Time Management: Is The Clock the Only Measure?

As an educator of professional development, essential business practices and professionalism, I always profess the importance of effectively managing three aspects – time, tasks and teams.

This last fall, I had an experience that provided some big education.  I learned that how we measure time can be as effective as how we manage it.  Here is my story.

We live in beautiful, British Columbia which operates on Pacific Standard Time.  In the fall we set the clocks back one hour and in the spring we set them forward one hour.  As a Saskatchewan girl, this doesn’t make sense nor does it feel natural to me yet.

Last fall the daylight savings date was November 6th and we diligently changed each and every clock in the house, in the office and in the car . . . or so I thought.  On November 23rd I was in a concurrent session at a conference when my mind started to wander.  I checked my watch to find out how much time was left.  To my surprise I realized that the watch on my wrist (that I wear every day) had not yet been adjusted.

Now to anyone else, this might seem like no big deal but to someone who regularly teaches time management and repeatedly emphasizes the importance of time . . . it was  a big shock that I missed this key point.  At first I beat myself up and questioned what I taught, how I taught it and the degree of effectiveness.  After enough time to think and process more clearly I found myself asking more questions and  making less judgement.  Some of my reflections lead to questions like:

1)  Does time mean the same to everyone?

2)  Do we all use the same means for measurement purposes?

3)  If a clock is not present, what do we use to measure time?

4)  In the face of technology and cell phones, have watches become jewelry?

This situation and reflection has me rethinking a few things.  So before I jump back into time management strategies that are based on a 24 hour clock , should I be asking more questions rather than teaching?

Here are a few questions to get you thinking about your own time management:

1.  What do you use to measure time – hours, contracts, proposals or widgets?

2.  If you could use a better measure for success, what would it be?

3.  How much do you rely on a 24 hour clock to dictate your processes and productivity?

I still have not figured out if effective time management is something that we are born with or if it is something we learn . . . the debate continues in psychology.  I also wonder if time management is a better measure of passion or organization and skill.  I have figured out that my watch has become more aesthetic than functional and I have shifted to measuring my activity based on productivity.  Did I get this article done in a scheduled hour or is it done when I get to the end?

If your employees struggle with managing time, deadlines and workflow contact us at pam@thepossibilities.ca or 604-349-8660.  There is nothing better than sorting through the problem areas (and people) to create solutions that will align your staff and improve your productivity, retention and morale. Is it the leadership that needs more focus for themselves or helping the team learn? Check out our Building Better Bosses Program.

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