Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Time to Rethink Time Management

Have you ever attended a workshop on time management?

What did you learn from it? Did you consider why you attended that session? Are time management workshops for people who cannot manage their time?

Time management is more than scheduling and prioritizing. Are we expected to do more in a day? Time is a finite measure. There are only 24 hours in a day, and how we utilize each moment is dependent on what we decide as important. I have always been concerned that some trainers of time management workshops do not adequately demonstrate their teaching. If your trainer did not make time to exercise, or decide to eat and sleep properly then I would question their ability to optimize their waking hours.

The reality is: we can make time for whatever we want to accommodate into our day, and our lifestyle. The quality of life corresponds to our quality of time invested into our tasks, relationships and thinking. There is a value attached to our time.

According to recent research, the concept of managing time is about managing your energy. Managing energy means being fit, well rested and focused in our use of energy. Without adequate energy, we cannot lead as effectively as we intend to. Energy is the fuel for sustained motivation, passion and enthusiasm.

When we are energetic, we are capable of doing more things. We can more effectively shift our perspectives and positions. Recall when you are sick, how did you feel about your energy? Did you experience lethargy and a general disinterest in unimportant things? Movement took a colossal effort, and it left you spent and over-extended; energy was siphoned from your resources.

Motivation is about movement, motility and motive. It engages us to do things we like, or dislike. We are motivated by pain or pleasure. Humans tend to move away from our prejudices and move towards our preferences.

Energy comes from our food. Nutrients from our food give us our source of bio-chemicals to create energy. Vitamins, minerals, water, carbohydrates, fats and protein are what our body needs to repair, fuel and grow itself. Rest and recuperation allows our body to heal, get stronger through a process of adaptation.

Having been an endurance athlete for the last six years, I have learnt to appreciate what it has been like to train for marathons (42km) and Ironman triathlons (226km). I have also applied this mindset and lifestyle of an amateur triathlete into my profession. Working longer hours and training about 15-20 hours per week parallels each other. You have to decide on how you use your time, have adequate rest/sleep, and recover fully from each day. You put out what you put into your body. By becoming fit, we can:

1.    Sleep less, and function at a high level
2.    Do more things per unit time (be productive)
3.    Stay alert (at the most critical moments)
4.    Lead others to more purposeful things
5.    Become more “centred” and “focused”
6.    Be less prone to panic during crisis
7.    Make sense of the confusing, and consider multiple perspectives

If you lack the energy, strength and fitness you will be limited in your actions. So, manage your time by managing your energy. It is our source of sustenance and motivation, and our continued interests in others, and ourselves.

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