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A Guide to Managing Time

Introduction - The Problem with Time

The only problem with time is that there is never enough of it. There always seems to be too much to do and too little time available in which to do it. No time to think. No time to ‘just stand and stare’. No time for ourselves.

We tell ourselves that we need MORE time. But we cannot create more. And even if we could would it actually make any difference? If we had an extra hour or two added to each day would it change things? Or would we simply fill it up with our busy activity, just as we are doing now?

More time is not a solution. The only solution is to make better use of the time that exists. We are all used to the importance of doing things right. The skill in managing time is to also be doing the right things.

This means focusing on what is important and knowing what comes first. But this usually does not come naturally to us. Our instincts are to react – to deal with the urgent things, the quick tasks, the people who are demanding our attention and the phone that is ringing. Our mind switches instantly from one thought or stimulus to another. It was not designed to focus on one thing at a time to the exclusion of all else.

If our ancestors had not had this facility to be constantly on the alert for what was going on around them they would not have survived and we would not be here now.

And we are always busy. Too busy with the urgent things to have time for the important ones. The important things are rarely urgent, just like the urgent things are rarely important. And so the important things get left ‘until we have the time’, which of course we never have.

And so the important things then also become urgent, and so we rush to do them at the last minute as the deadlines crowd in.

Managing time is a way of breaking this spiral. It is a way of creating an overview of everything that is important and of identifying what needs to be done and what comes first. It needs skill and discipline to be able to maintain focus on what matters and to deal with distractions. And the ability to balance the need to be flexible and available to help others with the need to make time for the things that count.

If you are ready to start travelling this road follow the links to the right.



> Introduction
The Problem with Time

1. The Vision Thing: Creating an Overview
Doing the right thing

2. Priorities: First Things First
What needs to be done and what comes first

3. Working the Plan:
Making time for the important things

4. Delegation:
Getting more done through others

5. Procrastination:
Think positive and do it now!

6. Perfect, Perfect, Perfection:
Quantity versus quality - Knowing when to move on

7. Putting Time Management to Work:
So much for the theory, now for the practice