I Found the True Meaning of Time Management

Intro from Val: When Kelli wrote to me about the insight below, I knew more people needed to hear it so I asked her to write a guest post. Time management is so misunderstood and I think she captures the way out of that confusion. Now let’s hear from Kelli…

Photo by Kelli Hurlburt

Photo by Kelli Hurlburt

By Kelli Hurlburt ~

I’ve been working with Val on making my long-standing dream of self-employment come alive. Recently, we agreed that it was time for me to do some math to help answer some basic financial questions. 

In my analytical, left-brained-thinking way (I’m a software engineer by training, and a creative person at heart) – I took the assignment in great earnest and dove in (to the deep end) on a Sunday afternoon. 

Nine hours, many calculations, and much misery later – I had completed my homework.

The thing is … I didn’t really need to spend nine hours to get the information. And, I certainly didn’t need to wreck a whole Sunday because of it.  I dug deep, and hard, and thoroughly.  It was a numbers excavation, really!  I calculated and re-calculated.  I sliced and diced numbers every which way… Somehow, I thought my entire future would reveal itself by coming up with all the right combinations of numbers… (It didn’t.)

And the next day (after meeting with Val) – I had a funny realization about myself – and it has nothing to do with numbers, money, nor my future! 

Time Management Is Not Just Getting It Done

I’ve always claimed to be great at time management.  YET, what I see now is that what I should’ve been thinking is that I was great at getting things done at all costs.  Meaning, I confused the fact that I could get a lot done on any given day with the idea of time management.

In the past, I have always just worked really hard to “do it all.”  And, because I’ve felt good about my ability to juggle everything, I would say that I’m good at time management.  (I might even brag about it!)  There’s a little truth to that. But…

Time Management Is About Balance

What I know now is that true and healthy time management also means setting boundaries on the time I spend on tasks, so that I can have more balance in my life. I could have had a more relaxing Sunday.

I’ve always been good at prioritizing my “to-do” list; but I need to improve on giving myself more time to do the things that make me feel good. 

Next time, I will think twice before jumping in the deep end.  And I will remind myself that I always have all the time I need … for work, and love, and play!

[Comments welcome below about your time management perspective, challenges, and celebrations.]

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  • Carol

    Hi Kelli,
    Great post! I too have always considered myself a task master and am realizing true, healthy time management. We just have to keep being mindful of setting those limits. Very well stated. Thanks!

  • Kelli Hurlburt

    Thanks Carol! Mindfulness is the key! Paying attention and setting limits for ourselves can really help us ‘task masters’.