Using Time Management to Strengthen Your Values

I just finished up the summer class for the Teaching the Seeing My Time Program. I love teaching this course and I’m always a little sad when it is over. Such wonderful people gather together to learn how to help those with executive functioning challenges.This particular group was full of deep thinkers. They asked some great questions.

One of those questions that stands out in my mind has rarely been asked: “How does this program, with it’s emphasis on time management, connect to values?”  Ooo, when I heard that question I immediately took a departure from the lesson plan. I fear that I may have blurted out that time management has EVERYTHING to do with one’s values!

For me, time management is all about being able to live a life aligned with my values. Ever since my parents died too young, I knew that I was only going to get a limited number of heartbeats on this Earth. Each breath is a gift, and I’m determined to use this gift consciously. I accept the fact that time doesn’t stretch, so I use my time tools to help me find the space of time for the things that matter the most to me, which are primarily my family and my work to help others.

To be honest, it would be so easy for me to let work take over my life. I love my work. I pour my energy into my clients, my students and the creative process of developing materials and programs. But my work doesn’t come first. My family does. It always has.

For me, time with my family is all about creating positive memories together, because – in the end – all we really have is our memories of the people we love.

So as I plan my week, I am planning space in time for my family. On Sundays I go all out cooking and baking for a dinner with my husband, my son and his wife. Critiquing new recipes is fun for us. We share stories of the ups and downs of our previous week. In the evenings I often walk around the neighborhood holding hands with my husband of thirty-four years. I read aloud to him before we go to bed. I plan visits with my extended family who don’t live in Oregon. I even have the joy of planning trips with my adult children.

My daughter was recently home for a visit. We packed in some incredible memories: hiking, preparing great meals with family and friends, berry picking and producing thirty-four jars of jam!

I didn’t get much work done while she was here. On her last Saturday I was expecting her to go downtown to Powell’s, our awesome bookstore. I confess I was looking forward to some time on my computer to work on a project for a class I am teaching. At the last minute she changed her mind. “Mama, what I really want to do before I leave Portland, is to go to the rose garden with you.”

For a split second in my brain I heard, “…but…”  And out of my mouth came, “Sure. Let’s go.”  So we drove over the hill to the Portland Rose Garden that has some 7,000 roses. We wandered through it, like we have done many times before, sticking our noses in roses. We are always hunting for the rare rose that smells like a rose. And when we find one, like this time, one that smelled good enough to eat, we have created a wonderful memory of being together. My third truth of time, from my Seeing My Time program, is never far from my mind: “How you use your time, equals your life.”

May your summer’s time management align with your values. Happy memory making.


Katie and I at the Rose Garden

About the Author Marydee Sklar

Marydee Sklar is the president of Executive Functioning Success and the creator of the Seeing My Time Program® and the Set Up Success and Seeing My Time® planners. She is an educator and author of three books on executive functions, as well as a trainer and speaker. Marydee has more than twenty-five years of experience working with students and adults with executive function challenges.

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