Tired of cramming your life into schedules and lists? This short time management quiz challenges you to give some serious thought with regards to how you are using your time now. Perhaps it is time to revamp a few things? Take a moment to answer each question before reading the discussion section.
1. How much time do you spend reading the papers, watching (or surfing) the news everyday?
How much of the information you gather impacts your life directly?
Do you feel good about yourself or the world at large after each session of “latest, must-know” news?
Discussion: Every second, there is something happening in some part of the world that reporters will be putting in the news. Do you have to know everything that is happening outside your life? Do you want to? I can hear you exclaim: “No! I have got better things to do!”
The truth is, most of us spend a disproportionate amount of time on events that do not pertain to us, and more often than not, reflect the ugly side of society and only serve to depress us. Do not belittle the time you spend on the news everyday. If you can direct them towards achieving your dreams and goals, you will be surprised at how much can be done.
Do not get me wrong, no one is telling you to be a frog at the bottom of the well (a common Chinese idiom, referring to a person with a limited outlook). The key to time management here is to cultivate the ability to filter out the irrelevant, negative, and time-consuming information sources from your life.
You choose the information and experiences you want to have. It is a conscious moment-to-moment decision, but when you form the habit of avoiding and eliminating negative sources (from media, “friends” etc) from your life, you will also gravitate towards the positive elements that enrich you.
2. Do you often do things to please others (but not yourself)? Do you find it hard to say “no”?
Discussion: It is great to be helpful – provided you can afford it. If you are already overwhelmed by your own life circumstances and have not been taking good care of yourself, you must learn to start saying “no”.
If every “yes” to someone else, means a “no” to yourself, then you are only doing yourself a disservice. It is s not about being selfish; it is about self-preservation.
Just like you are told to apply the oxygen mask to yourself first before attending to someone else in a plane emergency, always take care of yourself first. Not your husband or wife, children, parents or friends. Only when your needs are fulfilled can be you be a good wife or husband, parent, and friend.
One of the ways is to preserve precious time for yourself is by learning to say “no” whenever you feel that you need time for yourself to recuperate and recharge. Remember, we all have a finite amount of time on planet Earth; you have the right to dictate how you want to use it!
3. Are you constantly multitasking? Do you believe that it “saves time” and you can achieve more by doing so?
Discussion: Let me illustrate with my own experience. A friend called to chat while I was working on the computer. As much as I would like to continue typing and producing excellent work while listening to her problems, all I could do was scroll up and down the page, while listening half-heartedly. I should have either explained to her that I was working on something important and would call her back shortly; or stop work and help her with what she needed. By attempting to multitask, I had done a disservice to her and myself.
I remember that some time back, multitasking was promoted as the answer to modern living and a great time management practice – to get as much done in as little time possible. However, there has been increasing research to turn the tables.
Since the 1990s, experimental psychologists have demonstrated that people show severe interference when even very simple tasks are performed simultaneously, and multitasking does not appear to be as effective as concentrated times.
Note that not only does multitasking prevent us from getting things done properly, it has also been criticized to make us feel less happy and accomplished as a result. Quite a heavy price to pay in attempt to “save time”!
When we make the choice to do something, honor the decision and do it with full attention. Let’s not short-change our time anymore.
4. How often do you delay tasks you do not like to do? Did the “delaying” actually feel worse than the eventual “doing”?
Discussion: For some reason, procrastination is very much human nature. We try to delay doing the mundane, must-dos and un-enjoyable tasks and activities until someone else do it for us (unlikely) or we have no more clean clothes to wear.
I admit that I hated cleaning the house. It would take me a good 3-4 hours of backbreaking, dirt-busting, water-soaking chores before it was done. On the other hand, I am pretty obsessed with cleanliness; hence a dirty house really gets on my nerves. When I first moved into the house, I would often delay cleaning the house until I could take it no more, then finally set about doing it. It did not take me long to realize that procrastinating was a worse mental state than the actual cleaning process; and the satisfaction (and fragrance) of a cleaned house was well worth the time and effort.
Moreover, each mental battle of “to do it or not,” not only wastes time; it creates a state of tension by hovering between two choices. That’s why it is a form of mental torture actually. Hence, stop procrastinating and trying to resist the unavoidable situations or must-dos in your life from now on; you will find that as resistance melts, you improve your experience, and feel much more at peace.
5. When was the last time you lost track of time while doing something, and you enjoyed the process? Can you recall more of such moments?
Discussion: This is to help you with the question: What are the things that you want to do or accomplish in your life? (These refer to your heart’s desires and lifelong wishes.) These are the things that truly matter to you.
More often than not, work demands, family commitments, endless chores and other responsibilities have blunted our senses and interests. Life can feel mundane and joyless sometimes.
Your task is to discover what sparks your passion for life. By redirecting your focus towards these important areas in your life, you will slowly regain your senses and interests, and start the journey towards leading a fuller life.
Let’s hope this time management quiz and discussion has given you a clearer perspective to how you have been managing your time, as well as reasons to start taking action today!