Words of Wisdom – March 22

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“Manage your time wisely”

By Kenneth James Kerr

We live in a world that is obsessed with time, and all-too-often our life is seemingly run by the clock!

We set alarms to get up at specific times… We need to be at work or school by a specific hour… We typically eat when the clock tells us, not when we’re actually hungry… We even schedule our recreation and bedtimes according to a well-established routine. And within those sometimes inflexible guidelines, we try to squeeze all the events of our life, whether planned for or not.

But here’s reality. No matter how busy you get, no matter how many things you try to push into your timetable, you never have more than twenty four hours in a day. You never have any other moment than the present one.

And that’s where we can find ourselves fretting and worrying over so many things. The busy office administrator is already “maxxed out” in their timetable, but the boss still calls and adds one more “must be done by tonight” item. Every moment of the mom’s day is regimented and spoken for, and then something goes wrong with the washing machine. The businessman gets delayed in arriving at the airport, misses his flight and has to scramble to make alternate arrangements. Such is the nature of life.

Even when we have plenty of time to work something out, we sometimes add extra stress to our life by procrastinating and leaving things to the last minute or we look ahead to a deadline and see a massive task ahead of us, and imagine ourselves failing in the accomplishment. Then stress, worry and anxiety comes upon us, leading to panic, sometimes illness, and always a profound lack of inner peace. What can you and I do about it?

The first thing to do is relax, take a deep breath and realize that your life is probably not going to end if you don’t make the deadline, or have to change your arrangements. Don’t take life too seriously, or yourself for that matter.

Secondly, instead of worrying about whether or not you will accomplish the task, get out of that imaginary future and bring yourself back into the present moment. Chances are that right now, everything is fine, the task does not need to be done now, the appointment can be changed, and you do not need to bring on anxiety by imagining the worst possible outcome in a future that is not set in stone.

Thirdly, you need to sit down and employ some basic time-management principles. Here are five practical steps that will work wonders in relieving unexpected stress and restoring or maintaining peace in your inner and outer world.

1. Buy and use an Organizer

It is amazing how many tools there are these days for helping us to get organized with our time. Go into any office supplies store and just take a look. There are diaries, organizers and agendas of every description. They are available as books, posters, post-it notes, computer software and Smartphone applications. You can write a reminder on the calendar, have your iPhone ring an alarm, or even have service companies telephone you to advise you of a specific event at a specific time. It sure beats the piece of string tied around your little finger! So go ahead, pick the system or product that best fits your budget, level of technical savvy and lifestyle, and start using it.

2. Break big things down into small pieces

One time a friend admitted to me that she’d had three sleepless nights worrying about the planning of her daughter’s upcoming wedding. She was looking ahead at what seemed to be a massive responsibility with countless important tasks, and she was going into emotional overload with it all. Have you ever experienced anything like that? We all have at one time or another.

The secret in handling this scenario is to break down the big impossible task, with all its associated worry, and to divide it into lots of small tasks or responsibilities that you feel are individually well within your ability to face. Then, assign each of these small responsibilities into day-tight compartments in your organizer, and take it a step (or a day) at a time. Do not worry about the task of tomorrow when you are focusing on the responsibility of today.

3. Deal with one thing at a time

Even when you are in the middle of dealing with today’s responsibility, you might find that an unexpected call forces something new upon you. In this day and age of multitasking computers, we seem to expect that we too should be able to multitask with the best of them. Well, that’s a great theory, but I am sorry to say that the more you try to do it, the more you are likely to crash your own internal hard-drive!

If at all possible, deal with one thing at a time. Remind yourself… “This is the task at hand, it has my total focus, and everything else must wait its turn.”

Now when we approach life this way we certainly feel less stress, which of course means more peace, and we also become more efficient at what we are doing in the now, thus effectively doing a better job of it. You are not a computer, don’t try to be one if at all possible, and if multitasking is required, delegate!

4. Know when to stop

Unlike a computer you are not designed to run flat out 24/7. Sure, you may think you are young and able to handle it, but at some point in time, at some now-moment, you have to call it a halt. You have to know when to stop driving as fatigue threatens to overcome you. You have to know when to stop writing when the mind fails to give you new ideas. You have to know when to shut the office door and walk away, and you have to know when to sleep.

There are many people who try to burn the candle at both ends, running their bodies and minds into the ground. Is it worth it? If the relentless pursuit for the dollar or for perfection is stressing you out to the degree that you can hardly think any more, then it is truly way beyond time to take a break. Know when to stop, not only will it provide you with more peace, it could also save your life.

5. Plan tomorrow today

One of the best strategies for maximizing your time, increasing your efficiency or production, and moving ahead in a more peaceful manner, is to plan the major events of tomorrow at the close of the day today. When you awaken to a day that has clearly-marked, sensible, bite-sized responsibilities pre-planned within it, you are light years ahead of those who fail to employ this simple technique.

Such a practice eliminates uncertainty; it removes the time-wasting question “What will I do now?” and it allows you to get more done in the limited number of hours that we all have to work with. So what happens if you don’t get through your whole list today? Just add the unfinished items to your new list for tomorrow, just before you go to bed tonight

We can only live our life one moment at a time. Allow these ideas to help you make each moment more productive, pleasurable and peaceful.

Love & Light
Kenneth

 

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