Never Enough Time

Before thinking about how little time we have to do all the things we should/ want to do, it’s vitally important to build some understanding of where our time is going right now.

The idea of keeping a time-use journal is one that I’ve used a couple of times over the years. It’s not an easy discipline to do and can often reveal some unpalatable realities about where our time is going. It can certainly shatter false illusions about our ‘efficiency’. There are many different views about how long one should gather data and what time intervals should be used. The times when I did it, I gathered data for a week at 15 minute intervals.

The key after collecting all that data is what we do with it. Sometimes the data can be a little uncomfortable if it is revealing that we are not as committed to certain goals or objectives that we might have espoused. Then, we’re faced with choices – let the goal go because it’s not as important to us as we might have been thinking, or find a way to renew our commitment to it and ensure it gets the legitimate amount of time it needs.

There are also issues that arise where the acts (or omissions) of others are revealed to be adversely affecting your effective time usage (I prefer to avoid the hackneyed cliché “time management”). Decisions have to be made; how is the person likely to respond if you ask for changes? Are the potential gains worth pursuing? Do you need to acknowledge that you might be willing to sacrifice some efficiency for the sake of the relationship?

Even after we’ve given attention to how we use time, we have to build positive habits in its use. This doesn’t necessarily happen on its own, which was why the following short piece from Dan Pink really appealed to me:

Dan Pink Article

After reading the article, I went online and found a number of websites that offered free downloadable files with gongs etc. at various time intervals. I run the audio in the background at times when working. Not only does it enable me to realise when I’m wandering off from priorities, but also to ‘catch myself’ doing things right and renew my effort on those things from time to time.

I shall certainly carry this on. We only have a finite amount of time in our lives – no different between the most successful high achievers and the ‘also rans’. The key is how successful people use their time, so think striving to get better with time is worth the effort.

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