Most people think they lose precious time from their lives in larger increments of time such as days, hours, minutes, or seconds. I contend this is an illusion of the mind. The very definition of time is “the point or period at which things occur” basically time is when things happen. I feel that there are two types of time: clock time and real time. Clock time has 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, and 365 days a year. Time it! It’s tangible. Real time can’t be timed; it can’t be held or counted. It’s the feeling of time within yourself, you can feel this real time at work when an hour feels like ten and you feel it when you are on vacation and a week flies by in the blink of a second. In real time all time is relative, it’s mental, you create it and you CAN manage it by focusing on importance and suppressing urgency. What I mean by this is that most people are hard-wired to focus on “things” that are demanding of an immediate response. (Urgency) Like a phone ringing, an IM, or instant notifications on your cell phone. When we limit ourselves to giving priority to the urgent “things” we tend to postpone the important “things” such as meeting deadlines and finding time for ourselves.
So how do you make the most out of your time? Most experts agree that there are a few simple tips on how to avoid wasting “real time.”
• Assign your time- Your important “things” should always have time for completion in your day. Use appointment books, calendars, or any other self-reminder to schedule appointments with yourself and have the discipline to keep these appointments.
• Schedule time for interruptions- Plan time to be pulled away from you and your tasks, just make sure to limit these intrusions.
• Learn to say “NO”- Most people follow an implicit social contract that says you must say “yes” to everyone that asks something from us. It’s okay to say “I’m busy.”
• Disconnect- Turn everything off!!! Set your phone to vibrate, turn off automatic notifications, turn the T.V. down (better yet, off) and mute all other urgency monsters. Modern technology has evolved to exploit our urgency addiction; Facebook, Twitter, email, IM’s, ECT will fight to distract you constantly. Don’t let them, you can choose to check these things when you want (if you want) during a scheduled interruption time.
• Schedule your priorities- What are the important things to do now? Make a list of important tasks to do and make sure the urgency monster stays at home.
• First things first-Find the single most important “thing” today (not urgent) and DO IT today.
• Less is more- You can always be doing something, the trick is to pick one or two of these things and relentlessly pursue them. Give all of you to one “thing” at a time is infinitely more efficient than multi-tasking a million “things.” This will give you time to excel, one task at a time.
• Ignore- there will be people that you simply can’t get back to, allow yourself to forget.
Not all of these techniques my fit YOU, but adding just one or two into your day may make such a difference in the work and quality of work you complete in a day that you may strive to add more. Remember that it’s impossible to get everything done, but you have the power to set the limits.