“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you” – Carl Sandburg
I would also add be careful that you don’t allow ‘things’ to spend it for you. So what do I mean? The phrase ‘less is more’, sums it up for me.
A ‘Less is more’ approach involves finding ways to work in tune with your natural rhythms and not cramming your day with a long list of (uninspiring and uninteresting) tasks, so you are left desperately trying to manage everything at the same time.
If you were a member of a gym, you wouldn’t go along to the gym and spend hours working on just one part of your body. Most of us would go along and use a variety of machines to exercise different parts in different ways.
The same principle can be applied to the way in which we use our brains. Give different parts of your brain – time to rest and recharge. Allow ‘greater space’ for your brain to do what comes naturally, ‘problem solve’. In other words start learning to ‘get out of your own way’.
Allow time for different types of thinking, relaxed, creative thinking and more, focused and concentrated thinking. Identify when you are at your most alert, most creative and use this to your advantage.
David Rock, Your Brain at Work
Managing your time and energy is not just about getting stuff done, but getting the right stuff done at the right time. It is about having the time and energy you need to do more of the things you really want to do.
Think of yourself as a ‘dancer’ with one partner at a time, rather than a ‘juggler’, struggling to keep all the balls in the air.
It’s about Focus too
To achieve this you will need to decide to focus on one thing at a time. Give it your undivided attention and the chances are you will get it done in a shorter period of time. Splitting your attention over several different tasks at the same time, trying to multi-task is simply not effective.
It’s not just about your time, it’s about your focus and attention and it seems to me that time spent without these can turn a task into something that just drags on and on.
So why not have a look at your ‘to do’ list and ask yourself:
- Is this a task that really needs to be done?
- If yes, am I the only person able, or the best person to complete it?
- If yes, when will I get it done and what will this enable me to do after?
Go through for each of your tasks and see how your list looks now.
- Stop It: – what would happen?
- Delegate it, but don’t dump: – who else could do it and benefit?
- Partner with someone: – might be quicker and more fun to work with someone else
- Partner it with another activity/task: – for me singing and cooking go nicely together
- Plan out the time and stick to your plan, you may be surprised by how much you can get done in fifteen minutes of focused attention.
- Identify and make time for those activities that you enjoy and that give you a boost.
So in terms of your time:
- What do you need to let go of? – Do you really need to do it all?
- What do you need to take on? – Who else can help and support?
- What are you actually going to do, now?