We have not only invented time and its various measurements (seconds/milliseconds, days, centuries, millenniums); but we’re also able to give meaning in the usage of time when an experience was felt or when a task was done.
The highly organized structure of human society gives us the ability to limit our physical and mental space. Our environment is composed of objects and things that we have invented, and associated with these are the labels and concepts that define their existence. For example, medicines have expiration dates, which give us the time period to use them within their period of potency. We have birthdays, wedding dates, anniversaries, and other special dates to recognize as important events, as they signal significant changes or developments in our lives.
We have also created the working periods in which human efficiency and environmental conditions are considered to maintain balance. Just imagine the importance of rest and sleep and the rhythm/cycle that is followed in the creation of our work, play, and learning schedules. Thus, we are able to measure and define things according to their proper space in what we measure as time.
However, things are not always perfect, or should we say that time may not be perfect, all the time. There are stumbling blocks along the path towards success. One of these is the lack of time to reach your aims. The improper use of time, the wrong utilization of resources, or the undertaking of unnecessary tasks within a given period might cause these delays or time wastage.
Most people also commit mistakes because they’re not able to accurately perceive the proper time to do a given work, or because of unforeseen circumstances and delays. In these cases, we must consider the best ways to utilize our time. We must expect the limits of time in defining our tasks and goals.
Time Management is one human organizational aspect that we should give utmost consideration to. This form of management (either as part of self-improvement or within the level of professional work) is the process of perceiving the measured changes/developments and closely monitoring how we utilize our skills and labor capacity within a limited period. By analyzing our “work styles,” along with the development of other processes (machine works, transportation, communication), we can lay down basic foundation in which we can assess our development as individuals.
Part of this development is our ability to make plans and revise/improve our working conditions. The fluidity of time – its restriction or leeway – should be considered in making plans, in organizing, and in bringing out the efficiency of each individual to create a smooth work flow.
However, Time Management is also a part of an individual learning experience in getting along with other people and with changes in the environment. Practically speaking, time is constant: 60 seconds per minute, 60 minutes per hour, 24 hours per day, 7 days a week (24/7). However, the usage of time differs among each individual. Some might give time the capacity to control their lives, and others may find themselves a slave of time. Some might have no time at all to relax and create a stress-free lifestyle. But the bottom-line is not to make time an enemy. One must have time to think of things in order, to plan ways to minimize waste of time, energy, and valuable resources.
Effective time management involves patience and practical thinking. Time and the natural changes in the environment may be modified but in the end, we should follow the natural order of things. Remember that “Haste makes waste.” Yet you must also think about the saying “There’s no day but today.” On the other hand, we can use tools and ideas that could improve our efficiency in using time. There are things, like energy (fuel), that are not renewable; and there are moments that are irreplaceable. Actually, we can say that a thing done or a past experience cannot be recreated.
However, we can expect these changes and prepare ourselves for better or worse scenarios. We cannot control time but we can make adjustments based on a given moment. Learning or studying something to achieve mastery is one good example where we can minimize errors or develop ourselves amidst the ever-changing times. During this period of learning, we must maximize the given resources (including time) to fully develop a skill or to acquire knowledge so that by the time we need such skill, we won’t be wasting hours just by learning the necessary human adaptation to solve a problem.
One who is able to prepare for a number of possibilities upon entering a situation may have more time to think of the moves and decision to take to minimize the possibilities of errors. Here are the necessary pre-requisites to help you manage your time effectively:
1. Think of goals and aims as necessary achievements. In achieving your desired goals, you should start with a positive outlook. You must be excited with the challenges and tasks that you have to do to give you the right start or motivation. However, you should also see the path towards your goals in concrete terms.
These achievements or aims can be reached by becoming realistic and by knowing your directions. Think of the scenarios of success but you should also recognize the fact that these roads have to be traversed in a given time. This way, you are not only looking at the possibility of success, but you are also giving yourself the right motivation and the proper time to prepare for a fresh start and achieve your goals at the soonest possible time.
