Time Management – A Myth.
Has anyone ever told you about time management, and how important it is in today’s hectic world?
In the corporate sector, time management is a big thing. I have delivered time management courses in corporate workplaces.
The first thing that I say in my time management courses is this – time cannot be managed. You can only manage how you spend your time.
Please think about this – time will tick away, one second at a time for you, for me, and for anyone else for that matter. In other words, you cannot manage how time will tick away.
You may have heard of the old adage – “Time and tide wait for no one”.
Well, you and I are not exempt from that quote.
I remember Tony Robbins saying something along the lines of – “The only equal opportunity that we have is time. We all have 24 hours in a day. It doesn’t matter where you live, who you are, or what you look like, time has been given to you at 24 hours a day”.
How true is that statement?
So, how can you manage what you do with your time?
Here are a few tips:
1. Be organised – As simple as this may sound, being organised is a very effective tool in being productive. Do you know what you will do for the day, at the start of that day? One strategy that I suggest in my corporate training course is to think calmly when organising your day or week. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, count to three, and then start organising yourself. Being calm will allow you to think straight. When you think straight, you will have more clarity. And, clarity enhances productivity.
2. Learn to say “No” – In a previous article I mentioned that saying “No” to others can be a very liberating experience. I once read somewhere “Saying “No” to other people is saying “Yes” to yourself. That is very true indeed. When you say “No” to someone with a genuine reason for saying “No”, you should expect yourself to be at peace with that decision. Now, we cannot control how others will feel or react or respond. All we can do is be diplomatic and give them a reason as to why you are saying “No”. If you are too busy pleasing others, you will never be able to please yourself.
3. Overcome procrastination – By procrastinating, you will do two things. First, you will have mental baggage that will keep reminding you that you have to get something done. Second, when you eventually get around to doing what you had been putting off, chances are you will be in a rush to do it. When you rush to get things done, they might not turn out the way you wanted them to. Procrastination is the killer of dreams. Kill it before it kills your dreams. The best way to do that is to just get going and doing what has to be done (no excuses, no delays, and no waiting).
4. Technology free time – In an article in Forbes, Natalie Sisson says that at times we should turn off the internet. My approach is very similar to that. On Sundays, I observe a technology free zone. No internet time at all on Sundays for me. Unless it is an emergency, I will not log on using my phone or my laptop. Please be honest in answering this question – have you ever mindlessly surfed the net? Most people will respond with a resounding “Yes”. Create yourself a technology free zone, and use that time on things that are more important.
5. Move – Once again, as simple as this may sound, move your body. Human beings are healthier and happier (in general) when their bodies are moving more. As Tony Robbins says “Physiology creates psychology” and “Motion creates emotion”. I have found this to be the case time and time again – when people with desk jobs get up and move for a few minutes, they are more likely to be productive. When I was in my early 20’s, and working for a major financial institution, things were super hectic towards the end of the financial year. I used to get up, go to the top floor of the building (it was only a six storey building), and do stretching and deep breathing for a few minutes in the balcony. At times, I even did shadow boxing. I would come back to my desk feeling energetic and productive. So, if you start feeling sluggish, get up and move. Being productive equates to using your time better.
6. Avoid unimportant phone calls – I have a golden rule that I never break. If my mobile phone rings while I am eating, I will not take that call. My belief is that food is to be respected. So, I won’t take any phone calls while I am eating. There is something else that I do not do. I will not take phone calls from hidden numbers or private numbers after hours. If it is an important phone call, they will leave a message. My suggestion to you is to screen your calls and then decide if it is important or not.
7. Give back to society – Yes, you might not have expected this one! Conventional time management wisdom may tell you that giving back to society will not help you in using your time better. What I have found is that when we fit in giving back into our hectic schedules, we become more fulfilled. Now, my belief is that fulfilment breeds productivity, not complacency. Whether you are a CEO or a housewife, once you start giving back to society, your sense of purpose gets stronger. When your sense of purpose gets stronger, you are more likely to be wiser with using your time. When I was doing Executive Coaching for CEOs and MDs, each and every one of them mentioned that doing volunteer work for their chosen cause strengthened their commitment to themselves. When you are committed to yourself, you will use your time wisely!
Quote: “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”
I hope I have given you a simple insight into productively using your time.
Inspiring you towards your excellence,
Ron Prasad (Author, Speaker, Personal/Professional Development Coach)
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