside of refrigerator doors, including the butter tray and egg keeper wall-light switches, to name but a few. How did she manage such a big family, a household and a multi-level career? She planned! She knew how much time would be required to do a task, and she made her tasks as easy and funfilled as possible.
I agree, her world was quite different from ours, but we have more time-savers than she use to have. So, the principle stays the same – planning is key to getting through the day. Remember, when God created time, He also created order. The lesson here, therefore, is to use your 24 hours effectively.
Plan for rest and sleep, plan for fun – that will power you up to be more energised and productive.
It is also good to plan the whole week – on a Sunday make a list of the week ahead so that you can be prepared for what lies ahead. Look at meal options that will save time (like pre-prepared vegetables you can just pop into the pot). Robin Sharma writes in his book Lessons from the Monk who sold his Ferrari “if your priorities don’t get scheduled into your planner, other people’s priorities will be on your planner”
Five tips to keep your day more organised:
- Run a daily/weekly schedule so you can be prepared for what is coming. Use free time to prepare for something that is coming up or that you can complete and remove from your list.
- Plan each task in your time and allocate time to it. Stick to the allocation.
- Turn off notifications on your mobile phone.
- Limit distractions like emails popping up – complete the task at hand first.
- Keep your desk tidy so your mind can also be tidy!
Have fun and live each day as if it is your last 24 hours!
Dr Amanda Hamilton-Attwell – PhD, ABC, CPRP IABC Fellow