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Thoughts on Mastering Time

Time use to be something that I never thought I needed to master…

Mastering Time
Time by ToniVC

When Time Could Be Wasted

As a kid, time would just be rolling along, as I would read my comic books, or watch the 2nd or 3rd rerun of some no-value TV show, perhaps Seinfeld?  I use to let Time just tick away as I hoped the my money in investments would benefit from the near-magic effect of compound interest.

I would often naively try to kill time by playing video games both at my house and playing with, and against my friends.  The weekend would come, and I remember sleeping in until almost lunch sometimes, sleeping my way through three or four extra hours, just wasting time (jumped out to check the stock market results from yesterday, DOW is up 272, WOW!).

Yep, back then, time was a thing that took too long, and something that I wanted to slip by so I could drive, drink alcohol, vote, or forget about bad relationships of the past.

Now Time Needs To Be Controlled

This summer, while I accomplished many things that I wanted to fix or do, most of my “to-do” list didn’t get done.  Oh, I get the high priority tasks done (like fix the car so it runs), but some of the small cosmetic tasks had to get benched in my life.  I’ll probably be the crazy guy out in November mulching around my house.  (I just jumped out of this blog post to check my fantasy football score from this past weekend, I won, yay).

So why has time become a wild stallion in my life that I’m now trying to tame? 

As time passes, things and responsibility quietly accumulate (I heard a sounds in my son’s room, I investigate, but it was nothing) and start to steal some of your precious time.  Raising kids the best that you can take time, maintaining your house, reading the “Accept this terms” and other legal document reading requirements, maintaining friendships, and keeping hobbies , all require time (our dog heard me and is whimpering, so off I go downstairs to let her out).  Kids require a lot of time, but they are worth it.  I took my daughter to piano lessons yesterday, making sure that I took a book while I waited in the waiting area.

How To Mastering Time

For reasons above, I’ve decided to try to get a grip around time and to master it.  Below are some of the things I do to maximize both my life and time.

  • During commute work time, I either 1.) Listen to audio books, 2.) Think about blog topics or 3.) Try to develop a task list for things to be accomplished during the day.
  • As I mentioned above, (just let the dog back in), I like to take things to do during waiting time such as doctor office visits or taking the kids to practice and other such time sucking requirements in life.
  • When mowing or doing other low thought chores, I like to think.  It’s a good way to come up with new ideas for hobbies (in my case it’s blogging).
  • Pass-by tasking.  As we get ready to go somewhere and I need to wait on one of my kids to get their shoes, cloths, etc on, I’ll take out the trash or do some other quick non-important task.
  • Lunch is no longer just about eating as I focus on things going on like blogging, or my fantasy football lineup, or reading programming and finances.  A close-by library has made this possible.  (My alarm clock just went off, I wonder why I even set it anymore…  I never sleep…)

These are the new ways that I’ve learned to both master and juggle time.

Readers, do you have any tricks for making the most of time, in situations where time would seem to be wasted?



17 Responses to Thoughts on Mastering Time

  1. I actually am a bigger time waster than I used to be. I think I use my ‘down time’ for relaxing more than I used to. For instance, I got home the other day and the weather was gorgeous. Instead of rushing to make dinner, I had some ice water and just sat on the patio and relaxed. I find I am seizing moment like that more and more. I also embrace long car rides just so I can think!

    • Like moments on my deck (especially since it’s starting to get cold), but the car rides I can do without (I get car sick).

      Eventually, I hope to find a nice balance.

  2. I have to make use of every second of my time since I have a lot of commitments. Similar to you, I use the short commute to brainstorm blog topics or read. I usually get to work early, just to be able to get settled and finish last minute items. Also, I like to make big meals and eat left overs during the week to save time from having to make multiple meals each week. My wife and I love it. It makes the work week much easier and relaxing.

  3. I have always struggled with time management. I always seem to be too busy. Maybe I take on too much? I don’t know.

    I have heard not to multi task and I have heard to multi task. I am not sure which is the right answer.

    I find I multi task a lot because I need to to get things done. I find if I waste any time it is on managing and going through the ‘ to do” list as ironic as that is.

    My hubby and I have gotten into using Remember the Milk which seems to at least make us remember everything. Whether we can get it all done though is another story. I think more than time being an issue is our priority setting. I tend to not be the most patient person and I think I put unrealistic time frames on things. I am working on this though.

  4. With kids you do get those waiting times at activities and doctor appointments. I used to bring a small notepad to jot down ideas & make lists. I always prioritize my lists & feel good if I’m able to finish the first 2 or 3 items on the list. If I get conflicted about which to do first I just pick whatever appeals to me. Often I just ask myself, “What is the most important thing I can do today?” That seems to help clarify it for me. I always cook enough for leftovers & usually freeze them. After a while we have quite a stash of frozen dishes to choose from. They come in handy! You can even freeze them in individual portions so each person can have a choice. If you are able to take public transportation to work you can often get a lot done during the trip. Of course it often takes more time (though it saves money) to take the train, etc. So you have to weigh it all. Good luck in your quest!

    • Ah, I like your jotting down ideas while waiting for the doctor (or whatever) even better than bring a book to read!

      Doing things while taking public transportation is a win too! Great ideas! I live in the sticks, so I have to drive but for city folk that makes great sense!

      Awesome adds!!!

  5. I drive my wife to work, which is a 90 mile round trip adventure. She works nights, 3 nights a week so its not too bad.

    During the hour long drive back home after I’ve dropped her off I think about what I can do to improve my own personal businesses. What writing topics or titles I could use.

    I believe driving is the best time to really ‘think’, especially since there aren’t many cars on the road when I’m driving home.

    At home if I don’t have a solid plan of attack, I get lazy and may just sit in front of the TV, instead of working on my own blogs or other businesses. Goal setting is a major key to mastering my time.

    • I use to fly by the seat of my pants without any goals or timelines, but now I’ve come to the conclusion that having a structure plan is definitely the way to go.

      Great add!

  6. I’m actually trying to do less of that multi tasking. I can’t think when I’m doing something else because most of the time by the time the weekend rolls around, my brain is spent. I just want to read a book or do something outdoors.

    When my job is not as mentally challenging though, my brain does need a creative outlet though. It just depends on what’s going on with work and my hobbies.

    • I hear you on that point! I was actually pretty spend when I wrote this article. I cranked it out an hour before I had to go to work, because the previous night I was slammed and when I got home I had a massive headache…

      I mainly like to multi-task simple things like thinking of blogging ideas while mowing the lawn, etc…

  7. Getting rid of cable has helped me the most in terms of time management. I end up working on my blog, reading or finishing stuff on one of my many lists. One thing I am starting to realize, though, is that packing in every minute of your day with some sort of chore/to-do is not the most beneficial for me. Sometimes taking a deep breath and doing nothing except enjoying the moment can be just as necessary.

    • I so wish I could get rid of cable! My wife and kids watch it, so they wouldn’t go for it, but it’s would be a nice subtraction life!

      I have my downtime too, but I try to multi-task when I can to have more downtime later. It make for a more relaxing life by chilling out at least an hour or two a day.

  8. I am a list person and try to fit in time to get things off my list. I use time before work, breaks, lunch and after wor as well as early to mid evening to get things done.

  9. I am obsessed with time management. I have list upon list, but there’s always more to do at the end of the day. I strive for balance and to be satisfied with doing less, instead of being disappointed that I didn’t do more.

    • Great approach! It’s good to hear you say that because when I had used list in the past, it seemed like I could never get all of them done in a day. I feel better knowing that I’m not alone! 🙂