Time is an invaluable asset given to all without fear of favour irrespective of age, sex, culture, social status or other categories. Time is a divine gift from God and what we do with it determines the outcomes of our lives; it’s what you do with it that determines whether you are a success or a failure. What you do with it determines whether you are a mediocre or an outstanding celebrity. Every day your account is credited with priceless 24 hours and you have the discretion as to how to dispense it.
In the realm of time, there is no aristocracy of intellect. Genius is never rewarded by even an hour a day. And there is no punishment. Waste your infinitely precious commodity as much as you will and the supply will never be withheld from you.
Moreover, you cannot draw on the future. It is impossible to get into debt! You can only waste the passing moment. You cannot waste tomorrow; it is kept for you.
The Four Attitudes about Time
- The Drifter Mentality
Drifters ignore the subject of time altogether. They choose to keep their lifestyle as unstructured as possible. They let their lives meander aimlessly, like tumbleweed in a light desert wind, enjoying the uncertainty and spontaneity that accompanies such a life.
If they hold a job it’s usually a temporary one because they rebel against any structure, any attempt to harness time. The typical drifter will say, “I’ve been late all my life. I can’t ever seem to get a handle on my time. The heck with it! I’ll just take it easy and get where I’m going when I’m good and ready.”
If you find yourself attracted to this mode of living, consider that this attitude of drifting along the highways and byways of life will stand in the way of any chance of making real progress. You can’t drift your way to a better life.
- The 9-5 Time Manager
Another group of people, perhaps the majority, has adopted an attitude about time that falls somewhere between the drifter and the workaholic. These people seem to function best with a moderate level of stress. They can handle only so many projects at one time. They like to have their evenings free – to “smell the flowers” all through life.
A man works for a company, then decides to own his own business. But as his responsibilities mount, as he sees how he must come to work before anyone else and leave long after the janitor has left, he thinks, “I would rather work for someone else. Let them have all the glory and the headaches.”
When he tried to run his own company, he exceeded the maximum level of time commitment he can handle comfortably. And so, he decides to walk away from the challenge, convinced that for him the price for success is too high.
A person should not sacrifice his financial and career success for material gains or immediate temporary comfort and pleasure. One should not keep amassing money and assets at the expense of important values.
- The Workaholic
The old-fashioned concept of success is the kind that keeps a person working longer and harder. For the workaholic there is never enough work. He or she works ten, twelve, fourteen hours a day. The workaholic will take two jobs, working them back to back. Satisfaction only comes when sleep is fought off, enjoyment is denied, and more tasks are finished.
While often eliciting admiration from outsiders, the workaholic’s behaviour can result in the alienation of family, loss of health, death and eventually a crisis of values.
Ironically, the workaholic is not always the one who makes the most money. That’s because he or she is often more task-oriented than results-oriented.
- The Enlightened Time Manager
The enlightened time manager allots time for every aspect of his life. He includes recreation and rest in his schedule; he knows how to limit the hours of work and to have quality time for other important values, such as family. He would never be afraid to work long hours – but only when it is necessary.
What makes the enlightened time manager enlightened is his ability to schedule himself to work only so many hours and still get more done than the workaholic. He does this by simply working smarter, not always longer – by focusing on more productivity per hour instead of putting in more hours.
Enlightened time managers look for new ways to multiply their productivity. They develop wealth by the use of leverage.
Tips for Mastering Time
One of the best ways to regaining control of your time is to learn to say “NO” which is the most effective time management word.
It’s easy to say yes to everything in order to be a nice person. The result of saying yes is that we spend long hours trying to get ourselves out of obligations we never should have agreed to in the first place.Don’t let your word overload your back.
Another way to regain control of your time is by focusing. When it is time to work, concentrate on work, don’t be distracted and when it is time to play, enjoy yourself and don’t be distracted by work activities; don’t let work things eat into your schedule. Mixing the two never works; all you do is cheating yourself both ways. If you work and play at the same time, you will miss the joy that comes from great accomplishment and the complete release that is the gift of pure play.
One of the great rules of creative time-management is to know yourself. Each of us has a unique biological clock which daily controls the peaks and the ebbs of our productivity.
Find out when you are most energetic. If you are most productive early in the morning, take advantage of this by scheduling your biggest projects as the first order of the day.
Next, analyse tour habits. For example, if you are not good at keeping your paperwork up to date or if you have promised yourself for years to keep better records and balance the check-book and you still haven’t done it – accept it, and get someone to help you. You are not likely to change.
Your weakness doesn’t have to harm you if you learn to delegate responsibilities.
It is not shameful to admit that you are not good at everything – as long as you are wise enough not to let your weakness stop you from accomplishing your goals.
Few of us have taken the time to analyse how to use the telephone for maximum effectiveness. We need to recognise that while it has incredible potential for efficiency, the telephone can also be one of the most disruptive time-wasters in our lives.Make sure the telephone is there primarily for your convenience; put measures in place for who can reach you and when. You can have your PA answer your calls during the day, forwarding only the most important and urgent to you.
Don’t allow calls to intrude into family and leisure time. You could have a policy of switching off your phone from say 10 pm in the evening. Your family and friends are very important don’t let persistent ringing of the telephone monopolise the time you’ve reserved for them.
You also need to manage your outgoing calls; before every call write down the key points you want to cover. It will make each conversation more effective, shorter, and more professional. It will also give you a record of each call.
We all do things as a result of long-standing habits. This becomes a wasteful luxury if you want to be more efficient.
Take the time to analyse your work procedures. Today there are many efficient ways to increase productivity through electronic means. So take advantage of them.
Asking the Right Questions
When managing people, one of the greatest time-savers is asking questions – more specifically, asking the right questions.
The real causes of important problems are usually buried several layers deep. By becoming good at asking the right questions you can save yourself enormous time by getting to the root of problems a lot faster.
Thinking on Paper
One of the greatest tools for successful time management is having the ability to think on paper. Planning your day involves thinking on paper. Have a journal where you can easily write down ideas passing through your mind. Someone said the faintest pencil is sharper than the sharpest memory. Whatever is written is permanent don’t let good ideas slip away; learn to write things down. A great idea can change your life if you capture it. so have a journal with you at all times, no matter where you are.
Have a project book, a notepad a memo application on your smart devices where you can write down your schedule for the day. It is a crime for you to go into the day without a plan for it.
Don’t start your day until you have it finished: Because each day is a priceless mosaic in your lifetime strategy for wealth and happiness, always plan your day before you start and do it every day. Plan your week, month and year as well.
A well-fashioned day – with a beginning and an end, a purpose and content, a colour and a character, a feel and a texture – takes its place among the many and becomes a valuable memory and treasure. And as one well-fashioned day turns into another, a life emerges that is a masterpiece, equity of experience and spirit.
An adaptation of Mrs IbukunAwosika’s materials