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Art of Time Management

Updated: May 5, 2022

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Recently I had an interesting discussion, with a senior colleague from the services sector. During it I was very disturbed to learn, that the 100-hour work week had become an industry norm. It forced me to ponder on whether, such a routine would transform us into automatons?

Now while becoming an automaton is not necessarily a bad thing, there are two key drawbacks. The first being that that in time, our jobs will be replaced by rapidly advancing AI solutions resulting in redundancy. Secondly, our inability to creatively express ourselves, leads to feelings of emptiness and frustration. These two, will adversely impact our health and wellbeing in the medium term as studies reveals that stress can leads to autoimmune disorders.

Currently, merely quitting is not a viable option for most. However, there is another way out. We can always strive to improve our efficiency. While online collaborative tools do help, the real solution lies hidden surprisingly in how we manage out personal time.

Time is a gift we are endowed with at birth to experience all facets of life. Only through this we are able to integrate all parts of our divided selves and become ‘whole’ once again. Diving deeper we find that there are really 3 types of time viz. physical, psychological and physiological. The physical is conceptual clock-time, the psychological is our emotional experience, and the physiological is dictated by our internal body clock. Integrating these, is the key to living holistically.

Now a day too can be conveniently divided into 3 parts of 8 each. If we give equal weightage to the key activities of. a) execution, b) rest, c) planning and reviewing, we get an optimal allocation.Following this helps us naturally integrate our physical, psychological and physiological time.

While it may be impracticable to adhere to the PERR Model schedule, there can be no excuse for neglecting any one of the key activities. All of the greatest corporates like Apple, Google, Samsung, IKEA and many others have incorporated rigorous systems to ensure that planning and review are an integral part of their product development cycle. This ensures innovation, customer delight and greater profitability. Many of the greatest innovators too in history, like Leonardo da Vinci, Beethoven, Charles Darwin, Marie Curie amongst have maintained a personal diary. Its sole purpose was to aid review and reflection.

Listed below are just two simple recommendations to more efficiently manage personal time:

1. REFLECTION: End the day with review & reflection. After ‘office-hours’. Immediately disconnect from all devices. As it will be difficult at first, for relaxing one can make use of guided meditations. Thereafter if ideas do arise, use a notepad. Reflections are of types, self reflections also called introspection, and sharing with others. Sharing experiences, with family and friends greatly aids reflection. As reflection requires space and silence, avoid access to any gadgets, unless absolutely necessary until bedtime.

2. PLANNING: Begin the day by planning & preparation. At this time avoid any interactions with electronic screens. Use a notepad to capture any insights that arise. Planning may be both personal/ professional, short/ long term. Do avoid initiating any execution activity during this time.

There's a reason why reflection precedes planning. Its because, after good introspection, the way ahead is revealed. This faculty is limited to only the most evolved mammalian species, as seen from the relative size of their frontal cortex. Reflection, aids processing of unpleasant emotions to greatly reduce persistent stress.

Time Management, will surely result in enhanced performance at work. It will not only increase efficiency, but more importantly aid innovation. It's because the activity on which we put our attention, will always appreciate.

Last but not the least, effective time management puts one back in control. It's simply by respecting the personal time of ourself and that of others.

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