However much we might wish for more hours in the day or to be better able to manage the time that we do have, the truth is that time is a constant over which we have no control.
It is an irrefutable fact that the only aspect to time over which we have any influence is the use to which we put it – every time we choose to do one thing with our time, we are, by implication, choosing not to do something else. Accepting this is the essence to becoming better at time management and in so doing, better at suffering less from the feelings of stress and pressure which so often accompany poor time management.
Understanding how you experience time and what influences how you chose to spend it can be a good starting point:
- Think about the things you “don’t have time for” and the things you can always find time for no matter how busy you are. What are the common elements that separate the two? What does this tell you?
- Think about the things that motivate you most. If you have clarity about these, you will have clarity around your priorities and be better able to handle your time.
- Keep a regular eye on your priorities. Do they regularly influence what you do? If not, why not?
- Go back in your mind to times when you had lots of time and yet did not produce results and compare these with the times when you did get things done. What were the differences between the two?
- Identify what generates the sense of time pressure you feel. How could you reduce or eliminate it?
- Consider whether you often find yourself rushing around. What makes you do so? What is the cost to you of doing so?
- Think about how you choose to spend your time. Do you consciously give yourself choices and if so, against what decision criteria? Do you consider what time will be taken up before you take on new activities?
- What is your view about planning? Is it worth the effort? Do you set time aside for it? How often? Is it enough?
- How do you consider time? Do you live in the present most of the time? Do you have an abundance mentality when it comes to time? Are you relaxed about time? Do the metaphors you use about time give you any clues as to how you feel about it?
Choose the three areas in your life that will make the most difference to how you spend your time. What three actions will you take?