Use of time can make or break your performance. It’s critical to look at where you’re spending it
Intentional time management takes action, graft and attention, and the state of your schedule today will reveal many of the paradigms you’re working from.
In school, we were given our timetable. Our pre-arranged schedule of where to be, at what time and which books to bring with us.
If we still see work with a “school with pay” mindset, it’s possible we are taking no more responsibility for our schedules than we did then. How much of our language when we talk about our time management has a “done to” feel about it and deflects personal responsibility?
Leaving school means taking responsibility, and what you do with your time makes or breaks your performance.
We can feel as though we’re stretching time, because so many of us waste it. If your head, plan and strengths are switched on and firing, what you spend your time on and the places where you’re spending it becomes critical.
How to make more of your time in meetings
● Why don’t we have seven-minute meetings? Why is every meeting 30 minutes, or an hour? Don’t blame Microsoft Outlook. Blame the way you’re working. Book a 12-minute meeting, a 19-minute update or a 26-minute discussion and then half way through, check that you’ve covered 50% of the agenda
● How many of our meetings start with 10 minutes of chat while people arrive late, and then do 10 minutes of business, and 10 minutes of friendly closing. Build effective relationships with your team so you can have 10-minute meetings, get straight to business and still be friends afterwards?
● When you meet your colleagues, add up the annual salary of everyone in the room and work out the collective cost of the time you will be spending together. Check the value of the meeting’s outcome is greater than the sum of your equivalent planned time investment. If it isn’t, stop - this meeting will be costing you money
One aspect of more effectively managing time is looking at who we spend it with. If it’s true we become like those we surround ourselves with, the company we keep demands regular attention.
Think about the six people who have most impact on you, those whose words matter to you. How well are those people helping your thinking? To what extent is their presence in your working life working for you? Are there people who are important to you but you are not seeing enough of them?
When we give consideration to the people we are spending our too-precious time with and make conscious decisions to be with people who will be of benefit to us, our mindsets will grow stronger, our outcomes will get attention and our strengths can be more effectively manifested.
● This article is adapted from Showing Up. How to Create a Greater Impact at Work by Tim Robson, published by Capstone (£14.99)
Tim Robson runs a training and consultancy practice, working with private and public sector organisations, including a clinical commissioning group