Each year, usually in December, I read a time management type book. The reading inspires me toward the new year, toward goals and plans and direction. This year, because we were away from home for two and a half weeks over the holidays, I am just finishing up this year's (last year's?) book, Time Management for the Creative Person, by Lee Silber.
I've mentioned this book before, and have read it at least four times, judging by the different colored ink markings through the book. Normally I'm not a big fan of writing in books, but certain books, ones I want to be able to thumb through and glean quick ideas, inspire me to underline and circle and star and jot down ideas in the side bars. This is one of those.
His chapter on Power Tools, "A Sign of the Times," written in 1998, is out-dated, usurped now by i-pods and i-pads and smart phones and tools I don't even know about. But that's fine with me. I'm out-dated too. The rest of his ideas are current and right on target, helping me to sort through the wasted time and clutter of life. His appreciation of index cards and post-it notes assures me I'm not completely crazy in my love for them.
My main goal is not really to find more time, but to use the time I do have in the smartest, wisest, most efficient way. And that involves planning. Knowing ahead what I will be working on when I sit down at the computer. Not sitting down, thinking, hmmm, what to do now...or checking e-mail...or browsing an on-line catalogue...or...Too often, I find too much time has gone by and I haven't really accomplished anything. Focus. Using my weekly planner to plan ahead. Setting the timer to define a limited amount of time. His ideas to "slip the tasks you don't like between the ones you do," helps me work the writing time in during the day. Write (the tasks I like), take a break and switch laundry loads or clean something (the tasks I'd rather postpone), and both jobs get done.
In his chapter on goals, he says, "Goal setting is a creative form of time travel, a way of reaching into the future, your future...creatively design a future and map out a way to get there." I like that idea. Creating a map, a path to follow in the days ahead, a destination. To enjoy my journey, on my way toward traveling lighter.