Spring Clean Your Time

I have a vice. It can get expensive. Sometimes I can’t sleep at night. I have even had to break commitments with my family occasion!

I am addicted to the word “yes.”

There’s an ongoing joke with my friends – “Nooooooo-kay.” Yup, I just said No-kay again. When I feel like I have a few minutes to call my own, something, or more like someone, will ask me to do something and, despite how stretched thin I am, I will end up allocating some of my time to whatever worthy cause comes my way. Some people might not see anything wrong with this. After all, I’m doing things for the common good, right?

One of the hallmarks of spring is the “spring cleaning” so many do. I think it stems from the extra time we spend cooped up in the house when the weather isn’t so nice outside. Personally, I try to rid my house of clutter year round because I can’t stand the thought of dedicating a giant chunk of time to it. I can, however, sit down and dedicate some serious bandwidth to another type of spring cleaning – my time.

Professionally, I spend a chunk of my day as a time-efficiency analyst. I graph charts for my directors that break down their workload, output rate and efficiency down to minutes. It is so easy to lose momentum when you are jumping from task to task, seriously decreasing efficiency by up to 50 percent! What I practice at work isn’t just for professionals; it is human nature.

I feel it is important to shed light on this as we are thinking about our own spring cleaning routine. Someone once told me that when you say “yes” to something external, you’re saying “no” to yourself. This may seem odd coming from me, the volunteer addict, but I have repeatedly learned the hard way that balance is essential to everything we do.

If you also say “yes” repeatedly, practice an automatic alternate response of, “That sounds wonderful. Let me check with my team and get back to you.” You’re not saying “no,” but it gives you enough time to talk with your spouse, check your calendar and figure things out. Remember, time is your most valuable asset. Make sure it goes to the most important person first – YOU!


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