Monday, 5 September 2016

Retired? Still need Time Management skills? Reflections.

Reflecting the other day how busy we were, my husband never ceases to be amazed at how full our diary becomes.

In filling our changing lives with other activities to 'fill the gap', maintaining others while dovetailing an increasing number of what I will call essential appointments,and a catch-up with long-standing friends and family, we still need flexibility and a can-do attitude.

Our trusty Outlook calendar on the desktop PCwith reminders as well as digital calendars and an old-fashioned paper diary all need to be synchronised.
I had a new computer in May which came with Outlook in Windows 10 plus an Outlook desktop application with the Office 2016 upgrade. I find that some things synchronise with both but have found it best to stick with the desktop application as I can colour code appointments, meetings, birthdays and holidays etc.

Catching up with friends is not as easy as it seems as we all have to dovetail holidays and family visits. It is important, not to forget our friends. Social media help to keep the links alive. Being active even if in a lesser manner than hitherto all helps to fill our calendar and keep our minds fresh. Must encourage the grey cells.

So, back to time management. I have always made lists but here is what I learned about time management when I was undergoing my degree in professional studies in education. This degree fell into the continuing professional development framework (CPD) where success in the Module on 'The Process of Professional Development', which was the cornerstone of the whole course, was essential in order to be successful in the whole degree course.

Essential Time Management Skills.

"‘Time’ can be broken down into three categories:

  •   Prescribed time.
  • Maintenance time.
  •  Discretionary time.

We will look at each of these in turn.

What is Prescribed Time?

Prescribed time means things you have to do such as going to work, looking after a family.
My own life was prescribed around the needs of the business and family responsibilities. I was travelling across the UK as part of the working day. Changes in arrangements with clients and learners often meant that maintenance time and discretionary time changed to prescribed time.Some family responsibilities became regular fixtures in my diary. Flexibility became second nature.

What is Maintenance Time?

Maintenance time is the time you spend looking after yourself; shopping, making meals, getting your hair done etc.
This varies according to prescribed time. You tend to fit these tasks in depending on what your work constraints are. In my own case, it had precedence over discretionary time due to family responsibilities. Using outside help for household needs (a cleaner) reduced my maintenance time, allowing me to maintain discretionary time at the necessary level.

What is Discretionary Time?

As the name suggests, discretionary time is the time which you have available to do as you please. Your spare time.
I attended a fitness centre. This activity, although located within my discretionary time was, largely prescribed as it was very expensive not to attend on a regular basis.

However, the choice is there – to go or not to go. If there was a need for a little more rest combined with an earlier start on studies, then the option was there. I had a choice. My decision to sometimes not study on a Sunday also enhanced my discretionary time. This allowed me a family day.

Now that I work from home with my writing, marketing, and publishing activities - which bring their own pressures, and with my husband having had an enforced retirement some years ago due to ill-health, we still keep ourselves very involved with various activities including our GWOCGB of friends across the UK, and networking opportunities(me). My husband also, from time to time, goes off to see friends from working days which gets him out of the house and gives me some quiet time to bury myself in my writing and other matters, including digital technology which keeps my brain busy regenerating the little grey cells.

C'est la vie! ( And we wouldn't have it any different.)