Saturday, 21 December 2013

Time management

There has been quite a discussion in the house this morning about the importance of time management. With the excitement of a full time job offer for next year, there is also the change in lifestyle to consider. This is causing some concern and the issues that have been raised will, I'm sure, relate to many of you as well as to me. I am giving them serious thought and hope to keep life as balanced as possible in 2014 so that I arrive at the Christmas break-up next year knowing that I've done a good job at work but also at home and for my family and myself. The problem in any professional job is that it's, leave the job at work when you depart at the end of the day. When you work with people, their lives become entwined in your own as you think about what you can do to help them in their learning or their understanding. It is work filled with challenge and wonderful rewards and satisfaction, but it does come at a cost. 

I'm lucky that I have someone who can talk to me about the dangers of overdoing it and help me to consider what I need to do to prepare myself to sometimes say no to people, or to say I need time to make a decision. Under pressure one can become habitual in saying yes to every request and then suddenly there is not enough time and energy to manage the load properly or well. It's okay to say no sometimes. I need to remember that. Respectfully and caring-ly no. I'm sorry but if I do that then my core work will suffer...or my health will suffer. Core work. That is what I have to do now before I begin; know what my core work is. What has to be done? What are my goals? What do I want my life to look like? How do I want to feel about my job and my life? What systems can I put into place to allow that to happen as smoothly and completely as possible. They are big questions and I'm glad to know I have several weeks to think about these things and to make some notes about what my expectations are for my professional life and my personal life. 

We need to know that it's not just okay to take care of ourselves, but it is essential to do so. Being over-tired or over-committed or over-worked or over-stressed leads to mistakes and illness and burn-out. It's a great thing to realise that in any professional job you are part of a team and there are others to whom you can delegate or turn for help. It can be a temptation to try and do everything yourself so that it is done just the way you like it done. That was one of the great lessons at university. Team work is a marvellous thing. Sometimes if you're not at your best for one reason or another you can allow someone else to take a little more of the weight until you are firing on all cylinders again. Sometimes it's okay for you to do a little more than you see as your fair share when someone else is going through a difficult time. The problems come if one person is consistently expecting someone else to pick up their slack. The way someone else does a job may not be just as you would do it, but it is still just fine! Different but workable and functional and okay! Fairness must prevail in a successful team or partnership otherwise resentment will develop and undermine the whole system. A good attitude to have is to always do a little more than your fair share; not a lot more, but a little more. It's a good policy espoused by my children's father and it was given to him by his father. It sounds wise to me.

I'm beginning to understand that it can be easy to be overwhelmed if you forget to designate and underline time for your personal life. If I don't cut out a space each day for some rest and recreation, even if it's just a 20 minute walk and 20 minutes with my head in a good book...or 20 minutes in a warm scented bath with eyes shut and focus on my breath, I will become tired and grumpy with people at home and maybe with people at work too. That would be no good! I want to be able to make time to call in and have a cuppa with mum and dad on my way home from work. I want to know that I can relax and chat for 20 minutes to my kids who live in another state...and give them my whole attention for that short time.

Sometimes to do this well, I will have to say no to myself too. No, you can't watch that movie that finishes at don't even watch the start at 9.30! No, you can't slack on your exercise today because you missed will soon be a habit (as it is now...and that is something I'm planning to fix in the holidays!!) No, you can't put off talking to someone about that thing that is bothering you because it will get you down and distract you from your rest or your work. I will have to be present in the moment and decide to deal with things...all a timely manner so that they are not a hanging weight in the back of my mind causing unnecessary stress and worry. And I will have to learn sometimes just to let things go and not feel cranky or upset...letting go of things like that can be very beneficial to health. Sometimes things are just not worth getting worked up about!

Well, I'm sure I've read somewhere that awareness is the first step. So I'm aware of some of the pitfalls in working a full time job in a caring profession. I'm aware that I must take care of business and I must take care of myself. Next step must be to create a plan. We all know that plans need to be tweaked and adjusted as we live them, but if we don't make them to start with, we have no framework, no guidelines, no idea when to say no and when to say yes. If we don't know what our core work is then we can't focus on it and make sure it gets done well. Planning is my next phase. If I ever say no to you, and sometimes I will no doubt have to say no to writing, in order to get some sleep or to go for a walk or to sit and have a natter with a loved one...please understand that it's not because I don't's because I do...

There are lots of people out there working full time. Most people do, and  many think nothing of working themselves into a frenzy and taking to drugs or alcohol or some other thing to help them cope. I won't even begin to go into the implications of making those choices. We are not taught to say no. As children we are told it's rude to say no. As teens we are seen as rebellious to say no to things. It's important to be able to say no. Yes, it is! Let's all keep one another accountable. How are you taking care of yourself and creating a balanced lifestyle but still making sure your core work gets done? 

I'd love to hear your ideas or hints to help me get things together in the best way I can, and maybe some other readers too. Cheers, Kerry

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