Oct 7, 2009

Time Management and Attitude

The key to time management is not a perfect system. It is not learning to prioritize tasks like a pro. It does not even have much to do with how many tasks we have laid out in front of us. Time management inevitably boils down to a simpler, very personal, consideration. Time management is an exercise in attitude. Our personal attitude and disposition toward time and its use will have a far greater impact on our ability to manage time than any strategy ever can. So, what is the proper attitude to take toward time management? It really boils down to a three-pronged approach. First, we must stop seeing time as an enemy. Those who approach every day as if it were a race against the clock will eventually tire. Fighting time day in and day out is a Sisyphean proposition wherein no real progress is ever made. When we recognize that time is an inevitability that can never truly be conquered, we will begin to notice a shift in perspective. We will begin to approach time as a natural fact and will try to live within it successfully instead of trying to crush it or stretch it to fit their imagined needs. Second, we must begin to truly value time as a precious commodity. Time, after all, is the basis for all things. Without it, there is nothing else. It is a true prerequisite to all aspects of our lives and is the foundation upon which all of our eventual goals will be enjoyed. By recognizing the value of time, we can begin to approach it differently. Our attitude can transform from being one of disdain or distaste to one of appreciation. We will begin to infuse all of our time with a certain giddiness, excitement and appreciation that will make us more efficient and active. We will also learn to reject wasting our truly precious time. Third, we must stop seeing time management as an end in itself. Our goal should never be to create more time--time is inevitably finite. Instead, we should approach time management understanding that each minute represents a new window of opportunity and our goal should be to experience as many of those windows as possible each day. When we stop looking at time management as an end and recognize it as a means to a greater end, we can make better prioritization and other decisions. We end up with more control of our lives and can stop trying to measure our success or failure based purely upon what time we were able to finish our workday. Of course, time management strategies and systems can help us with the nuts and bolts of all of these things, but in the end, the true value obtained from time management is not just freeing up a few hours to watch a movie in the evening. It runs far deeper. By having and nurturing the right attitudes toward time, we can not only get more done, we can enjoy life more in the process.

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