Manage My Time Takes Me Outside Myself

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To increase time management I am taking a class on the importance of planning; a class on anxiety and reading two books on strategies to control time and the mind. I am relying on teachers and authors who are outside my circle of habits. I am building accountability. I am establishing my habit-forming coach.

The requirement of the class is to get a physical, paper-bound planner. The first class provides a worksheet to fill-in-the-blanks, just as I would provide for my elementary school students. The teachers indicate to print it, as a study by Princeton and UCLA researchers found people who take hand-written notes learn more than when they type.

As published in “Psychological Science” and featured on NPR, the relation to time management is that computers can be distracting with clicking on websites, whereas pen and paper are self-contained. Note-taking provides short-hand, whereas typing tends to enable verbatim. Pen to paper allows a process called the “encoding hypothesis”. Note-taking enables processing, which leads to better retention. If there is better retention there is less time allotted for review, equating to improved management.

However, review does also enable remembering. Therefore, the teachers of this planning class do account for daily-habit building and time-management in terms of reviewing the material they teach. They advise for the first day to review notes for 10 minutes; the next day for five; the third for two.

Gary Keller, the founder of Keller-Williams Real Estate, wrote a book called The One Thing. His website follows suit with recommendations for focus and habit-building. He suggests implementing time-blocking, which enables set time in the morning, when many are at their highest energy level, to focus on your number one goal.

In a blog article, “Finding Your ONE Thing Is a Journey,” it mentions to compare yourself to you, not to others. It outlines the notion of a “temporal comparison.”

A temporal comparison is a comparison where we focus on where we used to be in the past. For instance, taking stock of where you were last year, five years ago, and so on. This creates a more realistic picture that improves mental well-being because it allows us to center our personal growth.

Focusing on ourselves saves mental energy and prevents negative emotions resulting from comparisons. The negativity takes up time. Saved time sets ourselves up for a positive state of being to time block with efficiency (and a timer!). Time Clock Go enables a similar concept in terms of managing data to save time for employees. The time saved can then be allocated to improve their business’ bottom-line. An individual’s “bottom line” is just as significant. To improve we turn to author David D. Burns, M.D. who wrote a book on cognitive behavioral therapy.

In Burns’ The Feeling Good Handbook (1999), he outlines how to conquer anxiety by recognizing thought patterns which lead to (negative) emotions. The cognitive behavioral therapy approach targets the root of our hesitation driven by emotions. I am also enrolled in a cognitive-behavioral class through Kaiser Permanente. To utilize knowledge gained from the two classes and from the two books mentioned, I must first get at the root of my hesitation to plan and time manage.

The planning class teachers indicate people are more apt to plan a vacation than they are their lives. A vacation is a fun, immediate reward with inherent “know-hows,” as to where online to book a hotel or air travel. “Life planning” has more unknowns.

It’s all about knowing thyself, accepting it and working from there. Newsweek details a person as a night owl, when they work best, and those who are “morning-people.” Instead of trying to change who you are, work with it. If you work best at night, time block then. I accept myself as one who likes to work in small chunks and be rewarded immediately after.

In conclusion, my time-management strategy is to commit to following what I learn in classes and books. It is to rely on methods outside myself. My brain has built its own habits and excuses over time. With the tools of a physical planner combined with recognizing and changing my thoughts, I am on the path towards improved efficiency with time.

Life as we know it.