i.e. How to Find Time For Creative Presents? Part 2
In the last post about time management, I explained how to plan your duties to complete them on schedule. This time I am going to write more about how to be efficient and derive pleasure from it.
1. Turn duties into pleasures
Not all of the items on your list will be onerous jobs. In the past I used to write down meals in order to aid estimation and have more items to cross out. Other tasks seem like heavy duties just because you have to do them. If you can identify tasks that would not seem half as bad if you did them of your own accord and not because you had to, try a simple trick. Instead of doing them when you have to, do them earlier when you still don’t have to do them. Without a deadline breathing down your neck many duties may actually turn out to be pleasures.
2. Alternate pleasant and unpleasant tasks
My parents have always told me to place duty before pleasure. Although I do recognise its didactic value, I don’t think this remark should be strictly adhered to. For one thing, if you have too many duties, you will never find time for pleasures, which may be very disheartening and eventually lead to abandoning all tasks. What I suggest instead is to alternate the tasks that you find more and less pleasant. And at the end of the day, if you find that you have crossed out all the items and still feel like doing something, ask yourself what will suit you more: gratifying yourself with a pleasure or deriving satisfaction from completing one more tedious task that will lessen your burden in the future. Contrary to my parents, I don’t feel any of these options is better than the other.
3. Treat pleasures like duties
This piece of advice may sound strange, but is really important for workaholics. Based on what I have already shared about my upbringing, you may easily guess that I used to regard myself as one. So, to all of you who put a lot of effort to be efficient and always put duty first: consider pleasures your duties. If the only way you will allow yourself time to relax is to put ‘watch 10 new YouTube videos’ or ‘check out the latest blog post on www.mypresents.eu’ on your to-do list, do it! This will give you some more items to cross out and protect you against overwork.
4. Learn multitasking
There are, however, times when you simply cannot shift certain tasks to a later day or do them earlier. In such cases you will need to learn multitasking – a skill which is useful not only when you are overloaded with work, but also when you want to increase your efficiency and have more time for pleasures, quality time with kids, etc. Think of the tasks that you can do simultaneously. Can you eat dinner and check e-mails at the same time? Or maybe you can prepare your to-do list while waiting for a client’s response? In my experience, combining manual labour with intellectual work provides the best results.
5. Use barren periods for creative work
This point is closely related to the previous one, but I decided to discuss it separately for a simple reason: many people don’t realise how much time they waste because they think this time is lost anyway. E.g. in public transport most people either play on their mobiles or stare into space. Yet this time could be used to prepare a speech, plan the menu for the coming week, or compose a poem to accompany a creative gift. Other seemingly ‘barren’ times include all the situations when you are somehow stranded and can’t do regular work or can’t use your hands, but are free to let your mind wander. In my case that’s when I feed my baby or walk with a pram. To tell you the truth, that is exactly how this post came into being: I went for a walk and didn’t take any book with me because it was supposed to rain. When the rain finally arrived, I hid under a roof with a sleeping daughter and nothing but my head to entertain me. And here it is: a two-entry post conceived and planned at a time that could have been spent on staring at raindrops.
I hope you will find these guidelines helpful. If you need more advice, just ask. Also, please let me know if you have any other tricks to share! I would be more than happy to increase my efficiency and have even more time for making creative presents!
- Always carry something to write with you. After the experience with the rain, I put a notebook and a pen into the baby-bag.
- Most of you probably own smartphones, which enable you to write down your creative ideas. Remember to never leave them at home!