How Sheila Williams’ “Time for Your Life” makes life more fun

Time for Your Life, by Sheila Wiiliams

Time for Your Life, by Sheila Wiiliams

As a writer, as a mother, a wife, a friend, a human being–learning to balance my time to get the most out of my life has always been one of my greatest challenges.

Although I’ve made some inroads, after years and decades of practice, I can’t say that I’m really very good at this yet. This means it’s become another topic to study, an item that ends up periodically on my blog and one that I study as much as possible.

That’s one of the reasons I enjoyed Sheila Williams‘ book, Time for your Life.

Williams says this in her introduction:

 Most of us lead busy, complicated lives. We often find time fast vanishes as we get bogged down with the trivial or meaningless; with last-minute rushes and crises and with the demands of other people. Time for long-distance planning, for dreaming, for ideas and creativity disappears and all too often we begin to feel like a hamster running fast on its wheel to nowhere.

William’s book is about giving readers hope, about teaching us how to discover, understand and manage our unique relations to time.

The first section of the book focuses on how your personality affects the way you spend time and helps you see where you’re losing time. I’ve always found things like this interesting.

From a writing perspective, understanding my own time personality was quite revealing. I discovered that I enjoy a solid mix of routines and flexibility, and I get my best work done when I have occasional breaks from my routines.

In the second section, Williams focuses on organizational skills that can help free up time, and in the third section, Williams addresses ‘Time Thieves’ like procrastination (one of my oldest acquaintances). Even reading about these things motivates me to try harder, and I appreciate the strategies she suggests for dealing with the time thieves. My personal favorite: Play a game. Williams says this:

If it’s a boring but necessary task make a game out of it. See how quickly you can complete it and complete it well. Then next time, see if you can beat your own record.

I love games!

William’s thoughts on a ‘claiming day’ also make a lot of sense to me:

 If you are clear about when and how often certain tasks or actions have to be performed, then you can plan for them and reduce the risk of forgetting about them or leaving insufficient time to deal with them properly.

Claiming dates are events that are regularly scheduled, like a Monday morning office meeting, and should show up on the calendar well in advance of it’s actual occurrence. Williams says people need advance time to prepare for meetings, to send birthday cards, register the vehicle, etc.

For me, Saturdays are my day to catch up on work I’m behind in, but they’re also my ‘claiming dates’ when I prepare for the week ahead. I have to admit, scheduling items well in advance is an area that I’m only now beginning to make progress in, and it’s making my life much, much easier, much more enjoyable.

I think that’s part of the game!

And really, for me, that’s what it’s all about. Life can be difficult, distressing, discouraging–but overcoming those feelings and the distractions that allow me to feel that way is a challenge I can’t resist. Managing my time well helps me feel like this is a game I can very happily win. 🙂

Overall, there’s a lot of really great information in this book…more than I can use at once. I intend to work on integrating this information into my personal system a step at a time.

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