Thursday, November 13, 2008


One of my coworkers downloaded her recently acquired Covey-style time management skills to a group of us in a meeting yesterday. She started with the basics:

1. There are 24 hours in a day.

Yep, got it.

2. It is up to you what you do with them.

...Okay...I guess...

3. What are your priorities?


4. Are you making time for them?


Based on the fact that Stephen Covey is a gazillionaire, I'm guessing that I'm not the only one who struggles with this. For me, it's not an efficiency issue - it's the priorities and balance issue, particularly in my personal life. It's not even that I don't know what my priorities are, it's that I sacrifice them too readily for other people, or worse, for my own, wallowing self. Periods of wallowing may last from hours to months at a time. This last stint I would estimate to have been severe for the last seven months.

The aforementioned coworker went on to say that the man who was leading her training takes himself out to coffee every Saturday morning and organizes himself for the coming week. He looks ahead at his professional and personal calendars, things about what needs to happen in the coming week, and then everything gets a priority number (1, 2 or 3) and a sub-priority number (A, B or C).

As a 23 year old, I would have found this ludicrous. Not the coffee part. Just the organizing part. When myself was my number one priority, all of this seemed easier. With a house and a husband and a demanding job with hopes of moving up some sort of ladder, it's harder - particularly with my caretaking tendencies.

So, I'm giving this new thing a shot.

Being the advocate for the separation of work/life that I am, I plan to break these into two planning sessions: one focused on professional tasks on Friday afternoons before I leave work for the week, and a second for personal items on Saturday mornings before my husband wakes up.

Professional seems easy enough. I'm already a high-performer at work - it's possible that this tool will even prove itself obsolete or counter-productive. (Please disregard the fact that I am currently blogging at work.)

Personal may, in fact, need to be broken down into those tasks that are really just work at home (i.e. cleaning, yardwork, home improvement, grocery shopping, meal planning, etc.) and things that are really just for me...I think they were called "priorities" above (i.e. writing, exercise, calling a friend or family member, planning to get out of my house, etc.).

In some ways, it seems ludicrous to use this system to manage my motivation to do things that actually make me feel fantastic. On the other hand, it certainly can't hurt.

Also, this is Minnesota and winters are long - if you're not careful, they'll getcha.

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