4 Uncommon Approaches to Master Time Management

by @deanyeong | Sign up to weekly newsletter here

Everyone on earth has only 24 hours in a day.

Both you and I knew time is one of the most precious resources we have in life. And it comes before wealth and happiness. Without time, you can’t spend the money you have and you can’t enjoy the experience that excites you. This might not be the reason of you reading an article about time management, you’re not thinking about having more time to enjoy them right now, but having more time so you can hustle harder to get to where you want to be.

I’m not going to show you any techniques to get something done faster in this article because you might have known more of that than me. Instead, I’m suggesting you look at time in a few new perspectives:

Time management is not merely planning your schedule, but to manage your energy by changing your focus, framing your feelings, and organizing your priorities.

Changing The Focus of Timeframes

Have you ever feel stress? Absolutely yes! But why? One of the biggest reasons is because you felt you didn’t have enough time to do what you want to at it’s highest quality that you committed to.

When you’re feeling this frustration, it means you are focusing exclusively on the demands of the current moment: the present request, present challenge, and present events. While in this frustrating and overwhelming state, our efficiency and effectiveness usually got compromised.

The solution? Simply change your focus of the time frame. If your present moment is stressful, try to focus on the future with its best outcome, to gain the energy and resources you need to progress in the moment. Even you might not have any references or resources to gain from it, you will instantly change your state! That is much better to progress in a frustrating situation.

Let’s do an experiment here, shall we? Let imagine a frustrating situation you have on hand right now. It can be rushing off some proposal or finishing a tight project. Now, what if you remove the time constraint in the same situation and focus on the pleasure you will feel when it’s completed? How do you feel now? It’s a huge relief. And how do you think your performance in this state? Definitely better to work under stress!

The feeling of stress simply means you are feeling stuck at a certain time frame. This doesn’t just apply to the present, it applies to the past and the future too. When you’re feeling upset about the rejection you got from your client yesterday, which mean you’re focusing on yesterday’s time frame. In the other hand, if you are constantly worrying about the results of your current project due to uncertainty, you’re stucked in the future time frame.

Again, shifting your focus of the time frame will get you out from the devastating emotional state. Think about what had you achieve when you’re feeling upset right now because of your current failure, or think about what you can learn and use this experience to create a better future.

Framing The Feelings About Time

When most people talk about time, what they refer to is the time in the measurable form in seconds, minutes, hours, days or months. But time is also our focus as we mentioned previously. After you understand this, the next thing you need to know is that time is your perception and feelings.

Let me give you an example. Have you ever felt the time fly so quickly when 2 hours as if it’s just a blink of eyes? And have you been in the situation where 20 minutes felt as a lifetime? This is what I mean. If you’re focusing on something that excited you, you will stop checking your watch every 3 seconds and therefore, it feels like the time pass more rapidly.

There are people describe 20 minutes of queuing as a long time and 10 years of learning as a blink of eyes. What we need to remember is that we’re always in control. Direct our focus upon a certain time frame to create the empowering emotional state. Then decide how we are measuring our time and what we should focus on.

Harness your ability to make one hour feels like one minute and one minute feels like an hour. From there you will know whether you’re spending it, wasting it, or killing it and slowly master your time.

Understanding The Characteristics of Your Task

Finally, this will be one familiar idea most people are talking about. I learned about this from the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which is understanding the characteristics of your tasks on hand.

Have you ever felt you have done so much in a day, but you’re not fulfilled? And you just completed a single task but you felt your day are well spent? I bet we all do.

Most people are spending their time on urgent tasks, unfortunately, most of the time these tasks are not important. We spend our days reactively on rushing off projects, paying utilities, answering calls and checking emails from people who are trying to sell us something.

The best solution to live every day fully is by filling the time of your day with important tasks. Urgent things seem to control our lives, after all, we “have to” pay immediate attention and react to those things that seem like we have no control on. But what you really missed out might be the things that mean the most to you. It may be having a great time with your family, or simply picking up a book to read and explore with your mind.

It’s a priority problem. You might argue that you can’t ignore most of the urgent tasks that came up to you, but you can definitely avoid them.

  • Resolving complaints and inquiries from clients all the time? Simply focus on perfecting the system to reduce complaints or setting up a FAQ page to answer clients’ questions.
  • Worrying about your financial future? Then why not picking up educational materials about investment or personal financial management instead of watching news about dropping employment rates on the TV.
  • Want to be healthier? Don’t workout only when summer is near, instead, make it a habit of eating good food and exercising consistently.

We never thought about it because we have been trained to do things that are urgent. Or worse we never learn how to separate them.

The best way to truly master time is by making a list of your daily tasks. Understand each task and categorizes them as important or urgent. There might be things that are urgent and important at the same time, do it immediately! But avoid things that are not urgent and not important at all cost!

Look for Someone to Model

There is one thing Anthony Robbins repeated many times in his book Awaken The Giant Within:

To achieve success in the shortest time possible, model someone who had already achieved the same success.

This is another level of time mastery! And this is exactly how to get more done in a shorter period of time!

As I mentioned above, if we remove any time constraint we have for a certain task, we will immediately feel relief and change our emotional state, but that’s just to shift our focus on the time frame. The truth is, we all have limited time in our life.

In order to achieve ultimate success, regardless in term of spiritually, financially or physically, in the shortest time possible, we should model someone who had already achieved that. We definitely can make all the mistakes, but what if there is someone who has been there to tell you exactly what to do (and what not to) before you even do it? You’re saving years of time and you’re progressing years ahead.

A summary of this article: in order to truly master time, control your focus upon time frames and feelings about time. Make a to-do list for important tasks and finally model someone who had done what you always wanted to do in order to save time.

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