The simple, unpleasant truth is that we are probably busier
than we ever have been. Notwithstanding the fact that little science backs up
this notion, the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming.
"You can see it all around us," says Jana Jasper, a New
York-based productivity expert and author of Take Back Your Time.
"People talk too fast. We're always in a rush. We start things and don't
finish them and are constantly nagged by the idea that we've forgotten to do
something, but we're not sure what it is."
By Helen Kirwan-Taylor
Many years ago I had a falling-out with a girlfriend that proved so painful, I can hardly talk about it today. My friend (let's call her Mary) was a colorful television personality and had the world at her feet. She was engaged to a handsome European, and her face was plastered across the newspapers. I was working for 60 Minutes at the time, and we often met for lunch. Then one day her show was canceled and she asked me - casually, as though it didn't really matter...
That people awash in labor- and time-saving devices, from
robotic vacuum cleaners to microwave ovens to computers, would feel so harried
so often seems counterintuitive. But what technology gives, it also takes
"As we have increased the numbers of time-saving devices
and products to make our lives easier we have found ways to fill the time,"
says Tracy Lyn Moland a time management consultant and author of Mom
Management, Managing Mom Before Everybody Else. And a chronic lack of time
leads to stress.
But the time-management experts we spoke to all say that it is
possible to reduce
stress. Think about it as adding an extra hour to your day through
Something as simple as "knowing where your keys are in the
morning, knowing where your kid's library book or homework is, will reduce a
lot of stress," says Moland. She has a number of time management tips.
Make a Time Diary
Take a week and plot out what you do every day. Be honest. If
you watch 25 hours of TV each week, write it down.
"This is a painful awakening for most people," says
Jana Jasper. "You have to include everything --- gym time, eating, driving,
weekly meetings, all of it. It can be upsetting to see how little unstructured
time we allow ourselves. But it's difficult to make intelligent decisions about
using your time more effectively if you don't know what you're doing with your
Learn to Say "No"
Turn off your cell phone and beeper. When someone asks you to
do something that you really don't have time to do, say so, politely, but
firmly. And don't allow yourself to feel guilty.