Do you think that the idea of time management is so that you can cram more work into fewer hours? That’s what many people think but it’s not the correct answer. Time management allows you to make the most of your work hours while still having a life outside of work. Now that’s a concept too many people miss.
Does it matter to you to have leisure time or time with your family? Some people have missed out on this for so long that they don’t miss it anymore. They have given up the idea of having time for themselves. That’s really unfortunate and unnecessary. It’s like the old saying, “Some people trade time for money while other people trade money for time.” Then there are those entrepreneurial types who insist that you can have both time and money if you plan effectively.
If you could find the time to do what really matters to you, what would be included in that time? Make a list and be specific. Don’t just say, “travel” – put down your real dream. Maybe you have dreamed of taking a month off and backpacking around Europe or camping at several national parks on a drive across America. Those dreams take more than money, they take time off. If you only have a week or two of vacation, how would you get the time needed?
Or would you like to go back and finish a college degree or earn an advanced degree? When you work during the day, you have a limited amount of time at night for classes. That might mean you work full time and take longer to complete the degree. Another option is to reduce your lifestyle expenses, cut back to part time at work and free more hours to complete your degree faster. What really matters to you? How can you balance time and money to make these dreams become reality?
Whatever your dream, you can begin to align your time toward achieving that dream. It may mean that you work overtime to save money or take a second job for a year. Or you may have to extend the time to reach your dream to accrue enough vacation time to make the time off possible. It’s all about planning your time as well as your money.
Time management is so often thought of as a way to do more work in a given day. It’s also your ally in arranging your life and work so that you can fulfill your dreams. If only you could see this positive aspect of time management, then you might stop looking at it as if it’s another burden. Hours tick by whether or not you plan them. Hours become days to months and years while many people only talk about the dreams that they “don’t have time” to enjoy.
If you wait for extra time to magically appear in your life, you’ll wait forever and nothing changes. By using time management to support your dreams, then every day you get closer to what really matters to you.
To start, you can look at the calendar three to five years from today. Make the time you would like to leave for your extended vacation or the semester you want to enroll in college. Then count backwards for the number of days (months). As you divide that time into blocks of smaller preparation tasks, you begin to prepare to make the dream possible.
Even while waiting, you have the satisfaction of doing something regularly, investing time in planning and taking action toward your goals. When you identify what really matters in the big picture, then you find it easier to use time wisely today to set up your future goal.