Time management in real time

Time management in real time

The chances are that all of us at some point in our lives have taken a time management class, read about it in books, or tried to use an electronic or paper-based day planner to organise, prioritise and schedule our day. Yet even with this knowledge and these gadgets, we still can’t complete all the tasks on our lists. Before we can even begin to manage time, we need to learn what time is.

There are two types of time: clock time and real time. In clock time, there are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year. All time passes equally. However, in real time, time is relative. Time flies or drags depending on what you’re doing. Two hours at the department of motor vehicles can feel like 12 years. And yet our 12-year-old children seem to have grown up in only two hours.

Which time describes the world in which you really live, real time or clock time?

Time management gadgets and systems don’t work because they are designed to manage clock time. Clock time is irrelevant. We don’t live in or even have access to clock time. We live in real time, a world in which all time flies when we are having fun or drags when we are doing our taxes.

The good news is that real time is mental. You create it, and anything you create, you can manage. There are only three ways to spend time: thoughts, conversations and actions. Regardless of the type of business you own, your work will be composed of those three items.

As an entrepreneur, you may be frequently interrupted or pulled in different directions. While you cannot eliminate interruptions, you do get a say on how much time you will spend on them and how much time you will spend on the thoughts, conversations and actions that will lead you to success. A good starting point is to carry a schedule and record all your thoughts, conversations and activities for a week. This will help you understand how much you can get done during the course of a day and where your precious moments are going. Remember, it is likely that 20% of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80% of your results!

Do you operate in real time or clock time?

Adapted from an article by Joe Mathews, Don Debolt and Deb Percival, entrepreneur.com

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