Time to Process


We have the best of intentions: We mean to deal with all the “Stuff” that comes into our lives. But what happens to our good intentions?

Most likely, we don’t allow time, so other “urgent” things take up our flexibility. Then we have to deal with a crisis or a mess.

How can we avoid that syndrome?  We need to be realistic and allow time for the important things. We mean to go through the mail, memos and other things that have been living in our Inbox, but never seem to get around to it (I knew a man who had a disc on his desk labeled “Round Tuit.” He thought if he finally got “a-round to it” his desk would be organized. Amusing, but it didn’t work.)

We need to allow time to do the things that make a difference in our lives—to process. They are usually “little things.” We set ourselves up for frustration and problems if we don’t allow time to process.

  • Time after a meeting to review notes, decide on action steps, enter business cards in
    our contact management system, etc.
  • Time after a trip to get unpacked, sort through the mail, get fresh groceries, get readjusted to our time zone, do laundry, etc. so we don’t feel scattered or behind
  • Time to process the mail, ideally daily. We may not take care of it all, but at least it will be sorted, and much thrown away, preventing “overwhelm.”
  • Time to process e-mail, ideally daily —and empty the Inbox!
  • Time to plan, daily, weekly, and monthly, integrating those good ideas you intended to implement from the last seminar you attended
  • Time to pay bills. Online bill pay and automated payments trim this job to the minimum, but we still need to think and plan.
  • Time to read those books, papers and magazines that are piling up on the coffee table—and you’re really interested in them!

They all take time, and if you won’t be happy unless they’re done, you’ll want to block out time in your day and week, because it won’t “just happen.” Do yourself a favor and allow for the things that are important to you—or let them go as not worthy of your precious time.

Less is more. What can you eliminate that is less important than being on top of the vital areas of your life? Schedule fewer activities and have Time to Process what’s really important to you.