For most people, time management means organizing yourself around the most important tasks or making efforts to squeeze more in a day. Too few pay the attention they should to those little time wasters that can make a huge hole in our time. When we fail to manage these little time wasters efficiently, we actually fail to move forward towards our goals because the energy that easily goes into the former is energy that could have been employed for the accomplishing of the latter.
While getting rid of the major time wasters is usually about our ability to manage ourselves (in terms of energy and prioritization), getting rid of the smaller time wasters is often seen as being about the ability to handle people and distractions. Big or small, time wasters are related to our habits and our routines. When we operate on time wasters, we operate on our internal structure and our acquired behavior. Getting rid of time wasters takes, well…time. It’s a process of undoing what you’ve taught yourself to do through repetition. It takes repetition to undo repetition.
Communication/interaction has been indicated as the central theme of small time wasters. If we think about it, it makes perfect sense. All conflicts between people as well as the lack of progress in relationships, regardless of the latter’s nature, originate from poor communication. Poor communication is often just poor timing. For example, if we waste five minutes of our energy and time in an irrelevant talk that should have taken 50 seconds and we do that a few times during the day, unknowingly we might just build frustration and irritation that will unleash later on, when we should really spend more time in a relevant talk but for which we no longer seem to have the necessary energy and patience.
We might call them little time wasters but in fact the amount of time they can rob us of (in time) can be shocking. So the first thing we need to be clear about is that the way we interact with people and manage our relationships is closely connected to the amount of time we waste day to day. It’s not enough that we try to discipline ourselves and organize our time more efficiently. Unless we are transparent with some of our habits and practices so that others can be aware of the things that matter to us and learn to respect them, our progress in terms of productivity is going to be quite limited.
Even though initially you feel a lack of support from the others and their eyebrows plunge into a frown when you try to explain your practices, don’t give up. Those who care about you will understand. You could also encourage them to try some of those habits and see if they work for them and help them improve their effectiveness (without patronizing them) and even ask for an exchange of ideas on the subject. The point is to make people see there’s nothing personal in your attitude, and that you just want to become a better achiever and you can inspire them to do the same. When people see the results of your new efforts, they will appreciate you more and you will find more open doors on the path to reaching your goals than ever before.
Since we are all different, it means that there must be more than one method and strategy when trying to get something done. This remains true for managing our time as well. Don’t blame yourself that a certain technique that seems to be working for everybody else doesn’t seem to work on you. Just find the one that does and don’t get caught up in a quest drama either. If you really want to improve your time management skills you really need to improve your knowledge about yourself, find out how you ‘function’ and what you can use for your purpose.
Time management is about the choices you make. The choices you make are about who you are and what you know. Who you are is about what goals and purpose you have in life. Learn what your priorities and goals are, what your qualities and skills are, what your flaws and weaknesses are. Learn to be responsible for the way you spend your time and what it gets you.