New Year and the resulting motivational levels during this period defy all theories on the psychology of motivation. New Year comes and it is time for resolutions. It is also time for buying diaries and fancied organisers. It is also time to believe that everything is going to be new from New Year. As far as the dates are concerned, yes, the year is new, the month is new, and the day is new but are you new? If you aren't new, then what in life can change with just an external change in the calendar? Like the old wine in a new bottle, it is the same man in a New Year.
Do you want to get the best of this year? Then you will have to get the best out of the 365 days in this year. Then you will have to get the best out of your time in this year. How?
Everything about life is unpredictable. Our choices, the consequences of our choices, our motivation levels, our emotions and our expectations are all unpredictable. People’s response to us is also unpredictable. The social, political, technological and climatic conditions of life are all unpredictable. Time happens to be that one predictable constant against which all the other unpredictable variables can be monitored and managed.
Time Management Is For All
From a pauper to a king, everyone has the same 24 hours, second to second. Irrespective of our motivation, moods and choices, the clock ticks at the same speed. Time management can be an effective anchor on which life can be built with consistency in spite of all the other variables. Time management is first an attitude and only then a skill. Time management is first an attitudinal change towards valuing time. Time management is in knowing what you want in return for the time you invest. The real challenge is not to manage time but to manage yourself.
It’s relatively easy to manage time by using the right tools. You can choose from different time clock apps and use them to schedule tasks and meet deadlines. Choose one that works across multiple devices to boost productivity. Imagine clocking in and out using your smartphone and other mobile devices using a convenient, accurate, and secure time clock app. But how do you manage yourself to effectively make use of your time?
Manage yourself by being willing to follow what you have set and what you need to do to make the most of your scheduled time. And this is when self-discipline comes into play. A key to attaining time management discipline is understanding that time spent is either lost or earned. You reap fruitful rewards when you do something productive and use your time wisely. On the other hand, unwise spending of time results in consequences, such as work backlogs and unmet deadlines.
The starting point of a 'Time Revolution' in our life is to accept and acknowledge that all of us are awfully inefficient in the way we use our time. A tragic amount of time gets wasted everywhere. The starting point to revolutionise the way we use our time is to be honest with ourselves and confess that we are inefficient in the way we use our time. There is more time than we can use, if we begin to use it wisely.
If I fill a bucket with rocks first, then follow it up with pebbles so that they can go into the gaps between the rocks, then fill it up with sand and finally pour water, this way I will be able to put more stuff into the bucket. On the contrary, if I fill the bucket with water first, then there will be no space for anything else to get in. Life, for most of us, is like that: The 'trivial many' like the water and the sand, which first fills up our routines, leaving little or no time for the 'vital few', which are like the pebbles and the rocks. The main secret to finding time is to identify the time stealers and get rid of them because time gets used up even if we don't use them.
Not to Do List
Contrary to conventional time management, first compile a 'Not To Do List'. Enlisted all the redundant roles of your life that keeps robbing you of your precious time and vouch not to give those any more of your time.
Time management isn't clock management. Time management is not about tools; after all, a fool with a tool is still a fool. Time management is about self-management. It is the ability to say 'yes' to what is important, and more importantly, the discipline to say 'no' to 'you don't have to do' aspects of life. If you know where you want to be tomorrow, then the only way to get there is to invest your time today in the direction of your tomorrow. You might as well invest time on your health today than spend time on your diseases tomorrow… you might as well invest time with a spiritual teacher today than spend time with a psychiatrist tomorrow… Things, which matter the most should never be at the mercy of things, which matter the least, just because they are convenient.
The ironic part is that people spend so much time fulfilling their earthly desires, such as having a nice car, a big house, and lots of money in the bank, but they fail to prioritise making time for the most important things in life. Family bonding, exercise, peace of mind, spiritual health, and simple happiness are usually on the back burner of time management plans. I think it’s time to change that perspective, stop whining, and start doing what we’re supposed to do to make life more meaningful.
Use Technology To Manage Time Wisely
Now more than ever, businesses perform like athletes, always under pressure to beat time and metrics. So, it’s about time you arm your business with time technology. Technology is your best friend. From simple watch analogue timers to digital timers, advanced software scheduling systems have evolved.
