I think when it comes to time management there are two types of people; firefighters and farmers. The firefighter takes care of things as they come up, trying to quickly extinguish and then moves on to the next fire. The farmer plants and tends his crops. Making sure that they have enough water and fertilizer and are well cared for.
For me I vacillate between the two roles depending on what is going on in my life. When I left my previous company I left my firefighting tools behind. I gladly embraced the life of a farmer. I have one child left at home and I am going to savor his senior year in high school. I began saying “yes” to more activities in our community.
But as all farmers know, you don’t have control over certain things. I found that I was quickly thrown back into my role of firefighter despite my best attempts to stay a farmer.
This week I had my week all planned, even my workouts. But then life threw me a curve ball and I quickly was thrust back into my role as a firefighter.
What I found was I did not miss my time as a firefighter. I lost my ability to easily roll with change. My patience was at an all-time low. I was quickly irritated. I found myself waiting to pick up my son at school and when he didn’t immediately come out I was angry. Who was this person? All I know is I didn’t like her.
My husband and I discussed the differences. I think when you are in the role of firefighter you are so busy focused on the current fire that your attention is very focused on the task at hand. You don’t have time to worry about the other things that are going on.
If you find yourself in firefighting mode here are a few key things to focus on so you can be the best firefighter possible:
- Concentrate on the big things. You may need to put aside some of the minor things in life. You will need to say no to some obligations. You will need to be hyper focused on your time that you have and use it wisely.
- Stay hydrated and well nourished. Now is not the time to ignore fueling your body. You need to be smart with what you put in your mouth. I find myself too tired and I grab things that are quick and easy. Just know that there are convenience foods that are healthy. Grab those. And remember to drink plenty of water and stay away from sugary beverages.
- Stay active. Keep your body moving and don’t spend hours at a desk. Take your lunch hour and go for a walk. See if you can have some walking meetings. Just 30 minutes of brisk walking will help when you are in firefighter mode.
- Focus on quality sleep. Turn off electronics and distractions at night. I have an evening setting on my phone where the screen is not as bright and it has more yellow tones to it. You can program your phone to only allow phone calls from certain people to come through during the evening hours.
- Start your morning with a few minutes of quiet. Say a prayer, meditate or give thanks. Just taking a few minutes really will help you start your day on the right foot.
- Delegate the non-essentials. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Now is not the time to be afraid to reach out for assistance. You don’t need to do it all and now is not the time to be a martyr.
- Plan your next day the night before. Do as much planning as you can. Go to bed knowing that you are prepared as you can be.
If you are like me and find yourself reluctantly in the role of firefighter, it is important to keep the above things in mind. I know I am anxious to return to my role of farmer, but in the meantime I will be the best firefighter I can be!
To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,
Melissa’s e-book on Kitchen Organizing can be found on Amazon.