So does my views in the 1st installment on this topic mean that I manage myself perfectly within the time I have and achieve all that I set out to within deadlines, arriving in time for all appointments? Not really. But I certainly feel more in control of myself, my emotions and stress levels. I will share with you an 8-step outline of how I manage my self within time. It is cobbled together from my ideas, spirituality and experience, Mark Forster’s Time management system and Duncan Coppock’s approach in his book, Self Factor
- Realising that I am a very small part of an infinite whole, daily, I commend my best intentions and efforts to fit into the larger whole so that they would flow and feel easier.
- Take a week-to-week approach to time, viewing, planning and reviewing actions in this light
- Identify one main focus for the week
- Daily reminder top personal values
- List all planned activities on Monday and update as new items arise during the week – work and out-of-work
- Beside each activity, indicate its level of importance to me, taking into account, personal values, impact on own intentions, its urgency and workload
- Indicate a realistic estimate of the duration for each activity. Keeping a time-log for two weeks is helpful for estimating durations.
- Start with the most important activity and on completion, move to the next most important. The importance levels may be dynamic in response to external factors.
Whilst this system may not work for everyone, I find that it simplifies my life promoting a holistic balance because I achieve more easily on a broad spectrum. Try it for 2-weeks to see what you think. I found it to be a powerful tool for managing self within time.
Phrases like “time has passed us by”; ‘we do no know where the time went”, “the day went quickly” ; “the hour is going slowly”, “just in time” are constant reminders that although we cont time as one of the resources available to us, in the real sense, it is not a resource we can use, apportion, transfer. It is in fact a limitless flow that was there before we arrived, just like the air we breathe and advances regardless of our action or inactions.
If this is so, then the term ‘time management’ is a misnomer and our preoccupation with it in the work place, home, school needs rethinking. If achieving success is most often determined by the direction or focus of efforts, it is important that we do actually re-align our understanding and relationship with time. Do we manage time or do we manage our selves within the time we have?
Semantics? Let us say I have four weeks to complete a design task, if I managed time, I would apportion the time to suit my speed and style of working and my rest time. I would even consider stopping the time during my idle periods. The reality though is that as I am receiving my brief for the task, time continues to roll, as I catch my breath to understand the task and its requirements, reconsider its impact on my priorities, plan my activities, my 4 weeks is constantly being depleted. No wonder, I am more likely to be stressed out and wondering where the time went.
If however, I am managing myself within the four weeks, in knowledge that the time is not a resource I can control, I am more likely to take responsibility for realizing that my listening or reading the brief, prioritizing are part of my unique approach to the task. I would therefore be making choices about how much thinking, clarification, discussion, delegation I engage in. I would also remain aware of all the other matters in my life which need my attention.