“The hours in our days, and nights, dictate the quality of our life.”
Time management is one of the most talked about topics in the modern world. We spend most of our days and nights looking for ways to manage time and achieve our goals. Research says that managing your time well can help you save 30–40% of your income and increase your overall happiness.
Yet, I’m amazed that most people do not have a plan. Achieving and maintaining a work-life balance is as essential as keeping a check on our eating, sleeping and other fitness routines. The hours in our days, and nights, dictate the quality of our life. Over the years, I’ve learnt a thing or two about this. This article is dedicated to saving time.
Here’s my take on time management.
When I speak about focus, I am referring to deliberate, undivided and intentional attention. It is the power of your mind and the ability to enter a meditative state. These two concepts will help you achieve several things at the same time. I find that people use three different systems to try and achieve focus: distraction, racing thoughts and preparation. A mistake many people make is that when they are planning, they think about the big picture but fail to plan out every action step. That’s the key to a productive day. Everything needs to be planned in advance and executed.
While doing a task, try to be able to focus on the same thing at any given time, even if you need to review a screen or a text message pops up. Focus is about being calm, centred and sure of what you want to achieve. Once you are sure, you will be able to block out all the noise that will be coming your way and concentrate on the task at hand.
Time management is not about working hard, it’s about working smart. When I ask people about their productivity levels, they invariably say that they work hard and they are driven by passion. But after I ask them about the productivity of their daily routine, they usually become quiet and realise that they work long hours and do not save enough time for themselves. Most people are on the work treadmill instead of the treadmill of life. If we want to feel and be happy, we need to work smart. Working smart means working the right way.
Time management is about making the most of the time we have. It is also about learning from the past. But most of the time, most people do not know how their time is being spent. When I track my time, I find that I spend a lot of time thinking about things. I usually find I spend more time on thinking than on any action that I take. I know that most people think they waste a lot of time doing nothing, but that is not true. I want to spend more time thinking so that I can reach my goals faster. When I analyse my time, I am able to find those places where I can reduce my schedule.
- Be patient
When you are in a hurry, a lot of things seem urgent but they are not. Take time to think about any task and your project, and how it will affect your life. You should not be in a hurry all the time. What is wrong in taking time to slow down and plan? Your work, your exercise, your meditation — all these should be your priority. There is a huge difference between a job you do to pay your bills and a job that you find meaningful and that makes you a better person. Slow down and savour the moment.
- Make it a habit
With time management, the key is to make it a habit. The best way to do this is to work out a system that you can do each day. Each morning, go for a run and have breakfast. At least three times a week, meditate. This will help you achieve focus and decrease the fear of not being good at what you do. By the time you reach 40–50, most of the things that you have started to do become second nature.
- Work smart
An easy way to spend more time is to ask yourself questions. How will spending 10 minutes writing this blog improve my life? Or, I’m thinking about buying a new phone. How will this help me achieve my long-term goals?
A New York Times/Morning Consult poll showed that nearly two-thirds of the country’s workers don’t use their paid sick days, citing the pressure to work overtime as a primary reason.
Exhaustion and overwork are bad news.
- Seek help
If you are really struggling, talk to someone about your problems. You will be surprised to find that other people have the same problems that you do. You will find that most people are anxious about what they are doing and whether they are good at what they are doing. You should also use your time management skills to help others. Donate your time to charitable organisations. You can also help seniors by volunteering with your local seniors centre. You can do this by driving them to appointments or providing them with company.