The Kings and Time Management
In addition to playing important roles in readings, the court cards can help us learn about ourselves, show us how to shine our brightest, and clue us into weaknesses that might, if unchecked, get in the way of our happiness or success.
As a freelance writer juggling many projects, I’m often asked about time management skills. And sure, I can say how I do things, but my way isn’t the only way. It works for me because it highlights my strengths and helps minimize my weaknesses. Some of my Facebook friends suggested that it might be fun (and useful) to explore various time management tactics through the court cards…and I agree.
So let’s imagine how the Kings might manage their time. I picked the Kings because they are usually seen as mature and successful, so they have experience and have proven they can get things done. Most of you know that although you may identify with one suit more than others, we are complex, so you may find it better to blend a few of the Kings’ methods to come up with a plan that works for you. I consider myself as a Swords/Pentacles King-blend.
These are my ideas…what are yours?
Images from the Tarot of the Hidden Realm by Julia Jeffrey.
Tips from the King of Swords
- Schedule everything and do what is on your schedule.
- The King of Swords prefers to do one thing at a time. Multi-tasking is not his style. Do the thing, do it well, and move on to the next. Keep everything clear and concise. It’s easier to think about and do one thing at a time.
- Make lists: Yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily.
- At the end of the workday, make the list for the next day, so you can enjoy your down time without worrying about forgetting anything.
- At the end of the week, make the list for the next week and go enjoy your weekend.
- At the end of the month, look at the month ahead. Make sure to schedule some “blank” time to allow for unexpected opportunities or emergences.
- Schedule tasks for specific times and don’t fret or worry about them outside of that time. Be careful of letting incoming requests interrupt your scheduled workflow (unless it is really an emergency, in which case, adjust your schedule before moving on). When a new task comes in, immediately schedule a time for it and make a tickler to remind you. Now you don’t have to think about it until then.
- Group tasks in ways that make sense. It is quicker to record a week’s worth of receipts than to record each one as it comes in. But don’t let them pile up too much or it’ll become overwhelming and unwieldy.
- Clutter is distracting for the King of Swords. Keep your inbox as clean as you, creating folders for like items or individual projects (making sure you have scheduled them in your calendar first. Don’t keep everything in the “inbox” thinking “it will remind you to do it later.”
- Always, always cross things off when accomplished. The feeling of crossing things off is so fulfilling.
Weakness check: All of this list making and scheduling can make for a dull and rigid existence. Schedule time for spontaneity. I’m not kidding.
How does the King of Swords measures success: that satisfied feeling that everything was done well and the list is completely crossed off.
Tips from the King of Pentacles
- Time is a resource, and a precious one. Make sure you spend it wisely.
- Prioritize. Look at everything that needs or wants doing. What is the most important? What is expendable? Do the most important things first. Make sure to include downtime, family time, fun time…and sleep!…on that list.
- Make efficient use of your resources and don’t reinvent the wheel. When looking at new tasks, think about what can be recycled (in a useful and creative way) from past taks.
- What is going to get you the most return for your effort (whether that return is money, enjoyment, health/wellness, etc.)? Focus on those items.
- When looking at generic “things that need doing,” consider the most effective way to achieve that thing. For example, for exercise they say interval training is effective, bringing both strength and aerobic training together to create a good workout in a short amount of time. On the other hand, if “enjoy the last sunny days before winter comes” is also on the list, going for a long walk or jog or bike ride would be a way to combine both exercise and the “enjoy the outdoors.”
- Learn to say “no.” Because your time and energy precious, only accept projects, opportunities, or invitations that bring something into your life that is of value to you. For example, if you earn your living by writing, doing a writing job for free isn’t worth it…unless it gets your name in front of a new and viable group of clients. An invitation to lunch with an acquaintance that you would accept only out of obligation or wanting to avoid any awkwardness by declining takes several hours out of your day. Is avoiding a fleeting feeling of guilt or awkwardness worth taking two hours out of the middle of your day?
- Think of your time as money and budget accordingly. Spend your time only on what is valuable to you.
Weakness check: Keeping your eye on the bottom line might cause you to miss some of the smaller pleasures of life, or unexpected pleasures. Once a week, once a month, whatever works for you, indulge in something completely frivolous.
