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Published:July 31st, 2007 07:57 EST
Time is Always What we Make of It

Time is Always What we Make of It

By Terry Sumerlin (Mentor/Columnist)

Have you ever felt like you had too much to do, and too little time to do it? That's sort of like being asked if you've ever drawn a breath. Right?

At times we all feel somewhat overwhelmed. It's the price we pay for achievement.

Yet, if there were techniques that could lessen the stress we feel at such times, we'd want to know about them. Right? Though I don't have all the answers on time management, here some things that work for me. Perhaps they will help you.

1. Keep some sort of "to do" list. This may be on a 3 x 5 card or a PDA. Whatever it is you have to do, add it to the list. Oftentimes, just seeing a task, worry or problem in writing is enough to make it seem less daunting. Maybe it's because such a list reduces the opportunity for the imagination to work overtime on vagaries of the mind.

Also, once you've written down what you need to do: prioritize. Part of prioritizing is in determining what is important and what is urgent. Keep in mind that there are important things that are often urgent, but not all seemingly urgent things are important with respect to overall goals. Also, there are always trivial things that, if left undone, are certainly not going to cause the world to come to an end. Yet, these are often the very things that seem important, and create the most stress.

2. Take a one-at-a-time approach. One of the most difficult things I had to learn about the barber business is that, whether the shop is full of customers or whether they come and go individually, I can only cut one head of hair at a time. On a much larger scale, that's the way life works. Usually, we can effectively solve only one problem at a time. However, trying to do otherwise, we stress.

3. Delegate. How many times have we heard or read about the need for delegation? Yet, how often do we apply the principles?

When it comes to this subject I fear I've often been like one who buys books and buys books and then winds up chewing on the covers. Take, for example, something as basic as cutting the lawn. I've always thought no one can do it like I can. And, besides that, it takes time to tell someone how I want our lawn cut. It's easier to just do it myself, and then I know it'll be done correctly. You get the point. If one really enjoys doing his own lawn (as I do) or anything else that's one thing. If, on the other hand, that same person uses excuses similar to ones I just gave simply because he/she is afraid of delegating - that's a poor use of time.

4. Focus on goals more than tasks. That's not to say we can reach our goals while forgetting necessary tasks. However, it's easy to let tasks become goals, rather than means to goals. Put another way, life's objective is not to have an empty "in-basket." Actually, when we die, there will still be "stuff" in our "in-basket." But, that's okay. What's not okay is an empty basket AND an empty, aimless life.

BARBER-OSOPHY: When you make the most of your time, you make the most of your life.

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