time management

What Time Is It?

These were words never spoken during a recent vacation shared with my husband - a vacation away from clocks, schedules, things that had to be done and at a certain time.  It was freeing, liberating.  Time took on new meaning and was meaningless.  We responded only to our desires of the moment.  When we were sleepy, we slept; when we were hungry we ate, when we were well-rested, we awoke; when we wanted more ice cream, we got more ice cream. What more could we ask for in a vacation?

Sure, our activities followed a more or less conventionally-timed day.  Coffee was consumed in the morning, but coupled with a fantastic view of the river, boaters, kayakers, and fisherman, as well as a good book (about organizing, of course!) it lasted as long as we wanted it to last.  There was nothing we needed to do and nowhere we needed to go that caused us to keep watch over our watches.  Sitting at the ocean's edge or lounging by the pool were about the most important things going on and were interrupted by nothing jolting us out of our seats because it was time...

So, it got me to thinking.  Are we managing time or is time managing us? Time management receives it's fair share of publicity; apps and tools and tricks to help us keep track of time abound.  The clock continues to tick, time continues to roll by, minutes turn into hours, hours turn into days - you know all to well how it goes.  How do we spend the currency of time?  How does time spend us? 

Most of us may say that we lead pretty busy lives and don't have enough time in the day to get it all done.  Meetings, appointments, family and social obligations are delivered to us in pre-determined blocks of time which we are compelled to meet.  It's not always a bad thing.  But in this fast-paced, pressed-for-time world, not having to consider how much time was needed to do this or that, nor caring, was a luxury worth it's weight in gold.

Alas, vacation is over and back to work we go.  What time is it?

One Simple Change

I moved my coffee maker from one counter to another.   That one simple change, I realized, has just yielded me about six additional (free!) hours a year.  That's quite a return on this seemingly unimportant, barely noticeable investment in kitchen counter real estate. 

How, you ask? 

Well, in its former position, gathering the all-important eye-opening supplies and collecting the milk and sugar to accompany my morning Joe took only about a minute of my time. With the coffee maker relocation, the time spent dedicated to my morning routine has been slashed in half. Collectively these minutes add up to a whole lot of time savings. (As a bonus, if I counted the number of steps I took before tasting that first sip of coffee or dashing out the door with my travel mug, I could easily add 30 to 40 steps to the daily pedometer reading. That's over 10,000 steps in a year-or the number equal to the daily recommended number of steps!) 

What could you do with six hours a year?  Broken down to 30 minutes a month, what are the possibilities: get a manicure, organize a junk drawer, catch up with friend?  How many times have you thought, if only I had 30 minutes to myself...

I know what you're thinking - this sounds a little far fetched.   Maybe, but the point is, one simple change has the potential to make a significant difference in anything you do in your life.  Whether it has to do with where you store items, how you approach a task or how much time you spend on any particular thing, it's worth taking a step back and looking at how different things would be by making one simple change.

Coffee, anyone?