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I am the master of my destiny; I am the captain of my soul” (William Henley).

Have you reached the end of a day, week, month, or an entire year, and wondered where did the time go? As one of one my wise friends aptly stated, “life goes by like a role of toilet paper.” If we are not mindful and proactive in the way we spend (and in the way we plan to spend) our allotted time, we may reach the end of our lifetimes with “the music still in us.” The question then becomes the following: how to reach our full potential while fully utilizing our gifts?

You have probably heard of Weight Watchers initiative to make clients more aware of their food intake by make a log of everything they eat during a day. Through conscious tracking, participants learn ways in which they may be unconsciously sabotaging themselves. Similarly, we can track the manner in which we spend our time throughout the day. Julie Morgenstern provides a template, or time map helps individuals to keep track of how they spend their time, and through analysis to catch areas in which they procrastinate. 

We can eliminate the time wasters of daydreaming, distraction, procrastination, passive aggressive behavior and negative thought by increasing our personal harmony. Domar and Dreher (2000, p. 193) provide an example of cognitive restructuring associated with relaxation:

Thought: “If I take too much time to chill out, I’ll never get my work done and fully succeed in my career.”

Restructuring: “If I don’t get enough down time, I will eventually succumb to the law of diminishing returns and burn out before my time. Also, in forcing exclusively on work, I often lose sight of other aspects of life that need tending – my body, relationships, spiritual growth, helping others, unadulterated play. I owe it to myself to cultivate more balance.” 

The authors explain that the purpose of cognitive restructuring is to: Tell yourself the truth about your work-related stressors;

  • Reject self-negating thoughts;
  • Acknowledge your mistakes and imperfections with loving kindness; and
  • Initiate needed changes through assertive action and communication.

While we think of organization as a reshuffling of our personal belongings, as a recurrent act which (if repeated) will create a harmonious external environment, the real work of organizing actually begins within our minds. We are the magistrates of our mental empires and the creators of our future plans.



Domar, A. & Dreher, H. (2000). Self-nurture: Learning to care for yourself as effectively as you care for everyone else. New York: Penguin Books.

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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