Automation: the New Time Management Buzzword

Business team

Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of TED talks. My husband and I joke that it’s my new addiction. While there may be a little truth to it, I promise I can handle it! In all seriousness, though, I enjoy having opportunities to encounter and ponder the ideas of other people. I find it mind expanding, motivating, and energizing.
A couple of the recent talks I’ve heard touched on the subject of time management. Because I am rather bad at it, I was pretty interested. I heard ideas on how the procrastinator’s brain works differently from the “normal” brain. I encountered the “history of time management” for the first time. These talks were completely up my alley.
But, as I began to truly think about the idea of being a “time multiplier” and automate the mundane parts of my life. I began to question how much I really wanted to be a time multiplier.
First of all, I’m not really sure how much of my life I can actually automate. I’m a teacher, so all I’m coming up with is the idea of a lesson planning step sheet, and maybe a few more for clubs and such. How do I automate the everyday care of my pets? I suppose I could hire someone to come in and do it for me, but then I might as well not have pets at all. The purpose of pets is to have some sort of companionship and outlet for nurturing! Housecleaning and yard work are the same way. I do them because there’s no room in the budget to hire someone, and because the yard work especially is a time for me to unfocus my head, let my thoughts wander, and unwind. I spend a lot of time training as a runner, but I can’t see a way to automate that. Ditto with my religious activities. Perhaps I can automate my interactions with my husband? (Yes, there is a hint of sarcasm there.)
I guess I’ve already automated as far as I can automate — anywhere possible, I have put a process or set of procedures into place so that I don’t have to keep reinventing every time something has to be done. I just can’t see going any further.
So, I’m left with the question, how do I effectively manage my time?
My years as a teacher leave me with an inclination to simplify as far as possible. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

  • Life comes with time limits and constraints. The number one problem may just be resisting them instead of trying to accept them for what they are. As limitless as I would like to be, limited time is reality. My first step needs to be to simply accept that this is so.
  • I do the things I have to, and try to reserve time for the activities that align with my vision and goals. I’m even considering scheduling time for relaxing activities and cultivating new habits for relaxing.
  • Because I have been enculturated as an overachiever, I have to watch which definitions of success and productivity I follow. Doing more has been a hallmark of modern success for as long as I can remember. I’m thinking that it’s time I consider BEING more.
  • Learn to walk away. There is too much truth to the adage that a woman’s work is never done. As a workaholic (or at least leaning toward workaholism), I have todo lists with entries that say things like “find old todo lists.” That’s pretty sad, but it’s also eye-opening. If I decide to goof off for a while, the work will be here when I get back. It is very rare that the things I leave undone for a while will cause my whole life to crash. (If they will, I should be focusing on them first!)

So that’s about it. What’s your take on time management?


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