Monday, July 20, 2009

Our Greatest Time Management Challenge

I teach a terrific Time Management class. It is full of great tips and proven principles. But lately, I’ve been contemplating the deeper issues of time. Everyone seems to feel deluged with duties. My clients speak of time pressures and seek desperately for a magic bullet to solve their workload dilemmas. How did this happen? Even 15 years ago, the cultural pace seemed slower, didn’t it? Are technological advances speeding up our lives? Or is it the increasing number of brilliant minds who churn out more to learn, know, and experience? I cannot keep up with the books, articles, and emails that interest me.

Meanwhile, I’ve recently been talking with several friends who are depressed. Like everyone else--their “to do" list is enormous and growing. They have too many errands, too many details to juggle, and too much to learn in a day. I can relate. Without enough “down time,” I feel overwhelmed and spent. I want to hide from the world and recharge. I’m lucky that my schedule often allows me to do this. But my friends don’t feel able to get off their treadmills. Is this why they’re depressed? Some psychologists believe that depression is our psyche’s way of getting us to go inward, to the deepest parts of ourselves that need attention.

As our “needs” and “oughts” grow we will all be forced to make hard choices regarding our time. If our employers are asking too much of us, will we be able to suggest changes? Time is a finite resource. We can learn to be efficient and use it well but we are human beings—not machines. We cannot force our bodies, minds, and spirits to exceed our own capacity for work. In this era of technological wonders, accepting our human limitations will be the greatest time management challenge we face.

© 2009 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved

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