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Let's Get Real About Time Management

You all have enough time, you liars.

I was reading a book in bed the other morning about time - our perception of time, how we use time, and how both of these have changed throughout the years.

Already in the first two chapters they made several references to women and men in the Italian culture. Most research claims they are one culture that has not changed their male-female roles in ages. That is, how males and females utilize their time for leisurely activity has not changed much through time to the modern-day Italian lifestyle. Italian women typically perform house work duties in their leisurely time, like cooking and cleaning, and Italian men use their leisurely time for smoking cigars with friends, playing bocce, etc.

I put my book down, bee lined it to the kitchen and started making pasta. Yes, it was still morning and, yes, I do recognize the irony in all of this. In my defense, the pasta was for my significant other's grandparents and I was preparing it first thing in the morning as a friendly snow storm offering. Tyler departed with the pasta to shovel/plow at his grandparents and I replaced my sauce spoon with a shovel. On to the next task.

While I've admittedly only made it to the third chapter in this book, Overwhelmed How to Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte, it already has me doing a lot of thinking about my perception of free/leisure time. Historically, I was more likely to look back at a morning like that and think "Oh, man I didn't get anything done that I needed to get done because I was making pasta and shoveling. Woe is me."

In reality, that is how I chose to use my leisurely time. Perhaps those choices, and the many other choices that I make similar to them, are indirectly driven by my ancestors' tendencies and cultures. And, yes, we can do all the ancestral research that we want but there's a much MUCH easier way to make sense of your leisurely time (or lack there of).

Take a look at your schedule. If you constantly find yourself with no time for leisure, or generally "no time at all," you need to take a harder look. Still stuck? Start a diary. Maybe just for a week. Write down everything. Yes, it takes discipline but it's one week in the grand scheme of things so just buckle down and do it. I mean everything — every tweet, every coffee break, every fart. Okay, maybe not the last one.

There should be at least two surprising factors:
  1. You jump from task to task quite frequently.
  2. You already have a lot of leisurely time.

As a society, we've come to praise the ability to multi-task. Don't get me wrong, it has a time and place but we should learn how to turn it off. Again, it's about discipline. We are not as efficient in accomplishing tasks that we NEED to accomplish because we weave it in with too many other tasks. Stay prioritized, stay disciplined, complete your tasks in half the time.

The second point is a little bit harder to get behind because it involves a mental shift, a new perception. In Overwhelmed, Brigid Schulte visits sociologist John Robinson with her time journal. He takes his highlighter and immediately starts marking leisurely time in places that Brigid Schulte's never recognized it before.

"...most Americans feel they're working harder than ever, they aren't. The time diaries he studies show that average hours on the job...have actually been holding steady or going down in the last forty years...Free time is there. It's just want you want to do with it."
So, let's get real. As embarrassing as it may be, here's my real:

I really love organizing and I really love when things are clean and clutter free. Whether my great, great, great, great grandmother has anything to do with that is irrelevant. I use a good portion of my leisurely time to organize, de-clutter, and re-decorate my living space because that's what I really enjoy doing. Of course I make time for other leisurely activities, like cooking pasta and shoveling snow, and for a long time those leisurely activities fell under the "time-sucker" category. Not anymore.

You need to change your perception.

The time is there and it's non-renewable so the sooner you figure out how to be disciplined with it and admit why/how you're spending it, the better. There is much more detail to delve into here, statistics to site, struggles to address, and researchers to quote.

If you're interested in that conversation, for better or for worse, let's grab some coffee. My treat!


Angela Corrado

Serious Business Lady, Against The Grain LLC

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