This post was featured two weeks ago as a Guest Post on the Penandprosperblogpost.com, run by Jennifer Brown Banks , a professional veteran freelance writer and a professional Blogger in USA.
I have kept a bedside alarm clock for as long as I can remember.
Good time management remains a big challenge to all of us and yet it is an integral part of productivity at the workplace and at home. It is crucial if we are to accomplish more with less effort.
Most of us have come across the scripture in the Book of Ecclesiastes chapter three verses one to eight entitled : There is a Time For Everything .
To me it is a constant reminder that life is short but I have to do the best I can while I am still alive.
Each one of us has only 24 hours in a day and the most productive and successful people among us are those who have mastered the craft of using these 24 hours efficiently and effectively.
Time management is about valuing your time and allocating enough time to work to achieve your day’s goals while leaving yourself some time to play and be with your family.
The old adage : All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy still holds.
I always add that : All play and no work makes Jack as poor as a church mouse.
Our bodies have an internal clock known as the Circadian Rhythm- the Sleep –Wake cycle controlled by the master clock in our brains. This master clock is directly influenced by the environment cues of daylight and night time.
During the day, the light stimulates the master clock to send signals to the body systems to stay alert, awake and active. This enables the body to perform at its best during the day.
At night, the darkness stimulates the master clock to initiate the production of Melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep, and keeps transmitting signals that help us to stay asleep throughout the night.
Our bodies need this period of 6-8 hours of sleep to repair and restore themselves and to boost our immune systems to fight off inflammation and infections and cancer cells. Adequate , regular sleep prepares our bodies for the increased daytime activities.
Inadequate sleep of less than 6 hours during the night, causes sleeping problems, high stress levels and a poor- functioning Immune system. Sleep deprivation can lead to some mental disorders like depression and anxiety while a weak immune system can cause recurrent infections , slow healing wounds and high stress levels.
Each one of us has a unique purpose and meaning for her/his life – one’s deep story.
The formal education we undertake enables us to identify and to act out our deep stories later in life as writers, teachers, doctors…… We live our own deep story day-to-day ; struggling to fulfill our potential in every area of our lives- personal, spiritual as well as professional.
This can only be done in the 16 hours we are awake each day. Time like death, is considered the greatest equalizer in life. Every day, we draw up to-do-lists, goal lists and Bucket lists which we hardly honour. This comes out of the feeling that time is never enough.
This quote from an essay: On the Shortness of Life written by Seneca, a Roman statesman and Stoic philosopher clearly identifies where the problem lies:
“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste most of it. Life is long enough if you know how to use it.”
To mitigate against this feeling of being short of time and to get more done in less time, we all have to master the art of Time Management.
This explains why Time Management is considered as one of the four pillars of productivity.
The other three pillars are :
.Task management– collecting and organizing all the stuff you have to do.
.Prioritising- what you do first.
. Focus- a way to reduce distractions and accomplish your goals.
For over eight years I have been a faithful student and follower of Michael Hyatt, an American author, podcaster, blogger and virtual coach. He focuses on leadership, productivity and goal setting in life.
This is what he has to say about how to plan and use your time effectively and efficiently:
- Rest –Start with enough rest at night- 7-8 hours.
- Prioritise- Decide what is most important in your life and do it first. Invest 80% of your time on the 20% most important things to you. Do it day by day, week by week for 52 weeks. Then the “urgent” does not crowd out the most important and it reduces procrastination. It stops you from spending your valuable time on pointless pursuits.
- Batch your work– line up related tasks and do them at once. Like replying and sending emails at the same time.
- Tame your Technology– technology improves our ability to get things done but set limits to its use when doing important things. Put your phone away or switch it off when doing important tasks. Do not allow yourself to become a slave to technology.
- Drop Drudgery– outsource what you do not enjoy doing. It leaves you free to what you love.
ON A FINAL NOTE
I grew up with a father who valued time and “Punctuality” became his middle name. My siblings and I are good at managing time. It creates order in one’s life.
Sadly I came back to a country that has lost the sense of time. The tangled traffic jams in the city compound the problem as well as the frequent heavy rains. I waste a lot of time while moving from point A to point B and back. It also drains some of the energy that I should have used to do more important tasks.
But my father would remind all of us to start the journey early enough to be on time and my devoted teachers would instruct us to carry an umbrella and a rain coat at work and at home.
I myself would share this Japanese quote with you : If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is.
How are you managing time during these unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic restricted times?
In which areas do you struggle?