Massage & Bodywork


Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 98 of 133

EXPERIMENT STEP #1 TRANSFER MY TO-DO LIST TO A DAY CALENDAR As I reflected on the day's events, I realized I had always made lists for the day, week, and month. Walking Pearl was on my list, but it was never entered into my calendar as an actual, scheduled event: for example, between 1:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. I will take care of Pearl. In fact, my to-do list was not in my calendar at all, except for recurring events like paying a bill. That night, I transferred my to-do list for the next day into my day calendar, including noting an email I had to get out for a massage class I was teaching. I instantly felt less stressed knowing that everything I needed to do was scheduled in. Why didn't I do this years ago? It seemed like such an easy fix, but as the day went on, I started to get behind. I forgot to schedule in daily activities, like washing sheets. The further I got behind, the more I panicked. My anxiety level shot up, and there was a reality that I could no longer deny: I had no idea how long things took. Part of my time- management problem was a product of magical thinking. EXPERIMENT STEP #2 STOP MAGICAL THINKING Magical thinking is thinking that is not based in reality. With time management, this means I consistently think I can accomplish more things in an hour than are actually possible. The first day of the experiment, I accomplished 20 percent of my to-do list. The next day, I planned less to do and I accomplished 80 percent of my list. My stress level went way down. However, anxiety from a different source surfaced. A realistic projection of how long something will take means I can accomplish less than I thought I could when my magical thinking ran the show. This realization was a little depressing. But, as I continued transferring my to-do list into my day planner and allotting more time for tasks, I was able to check more things off the list, like billing and collecting that $4,000! In addition, as I got better with the to-do list/day planner merger, I became more efficient with my time. And better time efficiency ultimately meant I could get even more things done. As days turned into weeks, I got better at estimating how long tasks took. A feeling of anxiousness from remembering what magical thinking produced—a schedule that doesn't work—kept me on track for the most part. However, there still were times when I'd overschedule. The difference now was that I knew I couldn't get it all done, no matter how much I wished I could. EXPERIMENT STEP #3 PRIORITIZE Prioritizing seemed to be a natural outgrowth of controlling magical thinking. When I underestimated time for projects, like the email I wanted to get out for my upcoming massage class, I would go back and prioritize the to-do list that was in my schedule for the day. Less urgent items would be rescheduled into the next day or week—or, if I was really ambitious (or desperate to get things done), I could do them at night before I went to bed. Two months into the experiment, I was pleased with the results. Through merging my to-do list with my day calendar, having a more realistic understanding about how long it takes to get tasks done, and prioritizing and adjusting, my stress level decreased dramatically. However, the sicker Pearl got and the more time I needed to spend with her, the more time-management challenges I had. But with the challenges came more opportunities to learn.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Massage & Bodywork - JULY | AUGUST 2016