Tue | Oct 23, 2018

Stop wasting your time!

Published:Sunday | September 20, 2015 | 12:00 AM

In conducting Time & Task Management workshops for many years, I have found that less than five per cent of participants believe that they have enough time. Still less believe that they have control over their time.

It gets worse. To date, no one has convincingly won my 168-hour challenge. Take the challenge and see how much time you are wasting.

We have 24 x 7 = 168 hours each week. Using traditional workweek figures, it means that, each week, we have four shifts plus one eight-hour day each week. The challenge is to assume that you were reporting to a strict supervisor for each shift/day. In that context, justify your effective use and performance on each of the four shifts plus your eight-hour part-time engagement.

A quick disclaimer: This is not about being robots and putting in mega working hours. This is about leading a holistic life that is balanced and fulfilling. You might decide not to allocate a single hour to work.

For example, you could decide to invest your time and resources in rest and relaxation (R&R). But even then, could you satisfy your five supervisors about your performance on each shift? Would the hours spent TV-watching qualify as effective R&R?

The challenge is to justify your effective use of the four shifts plus one work day that you are given every single week.

The consistent realisation is that we have hours that we can't account for. We can't identify where they went, and we are unable to allocate them to any category other than - miscellaneous (more correctly, missing.)

Yet, time is our most valuable asset.

Reflect for a moment on a recent well-spent hour. What if you could add eight of those each week, year after year?

My promise is that, if you dedicate eight structured hours per week to any endeavour, you are going to develop very high levels of proficiency at it. You could achieve almost anything.

Recovering one hour per day for more effective use can transform your life. Make a commitment now to identify more effective use for eight hours each week.

You can break it up. You could do 30 minutes in the morning or at lunchtime, and another 30 minutes in the evening. Others might prefer to block out chunks of three hours twice per week, plus two one-hour sessions on the weekend. (This is the formal study model).

You can also target different areas and objectives. Devotion early morning, exercise late afternoon, professional development early evening, and proper R&R thereafter.

I recommend eight areas that should be addressed to achieve a balanced and fulfilled life (not in order of importance).

1. Family

2. Career

3. Spiritual

4. Social interaction

5. Financial stability

6. Health

7. Personal development

8. Leisure

Imagine that there is consensus among doctors that you have six months to live. Get a sheet of paper. Draw a line down the middle. Shut out all distractions.

Spend the next 10 minutes listing on the left 'Things I will do' and on the right 'Things I will not do'.

It is amazing how different those lists are from your current reality. Things that dominate your thoughts lose their importance and neglected areas come to the fore: 'Will', 'God', 'Travel', 'Relationships' are constants. 'Work' heads the list on the right. The truth is in reality we might have less than six months left. Take the time to make the best use of today.

Send your 168-hour challenge to me and complete a very private 'Do/Not Do list'. BOMDAS followers we are at Addition: Brackets|Of|Multiplication|Division|Addition|Subtraction.

To access this entire series, go to http://jamaica-gleaner.com/ Enter in search: Outlook Trevor E S Smith

Register now for the SHRM-accredited 3-D Leader Certification course or the next cohort of the ICF-accredited Certified Behavioural Coach Award. Great use of your time!

Email: info@swpacademy.com

• Trevor E. S. Smith is a behaviour modification coach with the Success with People Academy, Extended DISC/FinxS.