With the start of the new academic year, when we are trying to organize our school lives, we are all wondering how to get everything done. When it looks like we may not be making the progress we want, and we have all been there, we have a few aspects of our professional lives to potentially reflect on: time, mental energy or organization. Which one do we choose and why?
Time: It would seem that a common first reaction is ‘time’ and I would suggest that this is because, of the three, this one is the most removed from self. The fact that we don’t have time is conveniently due to someone else, and the demands they make on us and our time. Although this is part of the problem, an exclusive focus on time leaves us as mere victims.
Mental Energy: This can’t be ignored. How many afternoons have we found a spare half hour, but have been unproductive having left a job that needed full concentration to this time slot, while we did a routine job in the morning, when we could have managed it easily? Imagine if we had a full reserve, being able to focus and concentrate all day. Imagine what we would get done. Unfortunately we don’t. In this sense, time is not fixed in terms of productivity. Some minutes are ‘longer’ than others in terms of productivity. Use the long minutes wisely. This is more about self, a useful question for reflection.
Self-organization: When we are not getting things done, how often do we take stock of our own personal organization. This is all about self. We have the power to make the changes here. Perhaps this is the reason why it is often overlooked – when it is so tempting to fixate on time, making productivity someone else’s problem.
My advice would be to consider all three of these ideas when you can’t seem to get everything done, and doubt the depth of your own reflection if you use time as the sole consideration – it’s always a combination.