|Photo: Dodgerton Skillhause via Morguefile|
This is not a good thing. Time management means just that -- managing time. As human beings, we need down time as much as we need productive time and, if we forget that, we're in danger of jeopardizing both our health and our productivity. Healthy time management means managing work time so that down time is not only possible, it occurs on a regular basis.
Here are three often-neglected keys to factor into healthy time management.
Connecton. Yesterday, I spent the day shopping with my daughter, having dinner with my family and then watching a movie with my daughter. Yes, I got a blog post written before we left, but most of the day was spent unscheduled and in the company of people I enjoy. Not a bad way to spend the day. On Sunday, when my daughter leaves for a two-month internship, I guarantee you that when I look back, I'll be happier that I spent the day shopping with her than checking things off my to-do list. Don't just take my word for it. Study after study shows that the key to longevity, resilience and happiness is connection with other people. When we keep our noses to the grindstone for too long, limiting our real-world contact (work email doesn't count) with other people, we might be productive in one area, but we're shortchanging ourselves in another.
Relaxation. We aren't built to run 24-7, a fact I preach better than I practice. Recently, as part of a course I was planning, I downloaded a meditation app. I was incredibly skeptical, but I find that on the days I actually use it, I am calmer and more patient. I'm not completely transformed, mind you, but there is a noticeable difference -- to me, at least. Taking time for ourselves, whether it's meditation, an exercise class, a nap or a bubble bath, makes us more productive, not less. In addition there's evidence that giving our minds time to roam free, as it were, contributes to creativity as well.
Balance. Today's schedule includes a voice lesson, writing time and drinks with friends, meaning I somehow managed to put two slacker days back-to-back (yes, that was sarcasm). Spending two days in a row doing things I love is an investment in my productivity. If I were keeping score, I'm sure I'd still come up with a relaxation deficit if I matched this week against the second week of the month where I did little besides give exams and grade papers. Making sure the thrill of checking things off the list is matched by the thrill that accompanies the freedom to do what we want to do is truly managing our time.
How will you manage your time today?