Monday, June 8, 2009

Time Management

(I apologize for the absence of posts lately, but I've been quite busy lately. I'm debating whether or not to write up my observations about demographics at the conference I was just at, but for now, I'll leave you with this.)

I've been finding myself having the same conversations over and over again with people. They generally start with someone (usually a woman, usually a scientist) looking at me incredulously and asking, "how on earth do you have time to do science, raise a family, AND [insert activity here]?" The activity in question has been any number of things, but has included singing, exercising, knitting, and yes, blogging.

After some amount of thought, the only answer I can come up with is: I make the time.

I don't watch much TV. I multi-task. I keep a pretty strict schedule, ruled by my computer's calendar. I delegate to my spouse. Sometimes, I choose to let things slide (like blogging). My life is generally pretty hectic, but if there's something I really want to go out and do, I find the time to squeeze it in.

Part of what keeps me going is a keen sense that life is too short to regret missed opportunities. One of the most important life lessons I've learned is that if there's something you really want to do, you should just go and do it. This applies equally well to having children, choosing what science to do, playing in an orchestra, or doing a triathlon.

I recently had a conversation with someone in my choral group who was mulling over auditioning for a prestigious local chorus, but was worried about the time commitment given her graduate studies. Inevitably, she gave me that incredulous look and asked, "how on earth do you have time to do science, raise a family, AND sing in a choir? I don't see how I'm going to manage, and I don't even have a family!"

I told her, "Look, you don't have kids. You don't have a husband. Now is the time to be going out and doing these kinds of things, because once you do have a family, it be even harder."

I feel like I sound like a Nike commercial or John Keating, but I do think it's really important to seize opportunities as they arise. Figure out what your priorities are in life. Find out what you are passionate about. Make the time to do them. Live your life without regrets.


  1. I find the less things I have to do, the more time I spend working on them for no reason. At first when I get something new on my plate, it's difficult - but then I realize that I do have the time...I was just wasting it before!

    Juggling a few things is great to work up time management skills! I never thought four years ago that I could finish my PhD on schedule while running two outreach programs and not working during evenings or weekends. But, I've become super efficient, and here I am!

    So, I guess the more the better for me :D

  2. Mrs. CH: That's a good point! The more things on my schedule, the more structured my time becomes, and the more efficiently I use it.

    Which isn't to say that I never waste my time anymore. Unstructured time is invaluable, too.