How much is enough time?

Time management: If you ever catch yourself saying you don’t have enough time, consider this: the length of the hours available to you are the same as those that Michelangelo, Pasteur, Mother Teresa, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, and Thomas Jefferson had available to them.

The fact is that we all have the time to achieve what we really want to achieve. What we have to be aware of is the many demands on our time. Emails to check, things to organise, calls to make, errands to run – taking all these things into consideration, we need to find a way to Work Smarter, Not Harder. It is as simple as taking ownership of time and managing it rather than having time manage you.

This involves trying to be thoughtful about what we have to do. Constantly asking if things could be done more efficiently or whether they need doing at all? Managing time is not about squeezing in as many things as possible. It’s about simplifying how we work, trying to complete things faster, and relieving the stress that is bound to build up.

We need to clear space in our lives to make time for the really important things that make it worthwhile:  people, rest and play. There really are more than enough hours in every day for all the things we would like to do. It just takes rearrangement and re-imagination to discover them.

How to get the time you need

There are many different strategies we can employ to chisel out the time we need. First is time management’s golden rule: complete the most important tasks first.  We then need to grasp the concept of starting early and starting often. Procrastination is the thief of time and effort.

In order to do this, we also need to learn to be more willing to say “no”. Taking on too many commitments can really sap our energy so we should only commit to tasks we know we have time for and that we truly care about.

Get plenty of sleep.  We all know when we are getting enough. It’s important to listen to our bodies and not to underestimate sleep’s true value.

When we tackle a job we need to devote our entire attention to the task at hand.  We can all allow projects to take a lot longer than they should by getting hung up on details that don’t matter. Don’t. Move on.

Instead of sitting down and thinking “this is going to take as long as it takes”, start setting yourself your own realistic deadlines. Also rushing from task to task kills motivation. We need time to take a breath and allow our brains and bodies to catch up. Otherwise, there is a high likelihood we may be wasting valuable time.

Much of our lives are full of excess. If it’s possible to recognise the excess and remove it, we can become more in touch with what’s significant and what deserves our time. And remember, work should not be a chore. It should be fun. Grasping this is the key to improving time management.

Talk with one of our business advisors about more effective personal time management for your leadership team.

Learn more

Listen to Murray Fulton’s audio file Effective work, busy work and what is normal? where he looks at productivity.

Read our blog on planning, Weekly planning is a habit that can help you get control of your workload.