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By Jamie Jackson Spannhake
It may seem obvious why time management is important, but sometimes it makes sense to be really explicit about why it matters and who benefits from time management. The most important benefit is to yourself. Good time management allows us to make ourselves important to ourselves. By that I mean, you have the time to take care of yourself. When you are cared for – mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually – you are better able to take care of others, do good work, and live a more enjoyable life. This means that not only you benefit, but everyone around you benefits from your effective time management skills.
But why is it important to be important to yourself?
You become more balanced.
When you focus on yourself, and take care of yourself, you become more balanced. When you are more balanced, you are better – a better leader, a better friend, a better parent, a better spouse, a better you. Here are ways to focus on you that can make you more balanced:
- get regular exercise: a walk, run, or workout
- maintain a mindfulness practice: meditation, yoga, or just being present in the moment
- eat healthy meals: focus on quality and quantity
- stay hydrated
- take time for downtime, to relax, to have fun
- keep up with your social relationships
It creates respect.
Not just self-respect but respect for others. Respect comes from a realization that a person has her own desires and needs. When you make everyone and everything more important than yourself, you are sending a message to others — and to yourself — that you are not important. People around you may never develop respect for you if you don’t show them that you respect yourself and your time.
It’s important to your health.
Your health and relationships also depend on you taking care of you. If you aren’t healthy, you won’t be able to help anyone else. As they say, without your health, nothing else matters. If we want to be here for the people we care about, then we must take care of ourselves.
It’s central to your happiness.
If you are unhappy because you never take the time to rejuvenate, you may not be able to focus your attention on your loved ones when you are with them. You may miss out on important moments even though you are physically present because you may be emotionally and intellectually spent and unable to really be present for them. This leads to us feeling bad about our relationships and the way we are handling them. It makes us feel like no matter where we are, we need to be somewhere else. It feels as if we are never doing enough or giving enough.
This is why time management is important.
So you may be asking:
“How do I find time for myself? What time management skills can I use?”
The skills that you can rely upon are what I call “soft” time management skills. They are the skills underlying good time management. It starts with thinking about what is important to us. It starts with understanding what you want in your life. It starts with considering who benefits from time management.
Here are four ways you can use effective time management skills to figure out what you need.
- Think about your hopes and aspirations.
If things have gotten really out of balance for you, you may not even remember what it is that you enjoy! If so, take 10-15 minutes to think about what you enjoyed in the past – maybe all the way back to when you were a child – and what you think about doing when you really want to “get away.” Think about all the things you say you’d do if you had more time. Those may be the things that would be great to fill you up emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
- Set a personal goal.
If you are goal oriented (I am), set a personal goal. It could be training for a half-marathon or a 5k. It could be planning a weekend getaway, or even just an afternoon off-work, just for yourself. It could be planting a herb garden on your balcony or deck, or even a little hydroponic countertop indoor garden. Maybe achieving health and fitness goals is something that makes you happy. You could enroll in an online yoga class, or join a running club, or use an app to start a regular exercise regime. Whatever it is that works for you, do that!
- Set aside time for yourself each week.
It could be anywhere from a day to an hour that you set aside for yourself every week. Schedule it into your calendar and don’t disappoint yourself by not showing up for yourself at the scheduled time. When the time comes, you can decide what you will do for yourself. Or you can plan it ahead of time by making an appointment of some kind. Maybe you’ll take a long lunch one day and go for a walk, read a book, or enjoy a delicious coffee or tea out in nature. Or maybe you’d like to go shopping for something you really want. Or perhaps a manicure or massage could be the thing that makes you feel important to yourself.
- Make it a habit.
Make taking time for you a habit. Remember, you are important and the time you take to take care of yourself will benefit not only you, but everyone and everything around you.
Get this in a free printable (along with 3 other infographics) to remind yourself why time management is important: because it gives you time to take care of yourself; and who benefits from time management: It’s you and everyone you care about.