Freedom From Business as Usual (Part 3)

The purpose of time is to learn how to use it

This weekend was daylight savings time and we all moved our clocks one hour forward. What did you notice more – the longer day filled with sunshine or that you had one less hour?

As we spent the longer day outside, I remembered something I read about time, “the purpose of time is to learn how to use it”.  So instead of managing our time today, this week and this month what if we did something radical and learned how to use it.

How can we learn to use our time?  Let’s look at TIME differently.

T – Take back control

How often have you walked into your office, sat down at your computer, and opened your email inbox only to look up and realize two hours are gone and you have a meeting in five minutes?  Or how often have you sat down on your couch after a long day, turned on the TV and suddenly three hours have passed? How can you take back control? Decide how you want to spend your time and then ruthlessly create boundaries around your minutes, hours and days putting you back in the driver’s seat of your time.

I – Invest your time

Time is a commodity. As we learned this weekend, we cannot get that one hour back.  So, if time is a commodity, just like our money, how can we make intentional investment decisions about our time? What are your goals – personal and professional?  What do you value?  Who is important to you?  What’s on your “bucket list”? After you have answered each of these questions, look at your calendar – your investment statement – and see how you are investing your time. Do you have time blocked to work on your goals? Do you have lunch scheduled with a friend or loved one? Have you invested time to just have fun?

M – Minimize time nibblers

We all have them, those pesky little tasks or well-meaning people who nibble away at our time. Time is valuable and we are on a radical new path to learn how to use time, so let’s minimize our time nibblers. You can start by batching or grouping like tasks together. For example, make all of your phone calls at one time. This strategy will help you minimize the time lost in multitasking or task switching so you can get those tasks done. Decide what you are not going to do. How important is the task – really? Acknowledge the well-meaning colleague who stops by your desk each morning and tell them you are on this radical new path and only have 2 minutes to talk.  Watch what happens.

E – Engage with technology

When thoughtfully applied, engaging with technology can be a powerful tool to invest your time. Where can technology do something faster or more efficiently for you?  Take a quick look around your office and your home and ask yourself is there a technology tool that could make this task easier or more efficient. There are three apps that fall into this category for me - Peekabo Mobile finds coupons and promotions that are within a 50 mile radius and are redeemable from my phone, ScanBizCards scans business cards and Shoeboxed tracks all of your on the go expenses by processing scanned receipts and uploading them to an online account.

It will not get dark today until almost 7 pm.  What are you going to do with all of that extra daylight? Are you going to do something radical?  Maybe, look at TIME differently and learn how to use it so your life is rich, full and meaningful?

If you’d like more, please consider attending ASTD 2013