Sweat & Smiles: Mending Our Relationship with Time

By Melissa Romano on May 19, 2018 from Sweat & Smiles via Connect-Bridgeport.com

Effectively utilizing our time means juggling various demands of study, social life, career, family, personal interests, and commitments. Time management is the process of planning and practicing conscious control over all of these things in hopes of increasing effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity. When it comes to working out the most popular reason I get for skipping on the fitness regimen is the lack of time.
 
Most people have no problem identifying things they “waste” their time on social media, mindless tv, lack of focus, not being present, etc. If most people know they aren’t managing their time effectively and they know what they’re wasting their time doing, why don’t they make adjustments? One thing I’ve found to be the biggest hindrance for people is their perception of time. 
 
A lifetime of factors go into our perception of time, and some are even impossible to identify. Time itself is not something we can change (except I’m still hoping to pass a law that ends daylight savings). To mend our relationship with time we have to re-evaluate the relationship, become more aware of how we spend our days and get real on how our perception affects our productivity. 
 
How fast our brains process sensory output plays a role in our perception of time. For example, I may feel like a visual event goes by a lot faster than an auditory event while you have the opposite impression. 
 
Activities we enjoy, provide us the perception that time is going by faster than usual because of actual chemical reactions like an increase in dopamine. 
 
Sleep, culture, environment, and technology are all affecting how we perceive time. The main ingredient and easiest fix will be how we estimate our time and the methods we choose to manage it. 
 
Experimental psychologist Paul Fraisse found that people are generally better estimating time in passing than predicting the duration of events. Some studies have indicated a “planning fallacy” where we underestimate how long a task will take despite our past experiences. In my own experience with clients, I’ve found that those who believe they are poor time managers actually overestimate A) how much they need to do and B) how long it will take. 
 
Changing your perception of anything takes practice and reminders. The trick is practicing even when you aren’t significantly struggling. I work with a lot of people who have been referred to me after finishing physical therapy.
 
Problems arise when people stop focusing on their bodies when they are pain-free. Those same clients have to go through a few different rounds of going from pain-free to in pain and back before they learn to focus on their bodies even when they aren’t in pain. If you only focus on time management when you are two hours away from four deadlines that require six hours of work, then you’ll go through a couple cycles of “pain-free to in pain and back.”
 
Creating a habit or new practice is simple when it’s piggybacked on an existing routine. Instead of saying you’re going to focus on utilizing your time say I’m going to evaluate my schedule before I have my morning coffee or before I brush my teeth. This way your already existing routine becomes your reminder. 
 
My time management methods have adapted from numerous other ways and melded into what works best for me. The moment I notice there is a lot of chatter in my mind (you know what I’m talking about) I do a data dump. I sit down with loose-leaf paper or a giant piece of paper, and I write, scribble, or doodle everything that’s in my brain. It doesn’t look pretty, it’s not organized, and it’s never cohesive sentences. It is precisely how it sounds, a dump. If it sounds messy in my head, it’s not going to come out clean and organized on the first try. If I attempt to make the messy thoughts go straight into an organized list, I usually stop before I finish. 
 
Once I’ve done a data dump I highlight or circle everything that’s important. This ends up being my favorite part because I see how much of that chatter doesn’t even matter and immediately I’m on a path to a better, happier, healthier way. 
 
From there, I prioritize and organize but not in a list. The tasks go into my calendar just like an appointment would. This bypasses the whole under or overestimating the time it will take because it forces me to ask myself how long each item will actually take. Sometimes I’ll have to ask myself further questions such as: if I put down my phone how long will it take or if I get a babysitter how long will it take. This system removes a step (aka making a list) and helps me to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity. Most importantly, it will always leave time for health and fitness (which doesn’t take as much time as you think). 
 
 
Sweat & Smiles, 
 
Melissa
 
Editor's Note: Melissa (Romano) Robbins is the founder of You First a personal training program created because of a strong belief that the greatest investment you can make is in yourself! After graduating from West Virginia Wesleyan College she completed 200+ hours to obtain her Professional Certificate of Personal Fitness Training from Pierpont Community College.  Since 2009 she has worked full-time as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor and wellness coach. She believes in functional fitness, healthy lifestyle changes and a holistic approach to a better, happier life. She was born and raised in Clarksburg and is married to Bridgeport native Alan Robbins, owner of First University baseball facility. Alan and Melissa welcomed their son, Cannon in September 2015. Visit Melissa's Web site at  https://youfirst.fitness/ or email her at melissa@youfirst.fitness.
 


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