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There’s No Time!

There’s No Time!

Speed and greed are today’s obsessions. To do more and do it faster isn’t something, it’s everything. People are richer than ever in material goods—at least in the Western world—but it still isn’t enough. They run faster, yet find they’re still desperately poor in available time. This state of material riches and time poverty doesn’t seem to make them happy either. Mostly, it makes people feel stressed and breathless: they’re always running flat-out to juggle the demands on them and never have time to spend on anything except work.

Do you have enough? Do you have time for everything you want to do?

I’m prepared to bet that, for nearly everyone, the instant answer is a loud “No!”

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Wait a moment, though. Is that answer correct? Before you jump to the conclusion that you don’t have the time you need, ask yourself some questions:

  • How are you spending the time you have?
  • Where is it going?
  • Do you have too little time—or too many unprioritized expectations?


Our ancestors had exactly the same amount of time as we do. Days, hours and minutes haven’t become shorter. There are still 12 months in a year. What’s changed is mostly our expectations about what we should accomplish in the time available to us. As we cram more and more into our lives, doing everything faster seems the only way to square the circle.

Time management isn’t the answer. That’s about increasing your productivity, so you can do even more. Do you really want to go faster? I don’t think you need ways to do more in less time. You need ways to do less in the time you have; to cut out low priority activities, so you have enough time to enjoy the rest to the full; to slow down enough to think about your life and focus on what truly matters.

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Mankind faces many challenges in our crazy, violent world. The greatest isn’t dealing with threatened global warming, or international terrorism, or even our thoughtless depletion of natural resources. All of these are symptoms of people’s constant obsession with having what they want, regardless of its effect, and having it now. Speed and greed are the enemies of thought, care and consideration for others. Hasty decisions are usually bad ones. Rushing from getting to spending is no way to live.

Even schoolchildren in America are encouraged to do everything: join in, be a leader, play soccer, Little League, music, Scouts, swimming, ballet…on and on seemingly without end. When do they have time to be children? In the manic desire of their parents to make sure Freddie or Emily doesn’t miss a single opportunity lie the seeds of a lifelong obsession with getting, grabbing and moving on.

STOP. Right now. What can you give up? Yes, that’s right. Give up, drop, stop doing. Ignore the commercial quick-fixes: the medications to lower anxiety, help you sleep, cope with stress, mask depression and frustration. They’re only going to dull the pain. Listen to how it really is.

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To push more and more into the same amount of time, you must either go faster or cut corners or both. You cannot increase the time available. Soon, all that rushing and skimping will produce stress, anxiety, more problems to add the ones you have already. You’ll have done many things and enjoyed few. You may not even recall half of them. You’ll need to work harder and earn more just to feed your constant demand for consumption as a way of life. You’re headed for burnout.

There is a clear, simple alternative. Slow down, expect less, accept fewer demands, do them properly and give yourself time to enjoy life. Your aim should be to wake up every morning knowing you’re living the life you want to live; and living in a purposeful and satisfying way. Take the time you have and use it well. Instead of being like a hamster in a wheel, running and running and going nowhere, try settling simply for what matters most to you and ignoring the rest. My guess is you’ll find you achieve far more that matters. You’ll certainly get more enjoyment from whatever you have.

Here are some recent articles I’ve written that may be helpful to you:
Saving Time?
And The Magic Ingredient Is…Time
Pushing The River
Will Time Management Help?
No Time to Smell the Flowers?

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Adrian Savage is an Englishman and a retired business executive who lives in Tucson, Arizona. You can read his serious thoughts most days at Slow Leadership, the site for anyone who wants to bring back the taste, zest and satisfaction to leadership; and his crazier ones at The Coyote Within.

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Last Updated on July 27, 2020

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

1. Create a Daily Plan

Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

Here’s How to Create a To-Do List that Super Boosts Your Productivity.

2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

3. Use a Calendar

Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

4. Use an Organizer

An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

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These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

5. Know Your Deadlines

When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

6. Learn to Say “No”

Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

7. Target to Be Early

When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

8. Time Box Your Activities

This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

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You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: Get What Matters Done by Scheduling Time Blocks

9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

11. Focus

Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

12. Block out Distractions

What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

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When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

13. Track Your Time Spent

When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

15. Prioritize

Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

16. Delegate

If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

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When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

For related work, batch them together.

For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

  1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
  2. coaching
  3. workshop development
  4. business development
  5. administrative

I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

19. Cut off When You Need To

The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

More Time Management Tips

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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