Time cannot be managed, but how you spend it can
Being pulled into twenty different directions at once almost feels commonplace these days. Everyone reaches a point, at some time, where they say the proverbial “enough is enough,” and they know it is time to get things under control. Before control can be exerted, a level of understanding must be achieved.
Time, but not the theoretical Steven Hawkins type of time, but instead a detailed inventory of how time is spent. Once this information is accurately captured, it allows an individual to make evaluations on how time was spent. Hindsight is not 20/20 when trying to track time, only a real-time capturing will be accurate enough.
A time log is incredibly revealing, and an accurate log with show exactly the time and activities spent throughout the day. This is one of the most critical pieces of understanding needed to help one get organized, and reclaim that sense of control.
A simple log, like a tablet with the date at the top of each page will do just fine. Write the start, stop and actions for all time spent. Track time 24/7 for 2 weeks, two or three times per year to really keep yourself on track. Do not review the logs until the two weeks have passed, and then take a real hard look at where all the time was spent.
The magic comes from the realization of how much unproductive time was spent on low priority activities, or activities that should have been delegated. We often work on tasks that should be completed by someone else; we tell ourselves we can do it faster or better, but look at what we gave up. All that time is now lost forever.
What is worse, we see time spent on tasks that did not provide long-term value. These actions should have never been completed at all. How much of the time spent could have been re-purposed to more productive long-term value building actions? Serious questions must be asked and answered.
The process is not easy, but the rewards are well worth the irritation of writing down every little bit of time. I mean, every little bit. Take an inventory of time and understand it. It will provide the foundation to make serious choices about how, what, and where time is spent.
Time is a resource that once spent can never be recovered. Use it wisely.
8 thoughts on “Time cannot be managed, but how you spend it can”
very useful article. i’ll start the 2-weeks log immediately.
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Zidni — As Simon said, take a look at Peter Drucker’s ‘The Effective Executive’. I have since read this book and it is outstanding. I know know where my mentor got the idea. This book is packed with great information.
I bought the book last week and read the first chapter. It definitely looks great.
Over the last couple of years I have greatly increased the amount of reading I do, and I am a bit humbled that most of what I have practiced or was taught to me by various mentors is contained in those pages.