What? Time Management is a MYTH?
How would you rate your time management abilities? On a scale of 1-10! Just as an FYI, I rate my time management ability at 0. Should I explain myself? OK…
Imagine you have a 15-minute window coming up and you could do anything you want with your 15 minutes.
- What would you do?
- Can you visualise it?
Now just think again what it is.
Is it you sitting down with a clock and managing each second on that clock, as it passes you by?
- Can you stop it?
- Can you slow it down?
- Can you make it go faster?
- Can you DEMAND anything of it?
No, of course not!
So would it be more accurate to imagine how you are managing what you are doing during your 15 minutes? Can you visualise the activity, whether that is being active (doing) or non-active (being)?
- Finishing that blog post or report that’s been sitting in your peripheral view or drafts folder for weeks now?
- Going to the DIY store to finally buy the paint to finish the hallway?
- Finishing that last chapter of your recent read, just to GET IT finished?
- Meditating, because you’ve been promising yourself for ages?
- Sitting in the garden simply listening?
- Mindfully brainstorming an idea that’s been hanging around for a while?
Any of these activities mean you are controlling your actions. You are not controlling the clock but what you are doing as the clock ticks on.
There is no rewind, there is no pause. You can pause your activity, but that will only bring you back to the future 😉
You have no control over time. Therefore, you cannot manage time.
You can only manage how you spend the time that is available to you. That’s what you have control over and that is what you can make decisions on.
Let’s do the Time Management Math:
Look at an “average” week of your life:
1 Week = 168 hours
Work = 56 hours
Sleep = 56 hours
Commute = 14 hours
Personal = 14 hours
Total = 140 hours
That’s 28 Hours left!!
Yes – 28 hours every week!
That’s 4 hours EVERY day for you to do the things you want to do.
It’s your choice. If even half of this time is taken up with childcare or caring for another, that still leaves you with 2 hours a day to do other things.
Even if 3 extra hours a day are required for necessary things, that still leaves you with your 24th hour to do the things you want to do.
By the way
- Listening to your friend’s or client’s woes on the telephone for an hour is a choice!
- Spending extra time ironing socks because you feel you should is a choice!
- Taking on a job that adds an hour to your commute is a choice!
- Taking on a client with a high learning curve is a choice!
You see the pattern here? We are CHOOSING how we use the time that is available to us. Then we have the audacity to think we own that time: to call it our own.
Then we wonder where it all went! Like, what or who stole that time from us, like we actually had possession of it.
We blame some external factor or event that steals our time. Then we send them to time prison!
And then we move along to the following week and allow that time to just slip away again like last week.
Well, I have news for you!
“If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten!”
(I’ll attribute this to Marc Ostrofsky)
So if we cannot manage time, how can we better manage ourselves?
#1 Learn to Prioritise
Use the Important/Urgent Matrix to find out what is important to you in your work and life:
You should never be doing urgent tasks unless they literally just appeared on your ‘desperate’ TO-DO list! Like taking a fall and heading to the doctor for stitches and tetanus. Or receiving an SOS from a client who just broke their website!
It depends on how far ahead you like to plan. If weekly, then sit down on a Sunday night and write out all the tasks you need to get done the following week.
Then fill out your matrix.
If you have tasks in Quadrant 1 they need to be done FIRST.
Ideally, you want to be working constantly from Quadrant 2 – doing the important things in your life and business that make a difference but are NOT urgent – you are NOT firefighting!
Quadrant 3 is a productivity nightmare! We often move into this quadrant when we are procrastinating. We can busy ourselves with answering other people’s demands and lose sight of our own game. Minimise your time here or outsource these tasks.
Practice ignoring Quadrant 4 completely until you have some white space (see #3 below) to go over the nice to do tasks that are neither important or urgent (catching up on SM, reading up on recent news and changes not directly related to your business moving forward).
#2 Learn to say NO!
Yes! I NO! (see what I did there?)
The constant demands on your attention and your time!
The friends and family members who think that because you work from home you don’t work!
The constant little phone calls to do little favours, while on the face of it don’t seem like big things, but all add up. They also break your concentration and workflow.
Learn to say “Yes, I can do this task for you this afternoon” or “I can address this tomorrow morning” or “This will be completed as per our agreed deadline” or “I can recommend a great website designer to make your ‘quick, one page, no problem’ website.”
You get the picture – use the 3 Ds – Defer, Delegate, or Delete (not literally delete your client!)
#3 Leave some white space
Have a look at your calendar.
Is it organised? Can you tell immediately what is important and what is urgent?
Have you some space in there if you needed to add emergencies or other important AND urgent tasks to take care of?
No? So is it chock-a-block with things to do?
Start moving things out of today and next week and PUSH them out – make some white space to allow you to add as you go.
This can be avoided with good planning at the beginning of the day/week – add your elephants for your best working time, then add the smaller important tasks while leaving some space for said emergencies.
Murphy’s Law – just when you think you have everything under control, all hell breaks loose.
#4 Accept time for what it is
Accept that time will pass, regardless of what you do and whether you are productive or not.
Plan, proceed and produce.
Be ready for self-management and the time will be available for you.
#5 Be your own Leader
As a great Scottish American industrialist, Andrew Carnegie once said:
No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it.
Knowing what you can and cannot accomplish will save your business. You lead your business but leading is not doing everything by yourself. Identify where you are struggling and reach out for the support you require.
It’s not rocket science but it is important to develop at a rate that will grow your business to the level you desire and deserve.
If you find you are wasting time, spending time on tasks you are not proficient in or hoping to be able to do it all yourself, then please do one thing today:
Contact me and let’s have an important conversation about your needs.