”Manage” by definition means to be responsible for controlling or organizing someone or something or to be in charge of someone or something. The expression ”Time Management” is therefore a misnomer. Notwithstanding the fact that there are thousands of books and workshops on the subject, and it is as hot a product as ”weight loss”, the fact remains that none of us can ever control or organize time or force it to go faster or attempt to make it stand still. None of us can ever manage time, it is a no-brainer.
What we can only manage is ourself and what we do with the time that we have. What we can only learn is how to organize our life and make good use of the effluxion of time. Time waits on no one, time waits for no one, time waits because of no one. Like many other things in our lives, if we look at ’managing’ something outside of ourselves, it is a lost cause. Let us instead turn our attention to how we can manage ourselves.
Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa had the same 24 hours each day. They just learnt to make optimal use of the available time; as you look and ask around, you will find that successful people are those who have optimally utilized the available time in their best and highest interests. They set their minds to their respective goals and diligently pursued them until they turned achievers.
Even today and perhaps in the forseeable future, ”self-management” in relation to time could continue to be a challenge. This article attempts to elucidate how these challenges could be overcome. It is no rocket science that one has to spend hours learning, just a simple matter of organizing our own life and ourselves.
Time Management is Dead! Long Live Goal Management!
If we bought a ticket to go nowhere in particular, we would go nowhere quickly! It is important to have goals in our life. Goals give meaning to our existence. The purpose of life is to live a life of purpose, otherwise it is aimless, pointless and fruitless. So we need to sit down by ourselves and determine the areas which most need our attention. Thereafter, set appropriate goals which are S.M.A.R.T. goals in line with your aspirations. Draw up a plan to achieve those goals, determine the time you need and make every effort to stick to your own decisions.
Time Management is Dead! Long Live Energy Management!
There is not much you can do if after dealing with the tyranny of the urgent, you discover that you don’t even have the energy to get up from your chair. No lifehack, App, time management technique or book can help you. You have to take charge of the energy you expend and you have to find a source for the additional energy you need. You are not the only one wishing to have more energy and finding yourself tired sooner than you think. The world spends millions each year for that little bit of extra energy by consuming all varieties of beverages, capsules, chemicals and powders. Getting in touch with your subconscious mind and directly absorbing energy from the source, is easy and effortless. The fact that we are constantly expecting our body and mind to do more than ever before suggests that we have to seek within for the additional boost of energy, not with chemicals that cause more damage over the long run.
Time Management is Dead! Long Live Meditation!
Most people are surprised when they are told that something which brings peace and calm to your mind and body can also have many other advantages. Apart from generating an inner source of energy, it gives you far deeper rest than sleep (so you are more refreshed), enhances your creative and cognitive faculties, helps you solve problems and aids you in making decisions. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar states that twenty minutes of proper meditation is equal to several hours of sleep. Doesnt that place more time in your hands? Learn a technique that helps you to meditate easily, rejuvenate yourself and de-stress.
Time Management is Dead! Long Live Productivity!
You are not going to appraise or assess yourself, either now or on your deathbed, by how you managed your time, but by how productive you were in your lifetime – the goals you achieved, the legacy you have left behind, the hobbies your pursued, the love you extended to your near and dear ones. If you have identified the areas which need your attention and made a plan, you know what your priorities are. Put on your running shoes and get going! The more productive you are in every moment of your life, the more fulfilled you are. Productivity is a measure of our personal efficiency – how much you are able to achieve in the least possible time. Determine your priorities. Organize yourself. Allocate most of your time to your highest priorities. When you organize yourself, you will get much more done in much less time because you are managing yourself instead of attempting to manage time.
Time Management is Dead! Long Live Working Memory!
Our mind, like most others, can only remember a few things at a time. Researchers have often debated the maximum amount of items we can store in our conscious mind, in what's called our working memory, and a new study puts the limit at three or four. Working memory is a more active version of short-term memory, which refers to the temporary storage of information. Working memory relates to the information we can pay attention to and manipulate. Knowing this, make sure that you do not have more than three or four concurrent things in hand because they will jeopardize the efficiency of your conscious mind and hamper your productivity.
Time Management is Dead! Long Live Availability!
The best laid plans will cease to work if you make yourself available for everyone, everytime. No matter what happens and irrespective of the tyranny of the urgent, you must set aside time for yourself which is free of distractions and deliberations. IBMs - Impromptu Business Meetings or Issue-Based Meetings (see this blog for more on this subject) can seriously hamper productivity. Learn the art of saying ’no’. Apply common sense to what you accept and what you reject. Meetings are notorious in consuming large blocks of time unproductively. Refuse to attend meetings which do not have a specific agenda. For general meetings, make sure you are present only where it is mandated and you have something to contribute or gain. Likewise, it is not essential to answer every phone call and respond to each email right now. You cannot give people around you round-the-clock access to you, so that you can be disturbed just about whenever they feel they could. Schedule the meetings and telecoms you wish to initiate for others. Respect their time too.
Forget time management – it is a misnomer. Manage yourself. Long Live Self Management!
The author, Rajesh Seshadri, is an internationally recognized Certified Leadership Coach, Certified Success Coach and Certified Life Coach. He is also a NLP Master Practitioner, facilitator and therapist. The basket of therapies is holistic and integrative adopting techniques from Psychotherapy, NLP, Silva, Gestalt, Hypnosis and Silva UltraMind. Additionally, he is a seasoned corporate professional who continues to serve as a whole-time Director and Board Member. You can contact him here.