Time — Our Most Non-Renewable Resource
Irrespective of where we work — in an office, at home, on the road — there’s one resource that always seems to be in short supply, our time. None of us has unlimited time, and this is why we need to make sure that we take the best advantage of the time that we have and manage it properly for the best possible results for us and our business/projects.
Time is a non-renewable resource, and that is why it’s imperative that you make the most of it.
How can we use our time more efficiently? Below are tips and techniques for getting as much as possible out of the time available to each of us.
Sometimes, the things that drive us the most are our goals. If a goal is too broad or too distant, it’s easy to lose focus. Instead, try to develop shorter term goals, for a month or two months perhaps. The more achievable the goal, the better the odds are for success. Here’s an example.
Goal: “I’m going to weigh 30 pounds less on the day of the Winter office party.” [Too far into the future to be really successful.]
Goal: “I’m going to lose three pounds in the next thirty days.” [Reasonable duration and achievable, designed for success.]
Goal: “I want to be married before my 35th birthday.” [At 25 this goal is too far into the future. Even at thirty it could be too distant.]
Goal: “I’m going to have coffee and get to know one new person this month.” [Reasonable duration, achievable, and likely could lead to that distant goal.]
By developing shorter term goals that can build on each other, success becomes much more likely.
Create a list. Right, this one is a no brainer. Yet, it’s surprising how few people actually create lists and stick to the discipline. Lists can be overwhelming, especially if there are more than ten items on it. So think about breaking it down into more manageable chunks. Some approaches for developing a manageable list are:
- Set priority tasks.
- Organize that list into categories. One possible classification is Work-Critical, Personal-Critical, Home, and Other.
- Use categories that fit and don’t be rigid about it. Maybe next year the classification will be different.
- Spread that list out over the work week.
Distractions are a fact of life, but they can be used positively. [See our 10 December blog post.] If a task requires serious concentration and focus, schedule it during that part of the day when energy is high. Turn off the phone, shut down e-mail, perhaps even disconnect from the network to minimize distractions that could prevent completion of that task.
When that serious task is finished, take a break! Neuroscience and health research suggests that breaks increase productivity. Take the dog for a walk. Call a friend. Try to schedule breaks such that they occur regularly throughout the day. This helps ensure that daily activities are paced.
Time is our most valuable, non-renewable resource. While we can’t create more time for ourselves, we can manage the time we have and use it wisely. Through the discipline of lists, developing achievable goals, avoiding distractions, and taking breaks, we can take the best advantage of the time that we have.