The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.     
Albert Einstein

Chaos in the midst of chaos isn’t funny, but chaos in the midst of order is.     
Steve Martin

Photo by Jiyeon Park on Unsplash

By Etienne Pretorius Wednesday, 31 July 2019

So, I am sitting down having coffee with a friend. We are discussing how busy he has been and how he has taken on more responsibility. He is enjoying the challenges and projects he’s working through but not the new pressures on his time. I realise that I have experienced the same and that I have learnt a few lessons. I have also learnt a little humility and diplomacy lately. Some of that learning was from this same man. So I thought about how I would pitch a time management strategy to my friend without putting him on the back foot, and I could return the favour. Let’s focus on time management for now and I will share the humility and diplomacy lessons in another article.

There were two primary questions I asked him. First, what activity dominated the time, and two, did you measure where you spent your time? I explained that these were fundamental questions and only the beginning of change. It was ‘change’ that needed to take place to take back control and bringing the order. God is a person of order and will only bless your time when it is managed and in order. The learning curve extended to other improvements, but these must wait until you master the fundamental stuff.

When I discussed the first point, I suggested that ‘people’ probably dominated his time. It’s an important function in many people’s lives, and often a rewarding one. However, it can frustrate when people linger and are needy for attention. We need to evaluate our ‘people connection’ and clinically test whether value add occurs during each conversation we have. Do we continue the conversation? Do we politely conclude and move into the next task? Do we avoid the conversation entirely? We also need to test whether we are contributing toward the conversation. We need to assess the person we are talking with. Are they a confidant, a comrade or a constituent to your cause? Are they mentee, colleague or mentor? The type of relationship determined the type of conversation we should be having. This is important to keep each conversation on focus and adding value.

The second point suggests that there is a benefit in measuring where time has been spent. Reflection offers two benefits. The first being that you get to either celebrate things that have been done successfully or correct oneself at the end of each day for lack of focus, instead of over-committing each hour and then berating yourself after. It’s still a good idea to use your diary to plan appointments and tasks. All I am saying, it’s a good idea to allow yourself to amend the calendar at the end of each day to establish how productive your day has been. 

I admire my friends’ need to pursue change. There is a disease of contentment that we need to cast from our lives. It seems my friend does not have such a problem. In fact, I suspect he will be ready for the next change before he knows it.

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