Time Is A Structure

When it is 6 pm in the western part of the United States, it is 2am the next day in London, 9am the next day in China and so on. Time is a structure, not a fixed element in our lives. Time allows us to function within the motion of the earth, the sun and the moon, gives a context to our days and creates a way for us to arrange our lives.

Time can wreak havoc, if we let it. However, if we see it as a human-made structure we may be better able to make the most of time and its place in our lives. Think of time as a structure and see what changes!


photo: linda-perez-johannessen, unsplash.com

Attention Management?

A recent article in the New York Times, Productivity Isn’t About Time Management. It’s About Attention Management by Adam Grant makes a good point about productivity. “Being prolific is not about time management. There are a limited number of hours in the day, and focusing on time management just makes us more aware of how many of those hours we waste.” Grant came to a realization that attention management – the art of focusing on getting things done for the right reasons, in the right places and at the right moments – is what matters.

Time management really is an oxymoron. You can’t manage time, you can only manage yourself. Maintaining and cultivating your focus gets you in a zone that is key to your productivity. What are your priorities this week? Get going on them, excluding distractions and non-priorities, and you may find your week is a highly productive one.


photo: pixel2013, pixabay.com

Time And Quality

timequalityJan VašekstocksnapWhat’s currently winning out in your managing – time or quality? Do you meet your deadlines in an effective manner? Do you have the time you need to do a quality job or does the quality of your work suffer because your time is limited? Even though many circumstances are beyond your control, the choice is still yours. If quality is paramount to you, make room for it. If time is paramount, decide what level of quality you will maintain, when your time is limited.

Sometimes you can lose on both fronts. You can rush through things and quality suffers. You can take all the time you need to produce quality and deadlines are missed and efficiency is ignored.

In a perfect world, you would have the time you need to do a high quality job. It becomes a matter of balance – how do you balance your desire to do a quality job with the time you have available?


photo: Jan Vašek, stocksnap.io




ID-10018992Downtime: A period of time when one is not working or engaged in a planned activity.

How do you respond to the opportunity for downtime? Are you afraid of it? Do you use it well? In the world today, downtime is sometimes viewed as a luxury, rather than as the necessity it is. You know that you can’t keep going 24/7, as much as the pace of our world can try to push you to. Downtime is a necessity for your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health.

Sometimes as much as you need and desire downtime, it is hard to stop yourself to enjoy it. You may feel guilty, uncomfortable, worried about what you may be missing or unable to unwind. It is in your best interest to value and incorporate downtime in your life. Downtime restores, rejuvenates and relaxes you.

Any downtime on the horizon for you?


photo: EA, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How Do You Prioritize?

ID-100288876I guess you can manage your team without prioritizing, but what a ride that is! How do you prioritize your work and make sure that you and your team meet your goals? Best to find a way that works for you, or your prioritizing will become a burden and ineffective. Here are some things to consider in finding the best way to prioritize your work.

• Have a realistic sense of the time available to you and what you can get done.

• Align your priorities with those of your organization and customers and, if conflicts arise, address them.

• Make the hard choices regarding what is most important. There are so many demands on our time, that these choices are inevitable.

• Be clear about priorities with your team – no mixed messages, unrealistic deadlines or conflicting priorities.

• Don’t slack off. Keep stated priorities front and center for you and your team. If priorities change, inform your team and set a new course.

• Develop a “system” for prioritizing work – a process for communicating priorities, revisiting them when necessary, receiving team feedback, keeping a record and tracking progress.

An effective way of prioritizing your work gives you a level of control, a way to create efficiency, a path to achieving your goals and a little peace of mind.

photo: Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Ten Ways To Change Your Relationship With Time

Time management is an oxymoron – you cannot manage time, but you can manage your relationship to it. In a previous post, Is Time In Control Or Are You?,  I provided some questions to help you assess your relationship with time. Now, here are ten ways you can begin to change your relationship with time.

1. Stop at several specified points in your day to assess how you are dealing with time. Are you in a good relationship with it or a stressful one?

2. Be realistic about what you have planned to do in the day. Do you have time?

3. Practice mindfulness and being in the present moment.

4. Heighten your awareness of emotions you are experiencing. Often your emotions are a first indicator that something is awry.

5. If an emergency or something unexpected occurs in your day, stop and adjust your expectations accordingly.

6. Identify the signs that tell you that you are in overwhelm and time is getting the better of you.

7. Work on balance. With balance, you relate to time from a centered place.

8. Take breaks every once in awhile, so you do not push yourself too far.

9. Be aware of how your choices affect your relationship with time.

10. Remember that time is finite and plan accordingly.


photo: Chaiwat, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Too Much To Do

How is your workload? If you are overwhelmed, or not keeping up, try stopping. Bring yourself fully to the present moment to assess the situation you are in. Our world has sped up and keeping up gets more and more challenging. Someone once said to me that the world would speed up so much that we would be forced to find the still point at the center of the storm. By stopping, you can find that still point, regroup and make the choices needed to move forward, without overwhelm or too much to do.


photo: boulemonademoon, FreeDigitaPhotos.net


Time Can Be On Your Side

Do you see time as an enemy or a friend? Time is central to our existence. For time to be a friend, you have to flow with it. It can be a potent enemy if you fight it, ignore it or allow it to have power over you.

How can you flow with time? You start by doing all you can to live fully in the present moment. Only from the present moment can you deal with reality. Living in the past or future skews your perspective. A key element of flowing with time is balance. From a place of balance – emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally – you are functioning at your peak. You also need to recognize the signs of stress and know when to pull back and regroup.

Time is a construct that you can harmonize with. Granted, the speed of our world doesn’t make it easy. But that makes it even more imperative for you to stop and examine your relationship with time. Find your way to flow with time.

photo: Grant Cochrane, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Always Late

As a manager, do you face challenges with team members and others who are always late? Many of us do! There is a range of response to this – it is inconsiderate, it is not a big deal, you won’t tolerate it, you are always late yourself. There are also consequences – frustration of those who are on time, time wasted, team disruptions and tension.What can you do about it? Here are a few ideas:


• Make your expectations clear to your team and others that you expect them to be on time. Let them know it is an important performance measure.

• Start team or individual meetings at the scheduled times. If people are late, it is their responsibility to get up to speed. I have found that this practice has immediate results in most cases. People don’t want to miss out.

• Have ways to respond when it is inevitable that you or others are late – for example, have meeting minutes or some other recording method available to all, recap at the end of meetings with action items or ask a team member to bring the person up to speed on what occurred (This should not be the norm, but available when it does happen.)

• Make sure when you ask people to be somewhere, there’s a good reason and you are respectful of their time, never wasting it.

There are enough demands on everyone’s time. Dealing with people who are always late has to go.


photo: Marek Uliasz, Dreamstime.com




What are you involved in that is ineffective? There is too much on a manager’s plate these days for you to spend your time and energy on worthless things. What can you let go of, that does not use your time in the best way possible?

This is not about what you do not want to do; it is about discernment. As a manager, you have performance measures to meet and critical things to accomplish. Within organizations, managers can often be distracted from priorities by things that do not warrant their attention. Take a look right now at everything that is on your plate. Is there anything you can identify that is not worthy of your attention? Figure out what you need to do to get it off your plate.

We all know that sometimes there are compelling reasons to do something, even if it is worthless – it will serve another purpose than it is intended for, someone who matters sees it as a priority and you cannot dissuade them or it will take more time and energy to get rid of it, than to do it.

It will serve you well to get the worthless things off your plate and spend your time and energy getting useful things done that move your team and organization forward.

photo: Keattikorn, FreeDigitalPhotos.net