The bad news is, time flies. The good news is, you’re the pilot. – Michael Altshuler
I am a mother of two children under the age of two. As such, I often feel like a pilot of an airplane. Not only do I need to care for my precious cargo, a husband and two little ones, but I am trying desperately to maintain a job, raise my children the best I can, and last, but not least, get to my final destination on time. With all of my responsibilities as pilot, time is a very precious commodity. I felt like I was doing a fair job of managing my time. But just the other day I received a wake-up call when my oldest daughter repeated three little words that escape my lips too often. No, unfortunately, they words were not “I love you,” but “just a minute.” Hearing her say that phrase told me there was definitely a problem that needed my immediate attention.
Time management is commonly defined as the management of time in order to make the most out of it. As the pilot of my life, I thought I had an effective flight plan established to manage my time. But I realized it was time to make adjustments and chart a new flight plan.
Three areas in which I found I could reconfigure my flight plan and reach my destination safely and happily were: giving in, prioritizing, and commitment.
- Giving In
Giving in to the reality of the situation was not something easily done. It seems simple enough; I just needed to admit I can’t do it all. What is it “they” say? Knowing is half the battle? Well, “they” have never been in my shoes. Just like a real pilot that balances the horizon, vertical and thrust, I, like many others, am delicately balancing work, family and other obligations. To me, giving in meant that I wasn’t balancing everything and I needed help. Every good pilot needs a co-pilot, navigator, or flight attendant. Fortunately, admitting this wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I found as I took a breath and admitted I was not superwoman, I was able to see my desired destination more clearly and understand how I could get there safely and happily.
I once saw an image of a clock, which instead of numbers on the face, it was just the word “now”. David Allen observed: “You can’t manage time, it just is.” So, I needed to identify what was most important in my life and when it needed to be accomplished. From prioritizing my daily activities and deadlines, I felt a great sense of satisfaction. I could get my responsibilities crossed off my list, and as a pilot, even shave a few minutes off my estimated time of arrival. Daily prioritization is easy to do and provides many helpful benefits for those around you.
What good is a well thought out flight plan if it isn’t followed? Without a commitment to a flight plan, we will be aimlessly wandering in the sky, taking our cargo with us. While we may have to make adjustments to our flight plan, we must always re-commit to the new plan, each and every day. Doing so will help us stay on course, whether we come in ahead or behind schedule. Jack Bergman said, “There’s never enough time to do it right, but there’s always enough time to do it over”.
I know I will not be able to eliminate those three little words, “just a minute,” from my vocabulary; my goal is to continue focusing on those three areas so I can say them a little less often.