“When your daily activities are in concert with your highest priorities, you have a credible claim to inner peace.” Hyrum W. Smith

Following on from yesterday’s piece on how time management can help you become more productive in terms of what you have to do, let me explain why we get so fed up with work.

It’s because despite all of us (pretty much) seeking a profession that reflects our ideal of what it is we want to do with our lives while earning money, and in doing so finding employment that we hope and expect will reflect our personal values or priorities, work doesn’t conveniently contain only the fun stuff. Nor does it remain in stasis.

Everything changes.

Take my own example. In 1986 I joined a Police Force, and I’d spend my days patrolling the streets, dealing with incidents and arresting bad guys. That’s what I foresaw would take up my time when I joined. Unfortunately, everything I did had to be ‘administered’ so there was paperwork involved, which took up a bit of my time.

Between 1986 and 2000, we became a Police Service, and the fun was slowly eroded away. No more car chases, and over time the 80-20 ratio of ‘policing’ to ‘admin’ reversed. Now, what we do seems to feed the admin product rather than the admin product serving the operational arm.

(For an interesting play on that, read “Parkinson’s Law” by C. Northcote Parkinson.)

Which simultaneously meant that I, like many colleagues (apart from the fluffy, promotion-oriented ones who have socially-engineered policing away from law enforcement into social work), found that our values weren’t being met by our work as much as it was when we started.

I also believe that this applies whether you started in 1980 or 2016 – things change and what you liked as you began your career suddenly gets harder to do.

Is that your experience?

Now, in terms of time management and being able to do the ‘fun’ things I mentioned yesterday, my response was to find something I loved to do and to find every opportunity to do that while also ensuring (through adequate planning, remember) that all the ‘must-dos’ got done either first, or at another, more appropriate moment in my working day.

In my case, my days were spent doing what I had to do by planning appointments and focusing on those actions as appropriate, then spending all the resulting discretionary time on tracing and arresting wanted persons, a field that was being a bit ignored by colleagues where I worked. As a result I learned a lot, became an authority on a specific area, had some fun experiences and wrote a book, one which has developed into an on-line training course. Ker-ching.

I could not have done that if I hadn’t learned how to manage my time. I, like most of my colleagues, would have just floated from call to call, doing things that bored the arse of me (as well as the odd exciting call).

When I was doing ‘my’ thing, life was good. And knowing I could do the fun things meant that while I was doing the dull stuff, I still had something to look forward to.

Anticipation motivates.

To recap, then: skilled time management allows for everything to be done that needs to be done, which then creates more discretionary time for you to do the things that serve your personal values, and therefore your sense of purpose – and inner peace.

Go buy a book. (Doesn’t HAVE to be one of mine but it helps……..)