There can be something wrong with time management skills when everyone is so busy that they cannot even pause to reflect on the meanings of the Labor Day holiday. Consider two definitions of this event:
Labor Day: 1) A holiday set aside to celebrate and honor working people, inaugurated in 1882 by the Knights of Labor. 2) The end of summer.
Chances are you think of Labor Day more in terms of definition two: As a turning point. Even when working with fiscal years and calendar years, many still consider this as a new beginning, dating from those days when school sessions started immediately after Labor Day. The way you have managed your time in the last month's changes.
While this is a day to honor your efforts and achievements, you rarely hear people talking about the actual meaning of Labor Day as they celebrate the last summer holiday with barbecues and pool parties. Yet, who better deserves recognition than you? You have been working long days during this last year, trying to be as productive as possible, often fighting stress from too much to do as you try to manage your time so that everything fits.
Instead of the shortened workweek that seemed to be on the horizon, technology has had the opposite result. Technology demands immediate responses, and electronic devices can track you down anywhere. Although you may not work as hard physically because of the advances, leisure time continues to decrease as the workweek hours increase. What can you do about it?
Since the amount of work coming into your life is not going to decrease, your first step is to make sure you are using your allotted hours to achieve as much as possible. If you could gain at least one extra hour of productive time each day, you could reduce that work time.
Start by considering whether you are making the best use of the tools available to you in managing your time.
Do you have an efficient system for?
• Scheduling tasks?
• Maintaining one calendar?
• Handling business cards and other contact data?
• Recording and tracking bills?
• Sorting your e-mail?
• Filing papers and retrieving them quickly?
These are routine activities that distract you from priority projects. If you do not have one effective system you use for each of these items, then you are wasting time - time that could be devoted to decreasing your workweek and adding more leisure time.
Labor Day as a holiday was not established just to encourage you to work more. While it does recognize your efforts, it also honors your accomplishments. Think about ways that would allow you to achieve even more through your efforts.
It is a new year mentally. You have celebrated the holiday, vacation is over, children are back in school and it is time to attack your workload again. With the advent of another year, resolutions come to mind. Can you think of any areas that you should resolve to change? Turn those resolutions into new goals. See if you can continue to organize better so that you labor less and accomplish more.
Ahwatukee Foothills resident Denise Landers is the author of Destination: Organization, A Week by Week Journey. She helps businesses and individuals accomplish more with productive office systems. Reach her at (602) 412-3876 or firstname.lastname@example.org.