paradox of time…..

timeUntil we manage time, we can manage nothing else – famous quote from Peter Drucker!

How often have we felt the non-availability of time to do something – spending some moments with our near and dear ones, catching up with a friend we haven’t met in a while, taking a stroll, going for a drive, managing our bosses…

Time is something we all feel we do not have enough of. Some argue it is the only currency we have so must spend it well. Then there is also the belief  that it is not the lack of time we suffer from but the way we treat or think about it. Such is the paradox of time – for many of us it is the least considered, worst managed and yet the most valuable of all resources.

What we perhaps need are ideas and approaches to organising ourselves and getting things done. So we do not need more time management – we really need more thought management!!

The problem in time management approach is the feeling that we have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Many many people are stressed by the weight of unfinished tasks. From the mumdane to the serious, these tasks are often poorly defined and unresolved. The mental clutter of this list makes it difficult for us to properly manage them, to prioritise, to meet deadlines or even to complete them at all.

As long as our minds are crowded with clutter, it is almost impossible to manage our thoughts and therefore tasks properly. A 2 step approach as suggested by a guru has often been found to provide solution to some of the above :

– reframe your thinking to replace the notion of time management with the more effective thought organisation

– once you have got the thoughts sorted out, implement action management – making appropriate choices about what to do at any point of time. Logically sequenced activities that can be tracked, based on your priorities.

We all need our managers to spend some really good quality developmental and coaching time with us – personal as well as for business. Those that are plagued with the paucity of time syndrome can hardly fulfil this critical obligation. As a result a lot gets compromised and people feel a general lack of direction. Moving from an activity to another, being visibly busy without getting commensurate benefits and output.

Can tell you from my personal experience – I suffered hugely from not being diligent and thoughtful about this crucial aspect till quite recently. Gave a go-by to so many of my own personal preferences. Simply not worth it in the short-mid-long run!!

Manage it well and see your energy levels go up and stress levels come down, with both personal and professional lives getting enriched!

best wishes


9 thoughts on “paradox of time…..

  1. I don’t know how many people have expereinced this – the day when you have to leave early from work because you may have a dental appointment, pick-up car from service, relatives to pick-up, take child to doctor, etc….I have realized, I would have finished most of my work in lesser time than the usual day. I guess, we are more organized, prioritize work, have a time goal in mind…..right?

    I would also say, when you are happy, energized and motivated, then you are best at your work. The day your child has won a game at school, he will be very motivated to finish his/her home work on time.

    Besides prioritizing, sometimes finishing the most difficult task first, also helps!

    1. as they say, work and efficiency expand or contract to fill time. And the point on children is so relevant – I am sure most of us parents would have personal experiences to relate to…..

  2. Hi,

    I have had this question that has been eating into every recent free moment…I personally treasure that thoughleaders on this blog and though it would be be great to get some solid thoughts…so here goes…

    Being an engineer and that too in Industrial Chemistry…there is this perinial itch to balance out equations :-)…and hey, when we talk about a work-life balance….we are probably refering to a complex equation that desperately shouts out aloud to be balanced.

    My perspective or rather the confusion is as follows (and i think that you might need to go donkeys-years back to relate to this 🙂 )

    The equation in the time-space continium is clearly about 4 main dimensions and multiple variables…the dimensions include TIME, WORK, FAMILY, and ME…yes, if you think about it…ME-TIME plays a very important role…

    So, what does a person do? and what is the best way to form a support group at work with people in the same boat?

    A brief description of the variables and dimensions could include…2 years in marrige, 2 years into a new company (yup, it is still new), a totally new portfolio to address…5 months into H1, a desperate itch to do every thing better at work (to live rather than exist)…to upsell, to cross sell, 5 months to go before full recovery of an operated knee, next to minimal support eco-system…a loving mother who has an asthama attach whenever she hears about pink-slips, a loving and supporting wife (so far) who is finally getting an opportunity to explore the depth of her creativity without having to worry about a CTC or SIH factor…and finally that individual who loved photography, drumming, reading and partying…but currently only finds just about 3-4 hours of time (16-18 hours @ work, 2 hours drive) and utilizes it for sleeping…

    How does one equate these variables…leaving enough lee-way to every changing customer scenarios?

    Any thoughts?

    1. Have to compliment you on the desire to do everything better – live rather than exist. That is so remarkable and you must stay with that forever as it could be your differentiator. Just that 16-18 hours of work means doing the job of 2 people. I will not suggest the mundane stuff of prioritising etc as I am certain you would have visited that already.

      You seem troubled of having too much to do and not enough time. The good thing is – all of us have exactly the same number of hours to manage our lives daily. You could divide this between your work time, family time, pure self time etc etc – whatever compartments you wish to create. Then be disciplined about not encroaching into one another (could be unavoidable sometimes but by and large stay controlled). Time also becomes available in determining what all you must not do – must give up – instead of continuing to do everything. Let me reinforce the concept of monkey management – the Monkey is defined as the next move. So a careful way of determining what belongs to you and what is a monkey will free you up further. This helps even in the absence of a support eco-system.

      Beyond this, the approach may still require trade-offs – that will be priority driven. So de-cluttering always has a lot to do with thought organisation.

      Said a lot – let me know your views – we should continue to interact.

      best wishes

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