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Time In 3D

Posted On - 23/10/2015 08:42:30

Perception IS Reality

Time management is hard.


Well, for a start you can't manage it just what you do in the time you've got. And that's the nub of it: how do you manage yourself?

What do you do to sort out what you do when? Do you take time out during your day to assess what you're doing? Or do you shun that because it's ‘dead-time' and just run at everything as fast as you can in the hope you get it all done?

If you've problems with time you're not alone. But could it be your problems are self-inflicted?

Time isn't the problem

We said this last blog. And we'll keep saying it over and over.

Everything you do you choose to do. Everything you do: you, choose, to, do.

That's right, time doesn't choose how to use you; you choose how you use it. If time presents you a problem it's not at fault – you are.

This isn't an insult: you're not incompetent are you? No but, and this is a big ‘but', are you responsible? Are you holding yourself accountable? Saying you don't have time is a lie. Fess up you do! What you don't have is a sense of what's more important.

Having difficulty managing time? You're not the only one

There is no perfect answer to managing time where everything falls into place. Managing time is a juggling act.

Continuously reprioritising and making trade-offs. Adding to – and not forgetting – everything you need to do as it comes in. The unexpected. Wanting to help, be nice and approachable. Being battered by technology and ‘always-on' communications. And being human – eking out a sense of achievement by doing the things you like and can easily do. And avoiding those you don't and are hard.

Sure, these things make managing time more complicated and even unruly, but they don't make it impossible.


Reality is merely an illusion…

That's right, get interested or immersed in something – or the opposite - and our sense of time distorts…albeit a very persistent one. There's no doubt Albert Einstein was pretty clever. And his quote gets to the heart of things with time.

How it flies when you're having fun and drags when you're not.

That's right, get interested and immersed in something – or the opposite - and our sense of time distorts. And what felt like moments turns out to be an hour or what feels like an hour turns out to be a few minutes.

It's not time that's changed, it's us. And this is another reason why managing time is difficult.

Slave to the rhythm

We can see light and dark; hear noise and silence; feel, taste, smell and so on; but we can't [insert word] time. We don't have a sense for it.

We use other senses to gauge time. The sun in the sky, the post being delivered, different presenters on the radio, the amount of traffic outside – we use all sorts of cues to tell the time, but we can't keep a clear track of it ourselves. Ever wondered why we wear watches and have clocks all over the place?

We're not taught to see, hear or any of our other senses but we are time. While we may have circadian rhythms they don't tell us whether it's one o'clock or three, they're just another cue to gauge what the time is. Yet more reason why time is difficult for us to grasp.

Typically, you're wasting time

This may come as a surprise, maybe not. The average ‘worker' is just 54% productive. That's right, after you strip out all time for breaks just half your time is going towards what you really need to do.

Perhaps you feel you're wasting more, perhaps less. Whichever doesn't matter, what does is the word productive. It carries an assumption – used to govern what counts and what doesn't. Let's face it, you're not sitting there working in bursts and then sitting doing nothing are you? The issue is working on the right things over the wrong. Or, more sensibly, working on what's most significant first. You'll have no hope of managing time at all unless you know your priorities.


Time scarce? Charge more!

If your time is scarce then put your prices upTrying to find more time? If you are don't' bother, you're just wasting it. There are only so many hours in a day – you can't make any more!

But there are other ways of looking at time so you can get more done or at least make what you do worth it.

If you're genuinely maxed out with work and it's not going away, then – shock horror - employ someone. Suddenly, you've twice the time you had before.

Or, if that doesn't appeal put your prices up. That's right; apply the law of supply and demand. If what you do's so good you're ‘sold-out', you're selling it too cheap. Charge more.

Times three

Problems with time aren't straightforward. Because as well as getting the right things done there's the pressure of doing that in the time available and the sense of teetering on the edge of chaos too.

So time management is actually about three things: effectiveness, efficiency and control. And this is what the art of time is about; managing all three at the same time. Difficult? No. Complicated? No. Different? ...

Not if you accept managing time is a task in its own right. And not if you accept you have to make time to manage it.

That's right, managing time is a job in its own right. One you need to get used to doing all day, every day.

The Art of Time

This is the second in a series of blogs on time management. We wrote the series because we hear people complaining about time and experience first-hand others managing their time poorly.

Time management is something that matters and something some could do far better. To follow up on the series and see the others in it, follow these links:

  1. Timed Out
  2. Time in 3D (This blog)
  3. The 7 Behaviours of Productive People - Part 1
  4. The 7 Behaviours of Productive People - Part 2
  5. How to Manage Time
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