We all sometimes feel there’s not enough hours in a day to get everything done – but how you think about the time you have matters. You can measure time by the hands on a clock or you can choose to manage it in real time. In clock time we have 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year. In real time, it can fly or can drag based on how you view what you are doing.
There are mountains of books and systems out there for time management. Science says the reason most don’t work is because they are designed to manage clock time. The thing about real time is that it is mental – you create and manage it. So you can master it.
Five tips from NASA for managing your real time:
- Use a desk diary and allow time for travel, calls and other unseen time wasters – the more organised you are, the better you will manage your time.
- Go offline by turning your phone and email off to get vital things done. The world will wait.
- Limit distractions. Log out of social media unless you are using it as a business tool and turn off notifications. Tell people you have a meeting, leave your desk and work in a room or at a whiteboard away from your screen.
- Remember Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto’s 80/20 rule – 20% of your efforts will account for 80% of your results. Do what matters the most, first.
- Set deadlines and block out time to complete specific tasks. A little reward at the end helps!
Above all, don’t confuse thinking about, meeting about and procrastinating about work as actually working.