In a meeting, my team brought up the subject Time Management. People have been talking about time management for years. It is so easy to search on the internet. There are millions of articles. Sometimes many people look for answers, but they tend to forget to ask the right questions. What do you want to manage regarding time? Why do you need to do that?
I do not have neither questions nor answers. I do have my opinions in the topic instead. Hope they will give you some ideas to ponder.
You Cannot Manage Time
Everyone has exactly 24h a day. You cannot ask for more and accept less. No matter what you do, how you do, at the midnight, your day is over. It is just that simple. Time is up, over. You are done with your day.
“I wish I had more time” Good luck! It is called naive. The universe laws say that
- The day ends at the midnight
- The week ends at the Sunday midnight
- The month ends when the last day finishes
- The life ends at the last breath.
There is nothing we can do. We should, well, just accept and embrace the facts. Once I realized that I stopped fighting internally about my lack of time. Instead, I focus my energy to find better ways of using time. Time is my own asset. Here they are, my views in the time topic.
I spent a day without a single thought. Sometimes when it was over, I said “Thanks God! It is over.” I spent my most invaluable asset and I wished It was over. That was so stupid.
For the last couple of years, I have changed my mindset. Everyday I wake up, usually at 5:00 except I am hung over, the first thing I do is saying “Thank you, I have another day to spend. I will make the most out of it“. However, It was not easy, but I managed to follow. The more I speak to myself, the more awareness of the time I enforce.
We all have good days and bad days. When we have a bad day, we wish it is over. Please stop wishing that. We all have bad days. Some have more. Other have less. Raising the awareness will give us a better look at your day. You might look at your bad days differently. Why? Because you know that you have spent your most valuable asset. Therefore it is a good idea to reflect the result.
Respect time means a minute is valuable as a hour or a day. I often heard people saying
- Let’s wait for 15 minutes. I will do it after 15 minutes.
- Just 10 minutes left, I cannot do anything. Usually, it is 8:50 and you have to go out or do other task at 9:00. You have 10 minutes in between. And you just wish it slice.
During a day, there are so many time blocks, they can be 5 minutes, 10 minutes, even 30 minutes. Have we ever paid attention to them? Have we ever wondered how to use them, how to utilize them? No. Many people might not even know they exist. Tim Urban has excellent post about time block. You can define your own block in the way that makes sense to you.
Thinking in term of time block, we can explain why people feel lacking of time and struggle to find ways to manage it. The feel of lacking time comes from the fact that end the end of a day, you feel that nothing has been done. You accomplish nothing. And that when you blame for the lack of time.
When I asked someone what they have accomplished in the last 6 months. They said they wanted to learn/do many things. But they have not had enough time. That excuse has been used by millions of people over centuries. Please stop using it. Let’s someone else use it but not you.
Everyday we are often interrupted by unplanned things, by unexpected people. It is the reality. Let’s face it. Which means there are many small time blocks created. Look another way, that also means that you have many time blocks available at your disposal. On this view, you have more power on your time. Instead of struggling with time, you simply look for ways to make the best out of your available time blocks.
What should one do with their time blocks? I do not know. It depends on their interests, their purposes. But I can tell you what I have done with my available time blocks. I am writing this post in my available time blocks. I do not have a full block of hours to write the post. But I do have many small blocks of 10 or 20 minutes.
Here are things I usually do with my time blocks
I have work, have family. I cannot request a full day just to read books. I do not have any planned time to read books. Instead, I buy a Kindle, paper books. I always bring my Kindle, sometimes including some paper books. I read them when I am waiting in the car, when I am on taxi, when I am on Uber. I read whenever I have a block of 10 minutes. If I do not know how long I have to wait, I just read.
I prepared for PSM1 exam mostly in those time blocks. I made sure the materials are ready and easy to reach. Within 10 minutes you have learned a lot. It is much harder to learn in hours, but it is rather easy to learn something in 10 or 30 minutes.
I wrote this post in many small time blocks. Writing and blogging are good ways to learn.
This subject is rather new to me. Sometimes, I spend 5-minute block to breath, or simply a quite moment to think.
The other time, I do yoga or Tai-Chi. I just need to learn some movements that allow me to perform within 5 to 10 minutes.
There are hundreds of things we can do with our time blocks. What you will do with your time is more important than how much time you have. Instead of waiting for the right time, or asking for more time, try to look at time in this way
- Time is your most valuable asset.
- View a day as blocks of minutes. Either 5, 10 or 30 minutes is up to you.
- Be aware that you have those blocks available at your disposal. No one can take it from you.
- Respect those time blocks.
- And design a plan to use them best.
So, instead of asking how to manage time, maybe better to ask what do I want to do in a block of 10 minutes? Or what can I do in a block of 10 minutes? By the end of the day, you realize that you have done many things. And you will feel good.
Have a good weekend!