Businesses can take advantage of different time technologies to become more competitive and successful. For instance, the utilisation of scheduling software for field services businesses can help managers and workers manage time wisely in busy field work. With a centralised place to check individual and team schedules and client appointments, everyone is on the same page. Hence, field service workers become more productive.
In data or call centres and customer service businesses, call timers are essential. They measure average call handling, hold times, and other call metrics to identify customer satisfaction and service levels. Office workers, on the other hand, log in to attendance management software with synchronised timers to ensure employees are paid right based on the number of hours worked.
Drive-thru timers in fast-food chains are now being used to incorporate gaming, inspiring crews to beat the clock and meet service goals to win rewards and cool prizes. Such time management technology plays a crucial role in employee engagement, bringing countless business benefits.
All of these examples reflect how technology can help not only with time management but also with a wide array of things that can affect a business.
‘That on which you invest time grows'.
If your business has been doing well, it is because you have been investing time on it. If your social circle is expanding, it is because you have been investing time on it. If your family life is deteriorating, it is because you have not been investing time on your family. If your relationship with a friend is not what it used to be, it is because you have not been investing time on that relationship. If your health has been deteriorating, it is because you have not been investing time on it. The opposite is also true: ‘That which is starved of time, shrinks'.
Time is the most important resource of your life. When you were born, you were given in excess of over half-a-million hours of life. What you do with these half-a-million hours will determine what you become in life, and this year is just one portion of it. Value time and you will value life. However, what you do with your time depends on what you want to achieve with your life. Life cannot be lived by the clock. It is lived through the heart. You can’t aspire to be a world champion in chess without giving enough time to chess. Life is all about focus. When I know what to focus upon, then I will know where to invest my time. Give maximum time to mega serials, you achieve maximum interest in mega serials. Give maximum time to developing your talents, the world will applaud you for your talents. You can reach where you want to reach tomorrow, only if you invest enough of your time today in the direction of your tomorrow.
All of us have the same time, but time is getting spent in the wrong pockets and hence some re-organisation is required. For example, three hours are going into watching TV and one hour into talent development. They have to be re-organised, that is, let three hours go into talent development and one hour to TV. When right quantum of time goes to the right activities, we will get our life right.
The biorhythm of every human being is different and hence we all have different peak hours. Peak hours are the time slots when you feel you are in the zone. The body, mind, intellect, and emotional personalities feel completely integrated, enabling you to be at your best. Anything that is done during your peak hours, whether it is exercising or meditating or reading or planning - always produce enhanced results than done during any other time. So, observe what your peak hours are and assign your most important activities to these time slots.
All our activities can be basically categorised into four classes:
Class IV: Activities that serve neither personal good nor overall good.
Class III: Activities that serve personal good, but do not serve overall good.
Class II: Activities that do not serve personal good but serve overall good.
Class I: Activities that serve both personal good as well as overall good.
If you can be honest with yourself, you would know when you are indulging in a Class IV activity and when you are investing your time in a Class I activity. All of us would find ourselves in all the four classes; just that the percentage of time invested in various classes would vary. For example, those who live a wasteful and insignificant life would find themselves predominantly in Class IV - with their clocks well managed, while those who live a legendary and purposeful life would find themselves primarily in Class I - with their time well managed.
It is by taking care of your time, you take care of your life. When your heart yearns to be a singer, but the entire day goes in a BPO, it is clock management. When you are willing to stake anything, to walk in the direction of your dreams, it is time management.
Activity is not productivity. Activity is not accomplishment. Activity without direction is change. Activity with direction is progress. Living is not about filling up the day. Living is about doing things that will help you to become what you want to become. Time management is not about managing the clock, but it is about managing time in the context of what you want to be in the future. Time can never be managed in isolation. It is always in the context of what you want from life and where you want to reach in life.
In essence, time management is not about organising activities with reference to the clock, but about organising yourself and your life with reference to what you want to be in life. Where your time goes, there your future comes.
The greatest compliment one can give oneself is to be able to say, “I had enough time for everything that I believed was important.”