Often at the end of the year, people review everything that was not accomplished. It’s similar to the feeling many get Sunday evening when they wonder what happened to the weekend, but on a grand scale. People resolve that the new year will be different. They resolve to make adjustments, to be happier, richer and wiser.
Human resource professionals resolve to update the Employee Handbook, audit wages, make time to see every employee and get out of hosting the holiday party. Supervisors resolve to write honest, direct performance appraisals, give more atta-boys and work less hours. Unfortunately, by February most resolutions are lost to the day-to-day hustle.
Time is the great equalizer. The term time management doesn’t make sense. We each have twenty-four hours a day. People acknowledge the term as the management of one’s self and relations with others. Most time management training focuses on tips, techniques and phrases, like time is the great equalizer. Effective work-related time management focuses on the way people think about themselves, their co-workers and their work.
People don’t typically work in isolation. Tips, techniques and a new planner will not bring about sustainable change. Change needs to be subtle and work within the existing environment; an environment for many that has no boundaries between work and family.
Time management has always been about being important. Thirty years ago, to-do lists were the hot ticket. People needed to make lists because they were so busy and important, they couldn’t keep the information in their heads. As their importance grew, employees seemed to need appointment books and planners. We are now so important, we require personal hand-held Internet devices that enable us to respond immediately to every query.
Responding with the answer feels good. Reacting to others’ needs makes us feel important. Goals at work are focused on achievements. Yet constantly responding to others often gets in the way of accomplishing one’s larger goals. There needs to be a balance between being responsive to those you work with and being focused on your position’s purpose.
One technique is to establish boundaries. It can be a simple as a closed door or setting the phone to go directly to voice mail. Or, it can be as easy as not responding to emails and phone calls after work. Whether that is viewed as a well- organized professional or one who is self- indulgent depends on your employer’s values.
How a person manages time is a reflection of self-worth. Often, time and space are managed similarly. Planners and closets look the same. It’s nice to have a closet with enough space to move the clothes. It’s wise to have a planner with wide margins bookending scheduled events. Both make room to see clearly.