I have my own style of time management: wait till the pressure is really on, then sweat and work frantically to meet a deadline.
It’s probably not the method recommended by experts, psychologists, or those people who turn up on TV from time to time telling us how to balance our lives – but it has worked for me for 15 years.
From cramming for school exams, to just barely meeting deadlines at my first job, to getting more relaxed and cruising by until a day or two of intense work to meet a presentation deadline at my next job – right through to now, when I will potter around the house, a silent tick-tock in my head until a deadline really looms. Then it’s all go.
It’s the same with Christmas – all the presents are bought in the week leading up to it; birthdays, mine and other people’s: parties and presents will be planned in the hours leading up to the big day; and even petrol: I always, always wait until the red light is on before bothering to fill up.
I know people who are horrified at this lax attitude, who have things planned weeks in advance, stick rigidly to schedules and panic if they fall even slightly behind.
Who is to say what is better? I don’t know, but I do know that after a recent bout of conscience, I decided to organise my life and work ahead of myself. It was brought on by a TV talking head who said procrastination cost businesses, working under pressure undercut quality of output, and a range of other blah-de-blah things I can’t quite remember, but which sounded suitably scary at the time.
So I drew up a timetable, and decided to work in advance of myself.
Big mistake. Cue hours spent at my desk, gazing into space, feeling vaguely guilty. The result was that not only did my work STILL get done at the last minute, the time I spent sitting at my desk staring into space took away from time with my family, getting caught up on household tasks and correspondence, and drumming up new business.
Verdict? Whatever gets you through the day – we all have methods to our madness, and who are these “experts” to tell us otherwise anyway?