How Do You Use Your 24 Hours a Day?
I’m going to let you into a secret. We all have exactly the same number of hours in day – 24. And what’s more, we can’t actually control time. It’s all about our own personal effectiveness and how we make use of the time that we have.
There’s nothing new about the fact that we seem to have less and less time. The more work you do, the more work comes your way. With e-mail, the internet, mobile phones and tablets, we’re never out of touch, with increasing demands for our time. Most approaches for time management focus on techniques to manage activities. Here is how to review your use of time from three very different perspectives.
1. What’s the Purpose?
It’s easy to allow work to fill your time, regardless of whether or not it’s aligned with your goals. Take some time to step back and look at what you’re currently doing and match it to the purpose of your business and against your own goals and values. If you find yourself doing things that don’t actually help you to achieve your goals, should you really be doing them? If you don’t have a clear, compelling vision and purpose for your business and for yourself, then creating one should be your top priority. If an activity doesn’t help you to reach a goal, what’s the point of doing it?
2. What’s the Hidden Driver?
There is always a reason that drives what you do. This is even true for activities that aren’t aligned with your goals. In this case the motivating force, the ‘driver’, is usually hidden. Often we don’t look at the motivations behind what we do, usually because it’s not comfortable to admit to doing something that you probably shouldn’t be doing! Do you find yourself answering e-mails after normal working hours, holding long conversations when short ones would do, doing something yourself rather than delegating it? If so, take the time to look at what’s driving you to do these things. And then challenge yourself to stop doing them!
3. Most Traditional Time Management Approaches are no Longer Relevant
Any time management approach that was developed before the age of mobile phones and the internet is fundamentally flawed. The flaw is that they pre-suppose that you will get everything done!
These days, the more you complete and the more you communicate with people, the more work you create. You finish writing a newsletter and send it off to be checked, thinking it can be ticked off your list; but the edited version then comes back for final review and you have yet another thing to add to your ‘to do’ list.
Approaches to time management need to address this fact, and work in an age where you will never get everything on your list done. Successful training approaches not only introduce new support structures tailored for the internet age, but also challenge us to expose and let go of our outdated beliefs about what it is possible to achieve.