We all know what time management is or at least we think we do. We hear the expression and it’s clear – yep, I need to develop more skill around that. And usually we continue with our lives knowing that we potentially could manage our time better and benefit from it greatly but we… have no time to work on that. So some of the books written by people like Brian Tracy or Stephen Covey who dedicated their lives to teaching techniques for increased effectiveness and productivity, collect dust on the shelves of bookcases.
How do you make progress?
A few words are enough – “Nothing changes if nothing changes”. What can lead to progress is a shift of thinking, approach, opinion or maybe expectations. We have to establish what it is that will enable change in our lives. From there we can move forward knowing that we are no longer attached to obstacles but hopeful for a future. If you want a different outcome, you need to adapt a different approach. It is really that simple.
Decision made! I want to manage my time better.
So what is time management?
We all have our own idea. It can be used to describe a set of skills and techniques that we can develop to better manage our workload, prioritise, set goals and focus attention. This is the traditional approach.
But… can we really manage time? I have 24 hours each day available to me and I am sure it’s no different for you. Can I move the clock forwards or backwards? Nobody can. No matter what we do, time ticks away. It doesn’t need to and it can’t be managed.
Notice, that what we really want when it comes to time management is the effectiveness part. We want to have a sense of satisfaction at the end of a very productive day. This means that we don’t need to manage time. So if you want to be more productive, stop trying to manage it.
You want to focus your attention on ENERGY!
Yes, the key to success in increasing your personal effectiveness and productivity is through managing personal energy.The actions you want to take are around renewing your levels of energy and powering up. You can think and discover as many ways of managing your energy as you want. Honestly, the list could be endless.
There are 4 types of energy to manage: Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual. Some of the best examples of energy renewing rituals could be:
- Drinking water throughout the day
- Take short but regular breaks (15 min of walking, breathing, meditation, chatting to someone about a topic that is not work related, listening to the music)
- Increasing exposure to sunlight or breathing fresh air
- Reading for inspiration
- Saying “No” to others and “Yes” to yourself
- Laughing and not taking things too seriously
- Brainstorming and getting other people involved
- Helping others
- Acts of kindness
- Celebration and rewards (yes, for adults too! Think hard. When was the last time you rewarded yourself?).
However before you proceed to do that, take the next few days to observe yourself. See patterns of thinking and action. Become familiar with your daily and weekly habits and routines. Make sure that you have clarity on how much time you invest in completing tasks. Find answers to questions about your most productive time of day and the environment in which you perform best. Start from the reality check and let it inform the changes that you will make in your life. Small, but significant.