A few years ago, I attended a Time Management training in a reputed organization. I was naturally hard-pressed for time and wanted to manage it effectively like many of my peers.

The session started on time and the trainer helped us come up with a time-table to manage our time – a blanket solution! However, did that time-table match with the real-time scenarios? Absolutely not!

We were then shown a few videos of a country which had an amazing work culture, where lesser commute time due to a robust transport system helped employees manage their time better. I, being the inquisitive “out-of-the-textbook” thinker asked him “These videos are from a different country. Why don’t you help us chalk out a time-table which is customised to the place we live and work in? Here, the distance from our homes to work locations like ITPL, Electronic City, Manyata, Global Village etc (I am sure many of you who are reading my blog can relate to it ) is way too much and it is an arduous journey on a daily basis. This generic time-table doesn’t work for us!

I did not get a suitable solution back then. However, I felt that a blanket solution is not a solution at all and this life-skill called time management is a huge challenge in itself. Infact, I personally believe in what the legendary Brian Tracy says – “Time is the one indispensable and irreplaceable resource of accomplishment.” This resource does need a deeper level of understanding and efforts to manage it than keeping a mere generic time-table!

Below are my perspectives on this life-skill and what works for me may work for many of you too. Remember, time management techniques need to unique to each one of us. That’s when it will work!

Identify The Time-Guzzlers

Whether you associate time with money, consider it as a precious bank account with a deposit of 86,400 precious seconds at the beginning of each day or any other analogy, it is your choice.

The point is – out of these 86,400 seconds per day, how much time is guzzled up by unwanted emotions, distractions and so on …

  1. Start brooding on a past incident when you are supposed to be doing something else. Before you know it, one hour would have gone by.
  2. Indecisive about a certain course of action … Well! You have a leaky faucet with time dripping minute by minute.
  3. Procrastinating actions for a “better time” to come by? Well! Time will always be at it’s best. We need to become better at managing it. That is all.
  4. Keep worrying about your future and you will see the present waving goodbye to you.
  5. And a lot more …

At the end of all these, if we ask “Where is the time to do X,Y,Z ….well! we have to answer ourselves.

Imagine a strong and fast flowing river current. Imagine getting gold nuggets floating on it from time to time. Now, those are the only pockets of time available to one and all. It all depends on how you grab it first and then use it.

Make A Real-Time Time-Table

I am certainly not an advocate of a generic time-table as I believe that this life managerial skill requires much more than this.

I would only say it’s better to practice adaptability and flexibility such that you are able to squeeze in time for various kind of activities apart from the regular work schedule.

Suppose you actually want to read a book for an hour daily (remember, successful people do follow this one productive habit) and your hectic schedule doesn’t allow it due to shortage of time. Then, choose an audio book instead. Combine commute + learning within the commute time. Two birds, one stone! You will also not get frustrated by the traffic woes and will be your calmer self.

Suppose you want to make fitness a part of your daily life and are not able to go for it every morning. Try to go for it during your workday atleast. You will end up feeling a lot more energised and inturn save that time which you would have otherwise spent in a sluggish manner. Again, two birds, one stone! You save your time and also utilize it for a better purpose.

There are numerous other examples wherein you can surely find a workaround for your “I do not have time!” issues. Think about it!

Also, do you want to multiply the time in hand? “Self-Discipline Strategist” Rory Vaden puts across a brilliant strategy for the same. Watch the video …

Manage Your Focus To Manage Your Time

One of our clients remarked “It is enough for me if my boss allows me to do my work! I will find time by myself!” This is an issue which scores of people are actually facing. However, what’s actually happening is they are losing their focus which inturn leads to time loss.

If you are facing similar issues wherein you are losing time due to lack of focus on what you are doing, then it’s high time to set it right.

Imagine! Our attention span is short and in the midst of this, if we keep giving prominence to stuffs which drag us away from our actual work there is no way we can actually stop the wastage of the available time, let alone finding time to do other things.

Come up with a strategy so that you are able to remain focused on any task you lay your hands on for as long as it’s required.

This habit of focusing on the required actions will also help you further fine-tune how you can utilize the available time.

Follow the above 3 steps and you will surely have a sizable chunk of time in your hands!

Time is not just a part of your life but life itself and therefore way too precious to mismanage it!

Originally published at satishrao.in