SUCCESSFUL TIME MANAGEMENT: BETTER NEVER LATE

Remember the rabbit from Alice In Wonderland? Bellowing, "I'm late!" as he frantically scurried about-- made you hold your breath in anxious anticipation as you watched it Perhaps this scene strikes a familiar chord... ...Monday morning, eight-fifty, the westbound "arterial" (perhaps better named, "arterial-sclerosis"), jammed with work-bound "rabbits."

How many of you who are part of that scene ever wondered how it could be avoided? "Tomorrow, I am going to leave a half-hour earlier and beat the traffic." But, alas, it never happens, does it? That would require a degree of organization that isn't (yet) part of your behavioral repertoire. Did you ever know someone who was capable of getting more things done with less effort? And do them in relatively little time with fewer mistakes. Frustrating? Furthermore, this individual doesn't look back. That is, when the task is finished, rather than second-guessing himself or running negative self-dialogue such as, "I could have done better if I had more time", or, "Gee, I hope I didn't forget something", he simply moves on to the next project.
Getting ready for a trip: A true study of organization-- or the lack thereof. Can you remember being en route and not asking yourself, "Did I remember to unplug the coffee pot? Did I forget to pack something?" Most individuals have encountered a variety of difficulties stemming from their failure to use time wisely. We are con- stantly bombarded with surplus information on a daily basis-- our circuits become overloaded, over stimulated. People at work, home, and in-between are screaming for our immediate attention. The one word that frequently describes life is, urgent. If we were pinball machines we'd constantly light-up, "tilt!."
So often, we react rather than act. Our projects hang in limbo, half completed. The word, "later" becomes an abused part of our vocabulary, as in, "I'll get to it later. But verbal behavior is just a lot of talk! Mistakes emerge, self- inflicted, the product of too many "laters" and improper planning. Time keeps marching on and you are out of step. So how does someone who can barely get out of his (her) own way learn some fancy footwork? Time Management! As if this precious answer is so esoteric that, once discovered within a cavern in the Himalayas, it could only be interpreted by one person: The Time Management Guru.
"The secret of time management is the master list...grasshopper."
The master list contains all your unfinished work and planned activities for a given period of time. Constructing one allows you to avoid the pitfalls that erode your precious time. You make lists all the time-- grocery lists, invited party guests, people you need to call, in your disfavor. These mini-lists often exist as little yellow slips of paper all over your desk or home. Some get done, some get lost and others get forgotten. If you consolidate all that input onto one page, organized by categories of required tasks--i.e., "shopping", "calls", "chores"-- you create a Master List of all your current and pending projects. This, in turn, may become the engine that powers your day.
When you create a Master List to manage your activities, you spend time; when you rely on your memory to do the same, you waste time. Prudent time management affords you a degree of flexibility in planning-- choices-- unavailable to those for who so much seems to slip through the cracks of life.
"But once I make this Master List, how do I know I will have the time to complete it?"
Use your calendar to schedule appointments with yourself to complete work. That's right! If you need to meet someone you schedule an appointment, don't you? Make yourself as important. Why not block out an hour for a face-to-face meeting with yourself? Hold all calls, close the door: absolutely no interruptions, except emergencies. The Master List allows you to know what tasks are required within a given time frame. Without it, you are the rabbit frantically trying to remember what needs to be done with no time to say, "hello-goodbye!"