Is there such a thing as Time Construction?
Usually when people say something like “I need to make time to exercise” or “I have decided to make time for my family”; what they are usually planning to do is to carve out time from their current schedule and take time from something else. It is not a misuse of language, but simply a convention that we have grown into. When we “make time”, what we are often doing is “making a choice about our time”.
Is there, however, such as thing that is closer to the “making” of time? Can we employ some method to yield us more time with which to work, while still accomplishing the same thing? We can work harder at the same amount of work to finish sooner thus having more time. This works, but it typically means using up the energy we were going to spend on that new activity. It does little good to have more time to spend in the afternoon with family if you are exhausted from rushing around at work.
Productivity Through Proficiency
An alternative method of time making is to increase productivity by increasing proficiency; to perform more quickly, as the saying goes, by working smarter not harder. Not a new idea, it is important to remember that preparation and planning are activities that reduce errors and rework, saving time in the overall effort. The rewards are two fold – reduced errors in execution (something that isn’t always true in working harder and faster) and shorter overall execution time. A true double-win.
“Give me 6 hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first 4 sharpening the ax.” – Abraham Lincoln
So What Does This Look Like?
Everyone’s skills and natural talents are different. More so, are the differences of the roles people fill. Below is a general list that would help an office worker in a wide array of fields and from the receptionist to the CEO. But since all jobs are different, you may need to make your own list. For a start, though, consider these:
- Send 15 minutes reading articles from business sites such as LinkedIn (or this blog)
- Do an internet search on “time saving tips in ________ ” and fill in the blank with the tools you use the most often
- Read an article on speed reading
- Get audio books for those commutes (who wants to listen to the news both ways on a daily commute anyway)
- Read a book on conflict resolution. So much time is spent arguing so pick up some ideas on how you can handle conflict constructively
- Record how much time spent in a week doing the following:
- Watching TV
- Reading the Paper
- Playing games (online, cards, pickup football)
- Visiting friends (texting, chatting, face-to-face, etc.)
Whatever the number this totals up to, spend 1/5 of that amount of time in self-improvement for one month. See if you can tell a difference.
We can indeed make more free time available for a different use by becoming more effective and more efficient in our daily tasks. Learning rarely just happens – it is best when it is pursued.