The Time Management Centerboard
This past summer, I learned to sail. Now, anyone who went to summer camp for a week has probably spent a few hours in a sunfish, tacking around a pond somewhere. This allows the camp to include “…and your child will learn to sail!” in its brochure and justify the “Are you kidding me?” cost.
What I am talking about here is Sailing with a capital “S”—out on the ocean in a range of conditions that went from “Are you kidding me?” beautiful to “Your kidding me!” violent (which is just one step down from “MOMMY!!!” violent).
Sailing itself, while detail oriented, is easy. There is preparation and planning. There’s launch. And there’s execution. What occurred to me as I was splashing through Duxbury Bay in my Marshall 15 is that my sailboat goes where the wind pushes it, but the direction is determined mostly by the tiller and the centerboard.
The whole experience is a great metaphor for time management. Let me ’splain, Lucy…
In order to effectively manage your time (sail your boat), you need to be prepared. You must rig your craft and chart a course by determining what the day will bring.
Next, you must prioritize your activities by thinking about what is most important as you sail from one point to the next, skillfully turning your craft using your tiller to control the direction your day will take.
All the while, your organization (or lack thereof) is acting like a centerboard. It prevents you from being blown all over the ocean and becoming scattered and lost. And to make matters worse, the vibrations of the day’s events can act to push that centerboard up and reduce your effectiveness. Even the best laid plans need constant monitoring in order to keep that centerboard moving your boat in its desired direction.