The word that comes screaming out at me whenever I am talking about time management and that question is asked of me, and it is asked surprisingly often is, “relative”. The quick answer is yes, the long answer is, does it really matter?
I have a hard time not sounding like a zealot when it comes to time management and the misuse of it, as well as the way people dismisses the very notion that they may not be using their time properly. I recently had an interchange with some; it was too brief to be considered a conversation, where he outright dismissed even the possibility that he could benefit from perhaps using his time more appropriately. He could not get the words out fast enough in his denial that he could benefit from any help in looking at ways that he could benefit from organizing and using his time better.
Let’s deal with the core question, does thinking about how you use and organize your time; actually take time away from doing other things? I am having a hard time with that one because the process that I use to plan my day and my time is so integrated into my day-to-day routine; it’s not something that I can easily answer.
I can best answer it this way: if you spend 10 hours a day at “work”, what ever that is, and you decide to actually start spending some time on making sure you use those 10 hours to your best advantage and will you now have to spend 11 hours a day to do it, the answer is no. The reason I have a hard time answering that question is that I do not separate the time I spend doing things and the time I may spend on making sure what I do and when I do it are in proper sync.
This is where the term “relative” comes in. Trying to convince people to spend some time, to get huge benefits back to them, is much harder than you may think. Once they have taken the plunge, and see for themselves the benefits they get, the time in versus the benefits out is no longer an issue. Nothing gets people motivated and on board more than seeing results that directly affects them.
Unfortunately, what I say will come out to some degree as a sales pitch, I do have time management and related materials for sale, that is undeniable, moving past that for a moment, I want to deal with a related issue that is closely aligned with this topic, does managing my time, take time. My dilemma is trying to get people to take the plunge, spend some time and see the benefits to them, and then make the decision of whether the benefits out weigh the disadvantages.
The reality of the situation is usually this, the people who need to invest some initial time in getting straightened away, are the ones that are in the worse situation in terms of what they perceive as their availability of time. The ones who need the help the most, are the ones who also see themselves in a position that what ever time it will require to take charge and control of their time, is time they simply do not have to invest.
This creates a vicious circle, the less time they spend on making sure they are using their time properly, they continue to make poorer and poorer decisions, getting less and value from their time and effort, creating the felling of being in a hopeless situation that is spiraling faster and faster out of control. I sometimes lighten getting people to spend some time, in order to be able to make better decisions about what and when you do things to the person who is drowning in the middle of a lake and when you say to him, “ hey, catch this life line I am going to throw to you, “ he shouts out, “ don’t bother I don’t have time to catch it.“
The question we should have ourselves asking is not will it take time for me to properly manage my time, but, can I afford not to spend what ever time it will take to gain back control of our time and then put us in a position to maximize our time, energy and resources. When you find yourself in a position that you are fully maximizing your time, you will realize that whatever time, effort and resources you spend to get there was well worth the expenditure.