Our relationship with time is very important. Here lies an opportunity to examine and adjust our effectiveness. Sometimes we procrastinate, which undermines our ability to be effective. At the other extreme, we may almost kill ourselves with To Do lists worthy of a division of specialists. Invariably, we tell ourselves we’ll just have to make the time to get it all done.
But there is no such thing as “making time.”
We cannot make more time. Time is limited. Time is precious. When we talk about making time to get things done, we’re not being honest with ourselves. We’re perpetuating the illusion that we can squeeze more into one day than is possible. This is a good way to become stressed out and ineffective.
Time is a limited resource to be managed with care, especially if we’re committed to the self-care that offsets stress. The best way to use limited time is to become more efficient. Efficiency is a choice. More accurately, efficiency is a collection of hundreds of minor choices about how we behave from day to day. Efficiency depends on a moment-to-moment conscious evolution in our behavior concerning time.
Time management tools are well worth acquiring and mastering. They are central to challenging old habits and testing new reactions. As an aspect of personal and interpersonal mastery, time management has a big impact on our effectiveness. Time management is a great way to test how we’re putting our values into practice with other people. We are proving ourselves, to ourselves and to others. The better we manage our time, the better we can manage all our other resources. We improve our habits by making new choices about one single sheet of paper, one e-mail, or one phone call at a time. As leaders, we’re constantly modeling how to manage time. Our success or failure in this endeavor contributes to how productive everyone around us can be.
The people on the other side of our choices about time will have more of us or less. They will have our full attention or not. They will react by emulation or frustration. Worst of all, we can undermine the freedom of others to manage their own time if our poor habits impose on their schedules. When leaders are inefficient, the efficiency of the team is compromised.
Treating time as a precious commodity is a value we either put into action or not. The leader’s time management skills have a far reaching collateral impact. By consciously respecting the use of time in a group, we are treating those around us as the precious resources they are. Time management in leadership is about respect for others, freeing them to live and work respectfully of everyone from colleagues to clients.