Time Management – Past, Present, Future or Now?
Written By: Jacqueline Redmond - Kick Start Your Business Creatively + Mary Hykel Hunt - IQx2 Ltd
“There is so much to do. There is so little time. We must go slowly.” Taoist quote
What do you do on a daily basis to manage your time? This question proved to be the tip of the iceberg when looking at the subject on this recent Neale Horizon course. Fascinatingly various facets opened up, from procrastination, displacing time, being distracted, wasting time, time dyslexia, opening up to time to defining time and experiencing time. Perhaps time is a dynamic process that doesn’t exist in the way we understand, perhaps past, present and future don’t exist either and there is only an ever expanding now! One way of looking at it is to notice,
“When time is spent, it cannot be recaptured. We are not able to buy more or to make it up.”
We all know this – time is a precious commodity, but how do we use it and define it? As adults we use measurements of time – seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks etc, it is an accepted norm, whilst children have no concept of time, they are simply in it. Time it seems is a mutually agreed perception that we use measurements for. However you view it, one thing is clear, time management in business is a necessary and important art and skill.
The accepted understanding of time management is ‘the analysis of how working hours are spent in the prioritisation of tasks that are made in order to maximise efficiency in the work place.’
The famous oracle at Delphi said – ‘Know thyself.’ If we look at prioritising our jobs, it follows that maximising our time means getting to know how we use time and our energy. It makes sense to use our personal and business goals as the focus to prioritise tasks, understand and know how our energy works (are we night or morning people?), to reach our objectives.
Working in a clear environment, not at the kitchen table where Piccadilly Circus can happen, will undoubtedly keep you focussed. Having a clear time frame for tasks and being realistic about what is achievable, are important considerations in assessing time and energy.
Mind maps, yearly wall calendars, diaries for daily and monthly entries, all help us with managing time and are our standard modus operandi. But so does eating frogs! Employ the ‘eat your largest frogs first’ theory. As in do your worst job first, instead of last, stops procrastination and builds momentum and energy. Time magicians understand that slowing time down, opens it up. There is a direct relationship to space and time that allows you to stretch it, creating more time.
High earners clear out tasks that aren’t cash generators. This saves valuable time in non-distracting business activities. Another valuable practice, is to celebrate what you have achieved in daily, weekly and long term goals, because this builds energy and motivation.
An alternative time management viewpoint is learning to manage your energy, not your time. This is a valuable practice. When you have a cold everything is fuzzy, the mind, emotions and body are heavier. It’s harder to work and concentrate. So it figures that being alert, knowing when you are lively and less energetic, knowing when during the day you work better and why, are part of successful time management. The following suggestions are useful ones to consider:
Be self-observant / self-aware – when do you have more energy and when don’t you? What tasks would you assign to these different energy moments?
Once you have done this – start to create your time landscape – energy and time management (click here for your PDF download on how to create a time landscape).
Know when you function best and at what.
Know what stresses you and where you get distracted.
Know how to de-stress.
Observing the above, helps you understand how to use time through managing your energy and not get ‘diarya’ – lost in your diary or avoidance of it. Energy management is taking notice of how you feel, so you diarise according to energy highs and lows, then the diary becomes your friend. If you start to use your diary in this way, time management becomes more effective. You will be utilising self-knowledge to create realistic appointments and tasks, so you remain the business owner, not one of the employees.
Released On 19th Sep 2015