How does the King of Pentacles measures success: that satisfied feeling that you got more out of your day than you put into it.
Tips from the King of Wands
- The King of Wands is the King of Multitasking! For him, passion and some level of chaos creates more energy and somehow stuff manages to get done.
- Plan your day by picking one or two larger projects to be your focus and build in enough time to go from the main project to smaller ones throughout the time block. For example, writing a chapter in a book as a morning task, but in between sections or paragraphs, check email or make phone calls.
- Start your day by doing the tasks or projects that excite you the most.
- The King of Wands is great at idea generating but realizes that follow through is not necessarily his strong point. In that case, team up with someone who can share the vision and is willing to join in on the project.
- Passion is important but passion can lag during a long process. At the planning stage, break the task into smaller pieces. Make sure that each section has something to stir excitement. At the end of each segment, celebrate the finishing and start savoring the next juicy step.
- If you have tasks that need to be done but you don’t want to do them, promise yourself that you can do a fun task afterward as a reward.
- The King of Wands is driven by an inner fire. Learn when that fire burns brightest and do creative brainstorming, storyboarding, dreaming during those hours. When the fire is lower and easier to focus is the best time to work on more mundane, detail oriented, or necessary but not thrilling tasks.
- Your brain and creativity are not a calendar or a clock. If you don’t have to keep to office hours, do your work when and where you feel inspired. Don’t worry about the “working hours” of the Kings of Swords and Pentacles. They are doing what works for them, so you do what works for you.
- Keep a notebook or sketchpad handy to jot down ideas that come to you and may distract you from the task at hand. Promise yourself you will give yourself time to explore the idea after you finish this task.
- Make a list of things that you must do but might not want to do. Set a timer and do as many as you can in a very intensely focused 15-minute chunk. Do this twice a day or as needed. Always give yourself a reward of a fun task for every 15-minute success.
Weakness check: Your creativity and passion burn bright and strong, but can get out of control. Find ways to build some structure into your day…not enough to kill the fire, just to keep it contained. At least buy a calendar and try to look at it once in a while.
How does the King of Wands measures success: that satisfied feeling of your passion manifesting in very real and very wonderful ways, not just swirling around in brain.
Tips from the King of Cups
- For the King of Cups, To Do Lists and tight schedules go against the grain. Although most lives require some scheduling, this King, like the King of Wands, finds ways to shine his personal style of doing things within the confines of a schedule.
- Being driven by feeling more than anything else, having a strict daily schedule is not the best option. In fact, step back to the bigger picture, the yearly calendar. If you know that you are more energetic during the spring and summer and tend to be more reflective during the winter, plan your larger projects accordingly. For example, do research in the winter and writing in the summer.
- At the beginning of each week, look at what needs to be done and group those items by both priority and the feeling that you associate with them, such as mundane tasks (housecleaning), extrovert tasks (phone calls, lunches, meetings), creative tasks, and analytical tasks. Then each day that week, assess what you are feeling and do the tasks that suit that mood.
- Scheduling is not your favorite thing, but pretty things are…so invest in organizational tools that are attractive and that you’ll want to use, ones that have creativity activities built into. So instead of a regular calendar or To Do List that you just write things in, maybe get a huge white board and draw a calendar on it each month or create lists on. Let yourself draw images and use colors as you complete tasks.
- How you feel affects how you work. Have a cover sheet or just a little space on your To Do List where you can write down how you feel going into a task. When you are done, as you cross it off, write down how you feel when you are finished. No need to analyze, if you don’t want to…just take time to acknowledge your feelings, although it may be interesting to note, especially if you go in feeling hesitant or lacking in confidence and finish by feeling satisfied or proud.
- At the end of the day, tidy your workspace. You are attracted by fine things and attractive settings, so keep your space inviting so you want to spend time there.
Weakness check: Daydreaming can eat up more time than you can afford. If you find yourself daydreaming or becoming distracted, set your timer for 5 minutes, give yourself that time to think about whatever, and get back to the task at hand. Promise yourself another 5 when you finish.
How does the King of Cups measures success: that satisfied feeling after flowing through a day with grace and gentleness while accomplishing what is necessary.