A Surprising Time Management Secret

posted by Aby Garvey on April 30, 2013 20 Comments

clock with planner and to do listTime is the currency of our lives. In essence, how you spend your time is how you spend your life. With that said, how do you feel about the way you’re currently spending your time…and your life? I know from experience that when your to-do list feels out of control, and when you’re not spending time on the people and things that matter most to you, there’s a tremendous amount of guilt, stress and worry weighing you down.

So today I want to share something with you from the second lesson of my It’s About Time online workshop. This is something that all effective time managers know, and it can drastically free you from unrealistic expectations you may have about your time. Ready? Here it is:

“You will always have more to do than you can ever get done.”

Now maybe this doesn’t seem like that big of a secret to you. Maybe you have felt this in your life, but you’ve tried to push the idea away because, at first, this sounds a bit depressing. (Okay, who am I kidding, it sounds really depressing. We can’t really ever get it all done? We can’t ever get caught up?) So, you may even be wondering why in the world I would tell you this!

The reason is simple. When you understand that you will always have more to do than you can ever get done, you begin to understand the importance of having a decision-making process that allows you to spend more time on tasks and activities you most enjoy, and less time on activities you don’t. You can begin evaluating the tasks on your current and future to-do lists based on your values, priorities, and what matters most to you. You can also see the importance of learning how to say yes or no to tasks and activities, and become selective about how you spend your time. I walk you through how to do all of this (and more!) in my It’s About Time online workshop.

The bottom line is that your to-do list truly will never be done, so what you put on that list determines whether or not your life is filled with purpose, meaning and joy. Choose wisely! What is one item on your to-do list that you can say no to and create time for a more meaningful activity? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Happy organizing!

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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and coaching program

Latest posts by Aby Garvey (see all)

  • April 30, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    A friend once told me that she decided to do an hour of sewing every day regardless of whether the house was clean. She said that she felt like she had more time to get things done when she did that because she felt more fulfilled for having gotten to do something she loved instead of always waiting for other things to be done first.

    Sometimes I try to remind myself to do the things I enjoy so that I can feel like that, too! Sewing and blogging are two of the things that I need to put on my to do list.

    April 30, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Thanks, Ryann! You have a wise friend. :)

    May 1, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    I love your friend’s idea, Ryann!

    I am working toward replacing “ought to” and “want to” with, “What will make your heart sing?” Sometimes, it’s a creative project; other times, it’s clean underwear!Rather than regarding activities that are primarily for my enjoyment as inferior to things that are primarily productive, I am committed to treating them as equals,

    May 1, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    Linda, I love the question “What will make your heart sing?” Thanks for sharing this!

    • April 30, 2013 at 3:32 pm

      I cheat ahead of time by putting several things on my to-do list which I have already done. Crossing them off makes me feel like I’m on a roll and the momentum of accomplishment keeps me going when I look at my list.

      May 1, 2013 at 8:42 pm

      Oh yes, I love this trick Eileen. Love the little endorphin rush of a check mark. :)

      • April 30, 2013 at 4:01 pm

        I love to read. Unfortunately, the normal day-to-day, mother, wife, employee items get in the way. I made a commitment to go to bed at 9 and read until 10, every night. At first the family was always interrupting or making fun that I would leave in the middle of the movie – but I was committed. Now, two years later, I’ve read countless books, the family doesn’t “bother” me anymore for that hour, and I feel more relaxed knowing that that is my hour every day. Now if I can carve out another hour for exercising….

        May 1, 2013 at 8:42 pm

        Thanks so much for sharing this Elloise. Good for you for making time for something that is important to you!

        • April 30, 2013 at 7:51 pm

          I’ve always loved reading…somehow, when I read a book and finish it, (which I can do within a day), I feel much more energized…I think that’s what I can go ahead and do on some days to relax myself, because lately I’ve noticed that I’ve been so stressed out…amazing.
          Thank you so much! :)

          May 1, 2013 at 8:45 pm

          Good realization Allison!

          • May 1, 2013 at 7:55 am

            I think it’s important also to know what things are must-dos in order for the rest of your day to flow properly, and by what time. For me, this includes a short time of Bible reading and prayer, a meal plan for the day *written down*, and all dishes out of the sink and off the counters. If those things aren’t done, nothing feels right to me, even if I’m crossing things off the list. It’s a little different from prioritizing somehow, at least in my mind.

            I swear by the Motivated Moms checklist, because I don’t have to spend time making a list at all! :)

            May 1, 2013 at 8:46 pm

            Thanks for your comment Melissa! I know what you mean about getting those must-dos out of the way. Definitely clears the mind so you can focus on the other to-dos on your list.

            • May 6, 2013 at 5:45 am

              Wow, awesome blog layout! How long have you
              been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your
              web site is excellent, as well as the content!

              • May 7, 2013 at 9:20 am

                Hi Aby,

                There will always be more things to be done, more reports to write, more errands to do, more books to read, more phone calls to make…

                At the end of it all, it is all about realizing that you don’t need to do them all.
                Thanks. :)

                Just the important ones. Less is indeed more.

                May 15, 2013 at 2:43 pm

                Thanks Brian!

                • May 10, 2013 at 9:57 am

                  I once had a boss who said “you can’t put more things on your plate unless you take some off first – there’s just no room”. So I try to remember how large my visual plate is first (unless it’s Thanksgiving :o )

                  May 15, 2013 at 2:43 pm

                  Great idea Jackie! It helps so much to make time more tangible, like a plate. :)

                  • May 14, 2013 at 8:19 am

                    I love this idea! It is about prioritizing because we can’t do it all.
                    And what is reflected here is often what we prize most is never done.
                    Thanks for sharing this quote.

                    May 15, 2013 at 2:44 pm

                    Thanks for your comments, Ellen!

                    • February 8, 2014 at 10:22 pm

                      Wow! At last I got a web site from where I know how to actually take valuable data regarding my study and knowledge.