Time Management #5: Now or Later... Can that Wait?

Since I talked about “eating frogs” in a recent post, I want to recommend a book by the master on the topic, Brian Tracy. In his book Eat That Frog!, he talks all about how starting your day by taking care of your most important tasks—a.k.a. eating the biggest, ugliest frogs first—is totally liberating. 

Consciously putting things off that are not important can give you all kinds of time and space to focus on what’s truly important. Otherwise, it’s tempting to chase after all the little things, while ignoring the bigger/harder tasks. 

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However, if we stick to the important stuff, dozens of little things will get “pushed down” your list, and that’s ok. Tracy calls this “creative procrastination.” 

Start by making 2 lists—one called FOR NOW and another called FOR LATER. This way you’ll have a guide for what needs to be handled ASAP, but you’ll also have a place to capture things you’d like to get to one day. Brainstorm all the things you don’t want to forget (and would like to get to at some point), but that are just not a high priority for you at this point. 

  • Want to repaint the garage a new color, but it looks fine now? FOR LATER.

  • Dream of having a hot tub right now but decided to allocate those funds elsewhere? FOR LATER.

  • Want to catalog the books in your personal library for fun? FOR LATER.

So now that we have our 2 lists, let’s see where we can carve-out more time for ourselves. Many of us waste hours and hours doing things that don’t have much of a payoff.  

We binge watch Netflix for 2 hours.

We get lost in a novel for 3 hours, when we only meant to read a chapter or two.

We lose an entire hour on the phone getting interrogated by Mom. 

Let’s try to organize some of this “mis-spent” time by cataloging it (ah—we can catalog after all ;-). Make a list of free-time (non-work) activities and the time spend on them each day. 

Exercise, phone time, internet, TV, family time, reading—whatever you can think of—and list how much time you spend on each. 

Seeing it all written down will give you perspective on where you can reclaim your time, like Rep. Maxine Waters said. Where are you spending most of your time? What could you really stand to cut-out? What could you release? 

Now drop that thing! It doesn’t have to be forever, but for right now, let’s “creatively procrastinate” on that one thing. 

Maybe you’re binge watching Netflix 2 hours a day on weekdays. That adds up to 10 hours a week. Imagine what you could accomplish in those 10 hours! Even if it’s the extra sleep you’ve been needing in order to perform at your highest level and maintain optimal health. All the little things that suck our time matter and have consequences.

And if you need your fix, you can always hit up Netflix on the weekends. I know I do! My recent fav is “Suites.” Check out the characters Donna— for her intuitive sensibilities and Louis Litt—“You just got Litt up!” for some laughs.

When you know what you spend your time on and you’re in control of your time, you can Netflix it, or whatever your thing is— guilt-free. Time to let go of the sneaky guilt that is associated with how you spend your time and still ensure that what really matter to you is what you actually spend your time on.

Enjoy your time this weekend lovelies!