How to Make Friends with Mother Time by Using These 5 Time Management Hacks
Why is it that time seems to fly now that we’re 60 or 70 or 80? I’m often amazed when a wedding, the death of friend or a move to a new city was 20 or 30 years ago. Heavens, it’s already 2018! What happened to 2017?
Now that I’m past life’s midpoint, I appreciate Dr. Seuss’s whimsical perspective from The Cat in the Hat: “How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”
Age and Time Perception
One theory why time seems to zip by as we age is that now, each year makes up a smaller percentage of our lives. One year equals 100 percent of a lifetime to my year-old great nieces. But it’s only 1/61st of my life.
Another theory holds that the more memories we create during a time period, the longer it seems. High school and college took forever, but I have lots of good memories.
A theory about time I don’t like is that the brain is less capable of accurately measuring time as we age. Ha! We’ll show them.
When you’re looking forward to something, like a dream vacation a year from now, time may seem slower. Your anticipation will have you counting the months and days until it’s finally time to pack.
Sadness and depression can make days drag too. If it goes on too long, it is important to ask for help from friends or a professional. Getting back to joy and the pace of a more normal life is never out of reach.
Making the Most of an Unknown
Aging specialists believe the first person to live past 150 has already been born. As we live to 100 and longer, will time in middle age seem slower? Will we procrastinate more because we think we have plenty of time for those bucket list items?
None of us know how much time we have on Earth – how long we’ll be with our most important people or how many years we’ll have to do all the things we want to do. No matter how long we live, life is short. We don’t want to reach the endpoint with regrets or what ifs.
Some experts suggest imagining ourselves at our very best when we reach the end of the road. What is our legacy? What have we accomplished? Where have we been? Then go to work being that person with all the time you have left.
Even without the rigorous schedules of our earlier years, setting goals and managing time are just as important now. Everyday time management hacks keep us on track.
Schedule Some Sort of Planning Time
My time is Monday morning. Before I flip my calendar page to the current week, I look at what didn’t get done and move it forward. I check appointments and decide what else I can accomplish in the same part of town. I look for blocks of time to work on bigger projects.
In his book Ready for Anything, productivity guru David Allen writes, “Most people actually have a lot of thinking going on about a lot of stuff in their life and work – stuff that is basically unproductive, distracting, and a source of unnecessary stress.”
A weekly review helps dump our ‘psychic RAM’ and clear our minds for more creative focus.
Another thing I learned from Allen is to move ‘Someday/Maybe’ items to another list. Just one example: I’d love to sew for Little Dresses for Africa, a wonderful program a good friend is helping. But there is not time right now. Someday? Maybe.
Do What’s Nagging You First
You know that pesky thing you’re procrastinating about. If you get those nagging details off your list first, your whole day or week tends to go better. Putting off what’s bugging you steals from your mental energy.
If you can do it in a short time, just do it now: empty the dishwasher, address the envelope, make the phone call. It’s quicker than putting it on a list to do later.
Studies have proven that when we try to do more than one thing at once, each task takes 25 percent more time to complete. Puttering about can be fun, but if you’ve got something important to do, concentrate on one thing.
Rushing Slows Us Down and Makes Us Careless
Our reactions slow as we age, so it’s important to take our time, look both directions three times, watch out for hazards. One rule I follow forces me to slow down – keep one hand free to hold the railing going up or down stairs. Sometimes it takes two trips.
We all have chores we don’t like to do, like dusting or cleaning the litterbox. But if we do even the most mundane task mindfully, and the very best we can do it, we enjoy it more. Plus, this kind of mindfulness is good for brain density. Who knew?
For most of my adult life, I felt too busy with work and chores at home. But an odd thing has happened in the past few years.
I’m busier than ever but doing more and more of what is important to me. I’m making friends with Mother Time, and she’s going to be my good buddy on my 100th Year Project journey.
What are your time management tricks? If you’ve experienced time moving slowly because of sadness, how did you work past it? Do you like the image of yourself at your oldest old? Are there things you can do now so you’ll grow into the older person you really want to be? Please join the conversation below!
Terri Edmund White is an innkeeper on Anna Maria Island, Florida. She enjoys life with her husband Jim and their cats, adopted from the Humane Society of Manatee County. A former corporate writer and editor, Terri is currently penning her way to her 100th birthday and has started a 100 Year Project website to write about the journey.