Benjamin Franklin once said that "if you want something done, ask a busy person." There's truth to that statement. After all, the busier we are, the better we manage our time. Busy people are able to get more done in a day because they don't waste time. They take advantage of every moment and consider time a precious commodity.
The sloth, however, thinks nothing of watching time pass. There's also the group in the middle who consider themselves busy, but it's more a term they use to validate themselves. Have you noticed that "busy" is the new word to use when someone asks you how you are? Instead of being good, we are now "busy!" The pace of life has increased in a way that we only feel worthwhile when we're moving at a frantic pace.
Time is our most precious resource. You can't buy more and you never know when you're going to run out of it. So, we need to make the most of every day. This doesn't mean that we need to work harder and harder. This means that we need to evaluate what's important and make time for it. You will never find time to do those elusive things on your list, you need to make time. How do you make time? You start carving it out, treating it like the precious resource that it is and making the most of every moment.
Before I started my own business, I worked for a woman who I considered at the time to be a drill sergeant. Later, however, I appreciated what she put us through because it taught lessons in time management. She made everyone who worked in her office keep a log, in 15-minute increments, of everything we did each day we worked. Yes, we spent a lot of our time working on our logs, but it also taught me to make use of every snippet of time. The average office worker is focused for only 11 minutes before they are distracted, so if you plan ahead for distractions and work incrementally, you will increase your productivity.
If you want to make good use of your time, you need to be a planner. Use a calendar and schedule when you can. Not just your work time, but your free time. Schedule down time, time with family and friends, time to get organized, time to do laundry, etc. Anything that takes up time needs to be included. If you want to be more aware of where your time goes and you feel scattered, set a reminder on your phone every couple of hours to write down what you've been doing. When you know you're on the clock, time will matter more! So if you're one of those "busy" people, make sure the time you're spending being busy is productive.
Monica Friel is president and founder of Chaos To Order -- the Chicago area's premiere organizing company since 1990. Friel manages and trains a staff of professional organizers who specialize in everything from household clutter to corporate chaos.