THE MYTH OF TIME MANAGEMENT
Almost every other day I get asked this question, “How do I manage my time better?” and this question is one (I am happy to say) has no generation bias !! From the so called ‘Baby Boomers’ to the ‘Gen X’, ‘Gen Y’ and ‘Gen Zs’.
With the current pressures of professional and personal lives, many people (including me!!) struggle to ‘manage time’ as we move from home to work to gym to school, at times hoping to fit in an interest or two (including sleeping those few more minutes!!)
And this is the most paradoxical statement … we cannot manage time !! Time is fixed and each of us has only 24 hours or 1440 minutes or 86400 seconds every day.
Dhirbhai Ambani, Indra Nooyi, Sachin Tendulkar, Ranvir Singh, Neha Kakkar and WE all have the same amount of time everyday. So how did they get to where they were ?
And what can we manage to utilize our time more effectively ?? We can only manage ourselves !!
Which simply means that the best use of your time depends on the CHOICES you make for using the time you have every day !!
Which brings us to the question … how do I make these choices ? And what can I do differently ?
So here are 4 key things we can do to ‘Manage Ourselves’ and thereby our time better-
Be Very Clear about What you want to accomplish everyday – Your Daily Goals / To Do List / Daily Checklist and finish as per the timeline
Our choices depend on what we want to achieve everyday…. What is important for each of us?
For some of us spending an hour in the morning exercising and meditating is important while for other spending that same hour sleeping is important. Only YOU can decide what is priority and needs to get done that day.
At times, other priorities may hijack your plan. Without getting stressed, take a relook at your goals and rejig it. Which brings us to the second thing TO DO ..
You may feel this contradicts point 1…. The reality is to make the best use of our time, we need to be willing to adapt our schedule and relook our priorities.
In the fast paced, complex and ambiguous VUCA world that we are existing in, what was priority on Monday, may no longer be a priority on Tuesday or even Monday evening.. so if you rigidly stick to your checklist, you might end up spending time on completing unimportant tasks!!
Staying flexible does not mean you change your schedule for every unexpected task that comes your way.. it means when an opportunity knocks your door, or a high-priority matter arises, don’t think twice to re-adjust your schedule.
The most important thing to remember here is to be clear about your most critical priorities and then, if need be, adjust other things accordingly.
The Myth of Multi-Tasking … Focus & Avoid Distractions
Lets accept it, all of us have a lot to get done everyday and at times this can seem a daunting task. At times, even a single task can seem huge and at such times, we tend to jump from one task to another or avoid the huge task and move to others which seem relatively easier.
And not to mention, our love of whats app, FB and Instagram !! All this can make staying focused on one task difficult.
Stick to your discipline .. decide in advance which task you will attend to, by when you will complete it and then keep away your phone to reduce all distractions.
How does this help ??
- Focus enables better output
- The feeling of getting done with one task completely gives you a huge high and motivates you to move forward to the next task
Manage your energy and take care of yourself
Each of us is most productive at particular times of the day… some of us are morning people, some afternoon and some evening.
Identify the time of the day when your energy is high and you are most productive and complete your most important tasks that need extreme focus at such times.
Moreover, to keep yourself energized through the day, take breaks.
Tony Schwartz and James Loehr in their book, ‘Power of Full Engagement’ state that taking breaks every 90 mins. makes us more productive than when we work continuously for 3 – 6 hours.
Lastly, eat a balanced diet, exercise, sleep well and practice mindfulness. All of these activities will boost our mood, concentration, energy levels and in turn enable us to be more productive and manage ourselves and our time better !
Alan Lakein, a well known author on Personal Time Management wrote, “Time=Life” and therefore, waste your time and waste your life OR Master your Time and Master your Life !! So manage yourself and you will find you are more productive than ever before.