Time management or me management?

An issue that has come up for discussion in our logotherapy group is time management. It turns out that this is not a simple matter with a simple solution because we’re talking about the “me” that has to be managed.

Take a day like I had yesterday. I had plenty of time on my hands. I always have projects to finish but I was free to slice up the day any which way I felt like. I had no deadline to meet. I had only to face myself and what I felt like doing right now, or at least what I could manage to get myself to do right now, given the fact that I was in the mood to do nothing at all. At the same time sitting and doing nothing is never satisfying to me.

Every situation is unique so I’m not sure what anyone else can learn from it but I will analyze my situation and see what I can learn from it. The first thing I did was to pray. This is something I do every single day and I have absolutely no struggle about it, no question mark comes up in my mind as to “Will I pray today or won’t I?” in the same way that the question comes up “Will I exercise today or won’t I?” Yet I do sometimes struggle to have my mind involved and to be present. There seems to be an ability in us to get our bodies to do something and instill it as a habit that is so strong that it becomes easy to do. There is something very good about this if it’s something we think is good to do and there is also a challenge in this if we want to have our hearts and minds on board with our bodily actions. So there are two separate things to work on: Getting myself to do something and being focused when doing it.

The rest of my day I did other things that I had to push myself to do. One thing I noticed was that even if I have five hours available to work on a project and I think now I have the time. – Let me use it. It doesn’t work that way. In this category as well, when I push myself to do something I still need to feel inside like doing it in order to be focused and have it come out well.

The real question, it seems is a question of motivation. How can I get myself motivated? Why is this important to me? And at the same time it’s not just a question of importance. It’s hard to do the same activity for an extended period of time – for me, at least. When my schedule is very structured I am forced to go from one thing to the next within a specific time frame, even if it’s okay for the time of one activity to spill over since it’s not healthy to be that regimented, even for a yekke like myself.

It means that when I have a large space of time and no structure is imposed on me I have to make my own structure and divide up my time into different activities. And whether I have structure imposed on me or not I have to always ask myself not only what I feel I need to be doing but also what I want out of this right now, how I can be present for it. The answer could be that I just can’t or I have to do something else first. Anyway, gotta go…

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