Managing Time Consciously
Be the master of your Time
Time, like all other resources in the universe, is a wonder to be unlocked. Since the earth completes rotating on its axis once a day, every human being is blessed with 24 hours on a daily basis. Now, it depends upon each individual as to how well one is able to use this resource effectively. When it comes to management, it is imperative to understand if time is managing you or vice versa. Depending upon one of these choices, you can call yourself a ‘slave’ or a ‘master’ of your destiny.
Do these situations sound familiar?
- You have too many tasks on your plate and you are wondering which one to pick first i.e. you find it difficult to prioritize.
- You are a multi-tasker and take up all tasks at one go in excitement but none of them reach completion i.e. you face issues with committing to one task at a time.
- You find it difficult to keep up the pace of the work after lunch hours and feel sleepy or tired i.e. you find it difficult to manage your energies.
- You don’t have a sound sleep because of the long meetings online i.e. your work doesn’t end at the office!
- You are working in a team and people complain that the team is lagging behind because you are too slow at your end in your deliverables i.e. you face challenges in working together.
- You find yourself jumping from one task to the other leaving less room for really reflecting on the reasons for your actions i.e. you are acting without
- You always find yourself in a thinking mode and feel good that you are busy but you are not executing your ideas i.e. you are reflecting without any action.
There can be more situations similar to the above ones where a person always feels that he is running out of time. Moreover, we often see people complaining that they are too busy and don’t have enough time at hand.
According to a research, it has been proven that being busy is actually a myth. The famous philosopher and poet, Henry David Thoreau pointed out on being busy, “It’s not enough to be busy. The question is: what are we busy about?” We might have also asked a similar question to the person who often considers himself to be busy because people actually make time for what is important to them.
Using the Eisenhower’s way
According to Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States, “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important”. While he was in service, he took certain decisions which brought him to invent the model known as ‘Eisenhower matrix’. This model is divided into four quadrants:-
- Important and urgent
- Important and not urgent
- Not important and urgent
- Not important and not urgent
One can divide the day’s work in the above quadrants according to the nature of each task. You may draw the matrix in a journal on paper or on your smartphone/laptop to list the activities which fall under each quadrant. It is best to allot some time for silence and reflection before you go off to sleep!
You can use relaxation/meditation to come to a state of inner quietness. If you feel there is a lot of mental chatter happening, take a few deep breaths to calm down. In that space of silence, reflect on the following questions and write the answers in your diary/laptop/smartphone:-
- What happened during the day?
- What were you ‘being’ that worked out well for you and others?
- What were you ‘being’ that did not work out well for you and others?
- What were you ‘doing’ that worked out well for you and others?
- What were you ‘doing’ that did not work out well for you and others?
Slowly and gradually, reflect on the following set of questions and write the answers in your diary/laptop/smartphone:-
- What are the to-do tasks for the next day?
- What are the important and urgent ones?
- What are the non-important and non-urgent ones?
- What amount of time you would like to allocate to each of the above tasks and in which part of the day?
- What can you do differently to increase your productivity for the next day?
Going to a space of silence again, go off to sleep. This way, your planning for the next day shall get into your subconscious as ‘Sankalpa’ and put off the additional load from your mind. When you get up in the morning, just have a glance at your schedule before you start your day.
1.) Be in tune with nature :- Fix your waking, eating and sleeping time. It may seem difficult to comply with it in the first few days but it will become a habit if you stick on! You will have to put less brains in managing time if you operate according to natural rhythms. It is better to wake up early before sunrise and hence sleep early to be more productive. One may like to have a look at the routines of the people who are successful in their areas.
2.) Time for silence :– Purposely set aside specific time where you are ‘not doing’ anything. Simply be aware of your thoughts and breath like an observer without any analysis. The best times to practice this are the early morning hours when you wake up, after lunch and in the evening.
3.) Balance action and reflection cycle:– To perform at one’s peak, it is important to be consistent in one’s cycle of ‘action’ and ‘reflection’. There are times when one needs to act while in other moments, one needs to reflect on one’s actions.
4.) Make SMART goals :– When you set your short-term or long-term goals, carefully examine if they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.
Are you ready to master your time now?
The clock is ticking, the inside one!
About the Author Kritika Gupta
Certified Heartfulness meditation trainer, Content Consultant and Voice artist. With a master’s in engineering from IIT Delhi, Kritika has experience in working the area of leadership development and in the capacity of an educator at Sahyadri School, Pune. Kritika is an explorer of alternative ways of teaching, learning and living with education and wellness as key areas of interest.