A Little Time and the Management Thereof

DeadlineIn the last two posts I talked about fatigue and procrastination, two  enemy’s that keep us from living fully alive.  The final enemy of living fully alive: Poor Management of a Little Time!

All three intertwine and cause similar kinds of distraction and destruction.  For example, procrastination and poor priorities contribute to poor time management just as fatigue can lead to procrastination.

Let’s expose a third particularly sneaky kind of “time mismanagement enemy” and learn how to defeat it. That way all three enemies will be hard pressed to suck the possibilities and vitality from your life. 

Most of our wasted time is not counted in hours, days or years but rather in minutes.

Unfortunately, those little unnoticed wasted minutes quickly add up to hours, days and years.  We place great value on big blocks of time but don’t value or take advantage of the “little blocks of time.” To often we don’t even notice them.  Let me identify some small blocks of time, some as short as five minutes, some as long as 30 minutes, that can be managed to get big things done.

The time between when you wake up and when you get up.  This time can be increased by getting up earlier.  This is a great time for a short read, a devotional prayer or meditation time.  If you get up early enough you can use this to do some kind of exercise and really feel great about starting the day.

The time after you have finished a meal but are not required to be back at work.  Time to take a few notes on moving a project forward, work on a drawing, or develop a new idea.

The time between when your children go to bed and you go to bed.  This is especially precious time which is often wasted watching television.  I have found a multitude of much more productive ways to use this time.  This is when I paint and read and finish up little projects around the house. This is also the time to work on hobbies that would otherwise be ignored.

The time between when you have cleared security and your plane takes off.  This is a time I often waste seething over the groping I just experienced.  It is not a good time to rest so why not finish this blog post or make some calls that need to be made.

The time you are on a plane.  I have used this time to write and read entire books.  I often plan out some of the bigger hunks of time during this time.

Time Traveling  Not in the “time machine sense,” but as a passenger in a car or on a bus.  Even as a driver I can safely think through a project and dictate notes to myself.  If I am in traffic of any significance I focus just on driving to avoid the fastest time travel of all. I don’t think there would be much time between here and heaven to take notes on anything.

The time waiting…..  for anything is valuable time.  Waiting for the doctor or dentist to make her appearance long after your appointment. (You could write a novel in that space of time)  Waiting in the car to pick up children from school.  If it’s waiting time it’s useful time.  Have you ever wondered why there are magazines in the doctors office?  To help you WASTE time and help you catch someone else’s disease.  Don’t fall for it!

Time exercising  Although I like to run or a ride bike without interruption, my more productive friends use .mp3 players to listen to books and learn skills while exercising.  This opens up other spaces of time to do the things they love doing.

Here’s the bottom line.

No use will be made of these important “Little Blocks of Time” unless you plan it.

Bring that notebook, or drawing pad.  Can you just chill out and relax during one of these “Little Times?”  Absolutely!  But plan it!  Don’t let these important moments slip away.

Do this!

Go ahead and continue to block out the big time slots in your life like meetings, shopping, work, etc. Then pay attention to those little spaces between the big blocks.  Color them gold, like nuggets. Scribble in those spaces how you plan to use them.  Watch what happens.

Eventually I promise that managing the “Little Time” will open bigger blocks of time for you do to the things you love.

Question: What little blocks of time have you learned to manage to your advantage? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Pat Shea Spurgeon

    I always have my Nook with me now wherever I go. It’s the HD nook plus (I waited for nook prices to come down for a few years and when it got under $150 I grabbed one) and it has the web, email and a writing software that I put on it. Now it’s like a little traveling office when I am stuck anywhere waiting. I can read for pleasure or for business, clip ideas from magazines and put them in my electronic scrapbook for later use or plan out ideas that I need for a presentation. It’s lighter than a laptop and smaller so it’s handy to slide into my purse.

  • http://juliesunne.com/ Julie Sunne

    My family jokes that I bring the house with me whenever I go anywhere in the car. Truth be told, I can’t stand being without something “productive” to do, so I bring many projects just in case there is waiting involved. My new mini-iPad has helped keep me connected and productive when in waiting rooms.

    Obviously I agree with you, Ken, that we need to plan our use of that in-between time better. However, I am trying to be careful to carve out time to just be as well, to experience life as it is happening. With all the mobile media that is getting harder to do–at least for me. I appreciate this reflective series.

  • Ruth

    I think we have to be aware, though, that just sitting and thinking can be very productive. We need to learn how to “live in our head”…I love what I call ” time travel” in my head. I try to remember incidents, places and events and just sit and ponder those times, pulling from them lessons such as joy and sometimes regret but always feeling enriched by remembering ” from whence I came”. Well, I am also mindful of that saying that is something like, “When I sits, I sit tight, and when I stands, I stands tall and when I thinks, I falls asleep”.

  • Ellis Thomas

    Time tracking and management being the crucial part of the competitive industry has been more preferably and precisely opted to be deployed and implemented with whole lot of strategies and structures. No industry in this world can be operated without a proper time tracking and management. With the move in the run ahead its been recommended to go ahead, the line is synced up.

    Initially when I was in my college life it was being immensely planned up manually the time management strategies. When I jumped onto the professional life, I managed to cope up with the cloud based time tracking and management tool which helps gain the productivity in a more precised manner. In our office we are currently using time tracking software from Replicon – http://www.replicon.com/time-tracking-softwares.aspx that is hassle free with multiple functionalities and features to help cope up with and get the things done up with a more planned and structured way ahead.

    What do you prefer to use by the way for a better time tracking and management?

  • Amisha Ekaant

    Many companies are creating different time management tools to help make running a business easier. Likewise, We are using one such tool to save time – it is Replicon’s time management software.

    I think it’s not an understatement if I say this time recording software ( http://www.replicon.com/olp/online-time-recording-software.aspx ) is a super-cool and super-efficient software to manage the various office tasks. This software has made our routine smooth and easy.