Happy Birthday Time Diet!

In lieu of cake on The Time Diet’s 1st Birthday, I present to you five of my favorite “Desserts” that keep my day balanced when I have a ton of work to do. Remember: even those of us with the best time management skills can’t work 24/7 without burning out. That’s why maintaining a balanced diet of: Meats (difficult tasks) Vegetables (easier tasks) and Desserts (enjoyable things) is so important.

My Favorite Time Management Desserts

1) Playing with my dog

When I get home from work, one of the first things I do is spend five or ten minutes playing with my dog Maggie. A dog can’t talk. A dog can’t tell you you’re not working hard enough or doing a good enough job. A dog just gives you unconditional love whenever you need it. If you don’t have a dog (or a cat I suppose…), I recommend getting one. Today.



2) Grabbing a Coffee

When I sense myself coming close to hitting a wall with my work, I head for the nearest Starbucks for a coffee (a tall, non-fat, light whip, Java Chip Frappuccino, add banana to be exact!) I don’t know whether it is the extra jolt of caffeine or the delicious chocolate drizzle on top, but something about sitting for a few minutes and sipping on my Frappuccino tells me that everything is going to be OK. I know you have a treat that makes you feel like that too.

3) Listening to My Favorite Song

When you need a “time out” from work, make sure your favorite song is never far away. Today’s gadget culture makes it easy to have your favorite music in your pocket at all times. Never underestimate the effect it can have on your mood and stress level. For me, my “let’s do this!” song is Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” and my “escape from the world” song is the second movement of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concert No. 2. Listening to either one on my 10-minute drive between schools instantly improves my day.

4) Yoga Class

I am not a fitness guru. In fact, despite the fact that I am 6 feet tall, I was never really good at basketball or any other sport. However, I joined a gym so I can take a yoga class. I enjoy it, it relaxes me and I feel like I can conquer anything when I’m done. I can’t find time to do it every week, but when I do, I’m happy. Find the physical activity that makes you feel that way and make time for it whenever possible.

5) Watching “The Office”

I’m usually not one to promote watching TV extensively, but everybody needs that one show that guarantees a laugh. For me, it’s “The Office.” My husband and I like to watch it together, because the only thing more fun than laughing is laughing with another person. When I’m stressed about work or school, watching Michael Scott butcher common phrases and social norms makes me forget about the pile of work waiting for me tomorrow.

Do you have a favorite Dessert I didn’t list here? Leave it as a comment! I’d love to know.

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Just Keep Swimming

This week, I was reminded of one of my favorite motivational time management quotes. It was spoken by none other than Dory, the blue fish in Disney’s well-known time management film, “Finding Nemo.

What? You didn’t know “Finding Nemo” was a film about time management? OK, well, maybe not entirely, but whether or not Disney intended it this way, there are many embedded lessons about dedication and time/stress management.

Time Management in the Ocean

The main character, Marlin, loses his son and sets off on a mission to find him. He is extremely dedicated to his quest, but is becoming overwhelmed by his stress and desperation. That’s when is travel companion, a blue fish named Dory, utters her famous line:

“Just Keep Swimming.”

Basically, stop using your precious time and energy to worry about everything and just calmly keep moving forward. Variations of this advice are everywhere, from the famous quote: “The longest journey begins with a single step,” to my own story about the two cows grazing in a field. Dory’s idea is far from new, but her words are unique in their simplicity. Just….keep…swimming.

We’ve All Been Marlin

Haven’t we all been there before? Wanting to bury our head in our hands after becoming lost in a seemingly endless ocean of stressful work? Stress is a natural part of life and we are all going to feel it from time to time, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do everything in our power to get rid of it as soon as possible so it doesn’t slow us down.

Here are three simple ways you can keep from becoming overwhelmed with your work:

1) Think of it in smaller chunks

As you sit down to begin a large “Meat” task in your Time Diet, don’t think of it as one big project. Think of it only in terms of what you plan to accomplish that day.

2) Take a break before you need it

We all know how important Desserts are in your day. Don’t wait until you hit a wall with your work to give yourself a break. By then, it’s too late and you’re already stressed.

3) Write down your timeline

Plotting out which parts of a task you plan to complete when can be very reassuring. Then, when you catch yourself muttering, “How in the world will I ever get this all done?” you need only look at your calendar to answer your question.

This week, do not let stress overwhelm you and slow you down. Keep moving forward. Your friends, your family, and maybe even this blog can serve as a life preserver when you feel like you’re drowning, but YOU have the power to “just keep swimming.”

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Photo Credit: Copyright Benson Kua.