The demands on time and attention are limitless. Think about that for a minute. An infinite number of tasks, jobs, responsibilities, new projects….stretching out beyond the stars, past the limits of the universe in an unending arc of stuff you need to do.
Then have a laugh at how absurd it is to think that you could ever do everything that needs to be done within the very finite allocation of time you have. Feel better? Read on.
- Time is not money. It’s a bit like it, but it isn’t it. Time is like money in that there’s usually a shortage of it, and you can’t get it back when you’ve spent it. It is different in that whereas you can earn, borrow, lend and even steal money, you can’t do that with time. What you have is all there is. And no, you can’t have an advance on next week’s time.
- Productivity cult leader David Allen reckons that time management is an unhelpful phrase. You can’t manage time, he says. Given the above, he’s right. Much better to think about managing your tasks than your time.
- If you’re having problems making ends meet, experts tell you to keep a spending diary. Find out where the money goes. Same applies to time. Tracking time can be a simple enough process, though you need to be disciplined about it. It’s an eyeopener to discover how few hours of the working week are real, productive, billable work and how many are frittered away in odds & ends of this & that.
- Some people routinely underestimate the time things will take. I’ll be there in ten minutes, they say. Even though it’s clear they are still half-an-hour away. Others overestimate . A lot in the first category are men, and a lot in the second are women. What’s that all about?
- Your next meeting is in fifteen minutes. Is there time to make a couple of phone calls? Almost certainly. Maybe several. Look at your itemised phone bill. Chances are you’ll find a fair number of calls that took a couple of minutes or less. If you’re organised, have the phone numbers with you, and are just, say, confirming an agreement or checking some details, you can blitz through a lot in a surprisingly short time.