Salvador Dali; persistence of time
Time is not always the same, time is not linear: When you are totally stressed out, time shrinks and no matter how you run, you never catch up. When you are relaxed, on the other hand, time stretches and no matter how leisurely you move, you are always ahead. This is actually true, and we have all experienced that. Most of the time that we lose is in the “cracks” of our schedules, between the actions; going places or by “saving” time. Read Michael Endes book “Momo” – in it the “time-savers” are hassling everybody to save time in their bank, their idea catches on and before you know it nobody is playing, singing, making love or just hanging out, because they are saving this time for the future…
If you seem to always run out of time, always be a bit late, never have time to finish tasks or just plain no time for yourself….you are seriously suffering from terrible time-management skills because there is always time to be had.
Scheduling, prioritizing and goal-setting are the three most important factors:
- Scheduling: Each evening, go over the day and look at how you could improve the timing. Go over the next day and pencil it into your agenda. Once a week go over your whole week in the same way. Try pinpointing where you lost your time; interruptions? Small crisis? A child needing a ride? Illness? Fatigue? Traffic? and look at how you can solve these things. “Surprise” happenings can be very disruptive if you have not allowed for such happenings in your planning. Everything goes into your schedule, even your private time, because if you don’t put it in there, it’s not going to happen! And be realistic about timing.
- Prioritizing: When you schedule, you also need to prioritize; what is most important? Each task that hits your life needs to be prioritized and managed, if not you’ll end up losing time on inconsequential tasks that led nowhere. Prioritizing yourself might have the highest importance sometimes. You are only as good as you can be; exhausted, ill and depressed you are of no use to anybody.
- Goal-setting: You really need to know where you are going before you can plan your strategy: prioritization depends on your goal; if your goal is to sell your house , then cleaning it and making it look nice is your priority. If your goal is to master a new skill, then this is priority, if you have a project at work that has a short dead-line, this is your priority. If you are ill, getting well is priority. You always have to look at this angle or you will probably ending up doing things last-minute with less than good results.
This is where you start: Get a notebook that is small enough to carry around. In it you record every time you do something during the day, as in a schedule; time, action and how long it took. EVERYTHING! Do this for 2 weeks, then go over the notes and look at where you lose time; I bet it comes from bad organizing: Did you get gas on the way when you went shopping? Did you get all your shopping done in one go, or have you been running to the store to top up? Did you get up on time or did you snooze that extra little bit? Did you organize your bag in the evening or leave it til morning?….On and on. You will be flabbergasted at how much time you are throwing away on nothing.
Next step: Organize realistically and schedule: The ride to work takes 35 minutes, not 30. If you are driving; add another 10 min. for unforeseen happenings; if you get there early you have 10 extra minutes for a coffee or a head-start on your work. If you have a flat tire, you do have some extra time to handle it without panicking; and when you call in late, you do that ahead of time – buys you plenty of good-will points.
Don’t ever be late: This is incredibly rude, nonchalant and disrespecting. You keep other people waiting (wasting their time) and you don’t look very serious, actually it looks like you have no control over your schedule – which is true. Be on time, or even a bit early; catch up on calls, read a paper…go over notes for the meeting…
Getting the picture? If you have questions, ideas, tips or want to know more; send me a comment.