In everyday life, planning always saves time. Planning, according to Wikipedia, is the process of thinking about and organizing the activities required to achieve a desired goal. Whether the goal is to write a book or buy a head of lettuce, the same process of thinking ahead is necessary.
There are so many choices today, that unless we are decisive, a lot of time can be wasted. That’s why goal-setting and planning are just as important at home as it is in business. If you have a goal to purchase a specific book on Amazon.com, it’s faster than visiting a bookstore. But if you browse through the hundreds of time management books listed there in order to find one that you like, you could be wasting hours. In other words, make your choices in advance. Impulse shopping consumes time.
That’s why you should go grocery shopping with a shopping list, make phone calls with an agenda in mind, call ahead when looking for a specific item at a department store, order take-out food by phone before picking it up, decide what TV programs you want to watch before turning on the set, and so on. Planning involves advance decision-making, and helps us cope with all the choices and distractions that confront us every day.
When confronted with so many options, people have a tendency to take on too much. They then deceive themselves into thinking that they don’t have enough time. Time is not the problem. They have all the time there is to have. The problem is in trying to cram too many activities into their day.
In a poll conducted in 2006, people were asked if they would rather have fewer things to do or more time to do the things they are already doing. About 75% of them said they would rather have more time.
Most people don’t want to give up anything. And there are more things to do than they have time for. So they go faster in order to keep up. Valorie Burton, author of the book, How Did I Get So Busy? surveyed 300 adults about busyness in their lives. More than 58% have not had a seven-day vacation in the last year, 70% feel they do not spend enough time with their children, and 80% say their schedule is somewhat or entirely overcommitted.
Most people don’t need help knowing their priorities; they need help living their priorities. And that involves using a planning calendar for their personal lives, not just their work. It is just as important to schedule time with family, time alone and leisure time as it is to schedule business meetings, appointments and other business activities.
People should ask themselves if the total time they are spending with their family and loved ones, and on their personal pursuits, is in line with how much they value them. They should schedule their work around their life, and not schedule their life around their work. Otherwise work and other people’s priorities may spread throughout their entire day, putting their lives out of balance.