In my work, time management is like a good pair of shoes to a shoemaker.
The original version of saying is “The cobbler’s children go unshod.” It means that the cobbler spends so much time looking after his customers’ needs that he has no time for his children’s. (Thank-you google)
Over the holiday season, I determined to give my mind a rest, a break from the daily planning and executing of my coaching and facilitation work. For weeks, in truth it has been months, I have been piling folders and files on both sides of my desk, barely keeping a clear space for my keyboard and mouse. Even the mouse was on top of a book many days. This is NOT me! I prefer to work without clutter, to have only one project or file open at a time. Every time I came into my office, I groaned in quiet agony, then stepped up to my desk as if the chaos around me did not exist. I needed a good pair of shoes!
But more than shoes (and I do love shoes) I needed to give my mind a rest, by straightening my workspace. It took me eight hours of shredding papers that had accumulated for a couple of years, filing of articles and books I still intend to read and threw out a surprising number of messages, self-reminder notes and duplicate files. I organized my paper and office supplies cupboard, rearranged the program binders and streamlined my marketing files. Oh, how easy it is to put together a proposal now!
It was so worth the time spent. Even while I was shredding documents, three at a time (I have since learned I could have gone to my local UPS store in Halton Hills and had it all shredded in minutes) I was setting myself free of the clutter. I put 2018 in order, closed the book so to speak, which gave me space and clarity to plan and execute in 2019.
I love walking into my office now!
But what does a tidy office have to do with time management, you ask? For me, I was depleting my emotional energy every time I walked into a space that I had to struggle to ignore. At the time, I thought I was attending to the most important tasks, but slowly over months, I was depleting myself of joy and therefore, depleting my energy thereby utilizing my time less efficiently. For entrepreneurs, energy and time are the most valuable resources to manage.
I know many people who have work styles that thrive on being surrounded by the tools of their trade. They are creative and productive and know exactly where to find the file or note they need. But I also know there are many people like me.
What is it that gives you a legitimate claim to peace? What are the “shoes” that you need to manage?