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 Jenny Allen
Some women find happiness by taking off for exotic, far-flung places — think of Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love, circling the globe. Gretchen Rubin, on the other hand, found it right at home. Rubin, a New York City lawyer turned writer, didn't want to roam; she had a husband she was crazy about, two young daughters, a lovely home, a close extended family, good friends, and a satisfying career. She had, in short, a grown-up life.
Which she loved — but, she admits,...
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.
"One reason we are feeling so busy all the time is that we
are worse at setting personal boundaries around what we'll say 'no' to,"
says Jana Kemp, founder and president of Meeting & Management Essentials, a
time-management consultancy in Boise, Idaho.
Part of declining to do things, is focusing on your goals, Kemp
explains. Your time diary can help in this regard. Once you've blocked time for
important, but often not scheduled activities, sign on for only those things
that are important, family, friends and health. Once you know exactly what you
have time to do, turning down things that don't fit into your priorities is