7/24/18

How to become the Master of your time

My father in law is trying to turn on the lamp above the stove. When he finally sees the switch, he sees it's broken. We haven't turned on the lamp for weeks.
He turns to my husband and exclaims:
Maar, dat kun je zo doen - het is en klusje van niks!
You can fix that easily - it is a mini task!
My husband and I look at each other.  We are sitting at the kitchen table with our three kids running around the house, playing. We both work full time and live in a house that is more than 100 years old. A house that needs some tender love and care. My husband turns to his father as he wearily says:
Dat weet ik. Het problem is dat er zijn honderden klusjes van niks. 
I know, the problem is that there are hundreds of mini tasks. 

I am sure you have them too. The small tasks that need to be done. Fix that broken lamp, sew that button that fell off, glue the toy your kid just broke, exchange the battery in the watch, put that framed photo on the wall...



Hundreds of mini tasks that take no time at all to do. Or at least, that's what we think. Until we start fixing the lamp and notice that we need tools to take off the lamp shade. And since we have not used these tools for some time we need to go and find them. And then we notice that we do not have a spare bulb of that type at home. And when we go shopping we forget to buy one. And then we forget it again. The third time we remember to buy a bulb and it turns out to be the wrong kind.
Suddenly the mini task is no longer mini.

Our first way of managing the hundred mini tasks, was by creating a "klusjes van niks list". In the beginning this helped us. Instead of remembering all these small things we wanted to fix, we had them on the list. Whenever we fixed one or two of them we would tick them off and be happy about it.



But after a while we saw that even if we ticked things off, new entries came into the list all the time. It was growing rather than shrinking.

So we decided to make another change. We introduced "klusjes van niks dagen". Days when we fix all these small little things. During these fixing days, we take care of all small things at once. Putting up 3 framed photos on the wall in one go, goes a lot faster than doing them one by one. The same goes for repairing clothes or lamps and most other things. And now that we have a system in place, we never feel the pressure of having a lot of things "we should fix". We know that we will fix whatever needs fixing, within a month.

So - did I just give you the secret to mastering your time? Doing things in batches and plan time do do them?

Sorry, it takes more than that to be a Master of your time.

Some things are great to do in batches.
Some are not.

Some things are great to do daily, others are better to do weekly.
Some things are well suited to be done monthly, others quarterly.

And a whole lot of things should simply be done NOW.

So how do you know which is the best way for what task?

By trying it out.

Experimenting, failing, learning and doing it again. Until you find your way. 

That's how you become a Master of your time.

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