2. Think of the time frame in achieving goals and aims. You are to do a task at a particular time. As you begin planning your strategies, you must also look forward and recognize your time frames in doing such tasks.
Time frames are the periods you are giving yourself to finish a task. These are just estimates or approximations since you are not the sole factor that will contribute in finishing the given task. Be wary of the processes in your environment; for example, if you are to write a book or an article, consider the time you are giving yourself for this activity.
However, since you are also doing other things, you cannot devote your entire time in doing the said endeavor. Finally, think of the flow of things or the movement of time in your daily life as you move forward in achieving your desired goals. Think of your other activities that might affect the time factor in finishing given tasks.
You might be spending too much time on a very idle activity (like too many late night parties or soirées or a whole day in front of your computer playing online games) that will give you less time to go on with your plan towards self-fulfillment and success.
3. Be realistic and expect changes. Time Management involves flexibility and open-mindedness. Do not expect that you can finish a task in what you’ve considered as your time frame unless everything is laid down perfectly. You should allot some allowance in your time frame, probably for the sake of the unforeseen or unexpected circumstances.
Remember that contradicting factors bring development so don’t be upset with these changes since everything is undergoing a sort of a synthesis. For example, you already made your business plan and a lot of careful considerations have been completed, including the period in which you expect your business to give you financial and personal satisfaction.
However, during the course of execution or theory application, there are other factors or changes, which you have not included in your feasibility study. In this case, time should not be wasted in complaining about things or about people surrounding your path. Instead of becoming immobile or paralyzed with the situation, cope up and be flexible by accepting such changes.
Level the playing field with innovative strategies based on the situation and knowledge you will acquire from your experience in doing the task. Maximize your time by examining your errors and by moving on with solutions that will sustain whatever efforts you have given to traverse difficult situations and challenges.
4. Know your work style. You are a time clock too. You work with your habits, your cycles, and bodily rhythms. You sleep, eat, exercise, read a book, or cook with either efficiency or a sloppy lifestyle. Of course you wouldn’t want to be caught like a snail and be crushed with pressures because of limited time, so it would be better if you will give yourself some time to think about yourself.
Know how fast you can work on things. And if it’s not as good as others, try to make some improvements. This may be difficult since habits and lifestyles have become personal markers themselves that give you the idea of your daily routines or tasks.
Taking three meals a day will remind you of other things you must do after eating like brushing your teeth or going to the toilet or having a 15-minute nap. Your sleeping habits and work efficiency are based on what you’ve grown-up with as an individual – you may either stay late at night or sleep early, as what you’ve been taught or what your household has been doing since you’re a child.
Finally, examine yourself and know how fast you can work on things, like typing or encoding words in a computer, filing office data, writing a term paper, or even reading a book. You don’t need to know the exact time but at least, you will have an approximate measurement of how long you can finish such task.
5. Know your environment or workplace. Your house has a time of its own, your office has schedules, and your neighborhood has activities to offer. You are surrounded by these time schedules. It would be better if you would be conscious of the time flow in your surroundings. The daily tasks in your house are definitely main factors in determining your personal time. More so, your working hours are defined by the nature of your work and your workplace.
The activities by the people around you may affect your strategies and daily endeavors. Finally, you are not alone in your workplace and other people are also wary of their time and schedules. All of these would affect your time frames and you must be in-synched with all of these to manage your limited time hassle-free.
6. Make Plans. Planning, like in any other preparations, is a way of saving time for errors. Mistakes usually happen because of unexpected and unforeseen factors such as wrong estimates of resources or the entry of new variables in solving a problem. However, with the proper plan and preparation, these unforeseen circumstances can be expected as well as minimized. In such way, you may still finish the task in a given time.
By considering the above-mentioned factors, you are not only giving yourself a period to reflect on how time flows in your life. You are also recognizing the factor that affects time and its fluidity. You will not be drowned because of the seemingly uncontrollable flow but you can now swim with the waves that time brings about.