Time is an interesting resource, unlike any other. Any two people have differing financial resources and differing skills and talents. We have different opportunities, different circumstances, and a different network of friends and acquaintances. But we all have the same number of hours in a day, a week, a month, or a year.
When it comes to time, we’re all on level ground. No one has extra hours stashed away in a savings account for a rainy day. None of us has the ability to turn the clock back, stop it, or even slow it down. Our daily allotment of time is 24 hours—period—or is it?
I believe we can break down time into two categories: the first being the personal time we’ve been talking about above, which is finite. The second category of time involves tasks that we delegate to others. This is the only way I know we can actually multiply our time.
Let’s look at the 4 Ps of Time Optimization:
- Planning – Little of value happens without planning. Without planning time flitters away like a bird. Planning is both a discipline and an art. We discipline ourselves to sit down and plan out our day, week, or month. We plan for a launch, product development, a meeting, or whatever. We must discipline ourselves to apply various principles of planning that we learn through training and experience. We also apply helpful processes and technological aids.But there’s also an art to planning. For instance, you may plan to write a blog or create a podcast. How long will it take? We might know from experience that it takes roughly x-amount of time to write a blog, but each blog is new and different. We write one blog and the thoughts seem to fly from our brain through our fingers onto the computer screen. At other times we labor over writing a blog taking two or three times longer than we’d hoped.This is where time management as an artform comes in. Perhaps we allotted only two hours to write that blog, but it took four. Now what do we do? We had the rest of our day planned out and now everything is piled up, pushed back, or falling off our calendar. We have to anticipate such anomalies and build in extra time. We can also get creative with the remaining tasks for the day and find that we can regain “lost” time by reorganizing the tasks that we have yet to perform.
- Persistence – When it comes to optimizing time, persistence is another needed friend. Persistence overcomes laziness, procrastination, and setbacks. We may have a plan, but if we’re not persistent in carrying it out, the best-laid plan fails to serve its purpose.We can apply persistence in a variety of ways. Go back to the example of writing a blog. Let’s say that you set aside two hours in the morning for writing your blog. You planned and you’re doing your best to stick to your plan, but the words simply aren’t coming. You glance at the clock and an hour has flown by and you’re nowhere on your blog. What do you do? You can apply persistence by staying with it and trying a new approach to stimulate your thought, but knowing that you’re going to exceed your two-hour allotment.But you can also set your blog aside for the time being and push on to the next task on your agenda. You know from experience that sometimes during the course of a day, suddenly you’ll experience an epiphany and the blog content will rush into your thoughts. In this way, you’re persistent with your tasks and time allotments, but flexible and creative with when and how you complete them. Persistence is still required, but it can’t always be rigid and inflexible.
- Patience – This may seem unusual in terms of optimizing your time. Persistence and patience go hand-in-hand. Persistence without patience can frustrate us and work against us both in time and relationships. Without patience, pure persistence can make us seem like an uncaring jerk. Without patience, persistence alone blinds us to our own shortcomings and the inevitability of setbacks in any project.Exercising patience gives us a more realistic view of the tasks before us and the uncertainties of life. Believe it or not, you can’t control everything! Some old sage quipped, “A carelessly planned project takes three times longer to complete than expected; a carefully planned project will only take twice as long.” Patience also gives us insight into new possibilities that we would otherwise have written off as roadblocks and setbacks.
- People – As I mentioned above, other people offer us the only way of multiplying our time that I know of. By delegating tasks that others can perform—often better than we can—we optimize our time. When we engage the help of others, we greatly increase our capacity. We stretch time.Also, when we coordinate the assistance of others, the whole is usually greater than the sum of its parts. This means that we’ll be able to accomplish more as a team than its individual members might have accomplished on their own.I know that some reading this are thinking, “I can’t afford to hire someone else.” More accurately, you can’t afford not to. How valuable is your time? What is your hourly rate worth? Find someone who is willing to take on one of your tasks at a fraction of your personal hourly rate and who can perform the task better than you can and you’ll be saving money!
Optimize and even multiply your time by applying these 4 Ps: Planning, Persistence, Patience, and People!
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