Everywhere there’s a rush in this world.
People running in the airport to catch a flight. Stressed out people in their cars honking to get ahead. People pushing each other to get into the elevator. Restless people waiting in receptions to get into their meetings and appointments. Irate local train travellers wanting to get out at their stations. People talking animatedly on their mobiles while grabbing a snack. Sweat, temper, stress, noise- rush, rush rush!
Time is the most valuable resource for all of us. We just have 24 hours in the day and want to achieve everything in it. Speed and quality are key today. In the modern world, our client calls 5 minutes after sending an e-mail wanting responses. Time is perishable and speed meets opportunity. We need to work yet find the time to eat, sleep, and rejuvenate. The desire to achieve more in a shorter period of time has made us hamsters running round and round our track. Where are we going?
A time value mindset helps you to prioritise, plan and manage your day efficiently. It may slow us down marginally but boosts your focus to deliver quality and leave you less stressed. Ultimately even achieve the impossible- a work life balance! Here are a few simple steps to evolve to a ‘time value’ mindset.
Pause and breathe
Every crisis consultant will tell you to pause. Yes, you have a fire burning which has to be put off but are you running around mindfully or mindlessly. As much as we think that we can multitask endlessly even a juggler has a limit, add one more ball to the ones he is juggling with and his juggling becomes a disaster. But the idea to pause is to gather ourselves, examine our actions quickly and then move forward. As time is always limited, its good to take periodic pauses, map progress, if need be reprioritise and then make calculated moves. Otherwise you just execute, keep executing and find that you are going round and round in circles and not getting anywhere.
Plan your time usage
A ‘time value’ mindset actually is about valuing your time. Every minute makes a difference. And of course, it all begins with planning. Efficient people not only plan their day well but also keep a buffer for contingencies. When you plan your time usage you will find that over time, a pattern forms and everything smoothens out. You need to have a strict discipline about how you spend your time, however you are not superman yet (I hope) and we tend to procrastinate or tell yourself “I will do this tomorrow”. Then what happens is a chain reaction. You carry over work to the next day and because of your next day’s work carry some tasks to the next day till you create an undaunting pile of past work ahead of your day, which neither motivates or encourages you.
Track your ‘to do’ list
The simplest and the most practical way to evolve to a ‘time value’ mindset is to create a ‘to do list’ every morning. I know some people who create this list for the next day before they log off from work. However, this ‘to do’ list can backfire if not done thoughtfully. So, see what’s urgent and important and add them in your list based on priority. If you are a morning person plan the toughest tasks in the morning. Don’t over fill your plate. Take on what you know you can do and what has to be done. Keep a buffer. If you have meetings, keep time to prep, take into account your traveling if you have external meeting. Flexibility is great but dont use it as an excuse to shovel your work under the carpet. It can always be discovered later.
Keep time to reboot and enough time to sleep and laugh. It really helps!
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot” Michael Altshuler
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