If you can’t manage your time effectively to do things most important to you, then what’s the point?
In science, time is usually defined by its measurement – what a clock reads – in an infinitely divisible linear continuum.
In classical physics, time is referred to as Newtonian time (absolute time), which is imperceptible and mathematical in nature, independent of any perceiver, and progresses at a consistent pace for everyone everywhere throughout the universe.
In the concept of Singularity where the point from which all things you experience arise from, and eventually fall back into, it’s accurate to say, the point of creation is where your point of focus is. Everything exists in an ever present moment from which everything in the perceivable universe comes forth from. Things only seem to be separate by virtue of your relative experience.
The ‘arrow of time’ refers to the one-way direction or asymmetry of time (time-line), which is the way in which you instinctively perceive time; moving forwards from a fixed past, through the present, towards an unfixed and unknown future.
But what’s important for you to know here while discussing time management, is how you experience time. How you perceive time and how you manage your time, no matter whether time is ‘where everything actually happens at once’ or the fact that it has been sold to us as a ‘precious commodity’ – something real and tangible.
The biggest secrets to productivity, and managing your time (life) effectively, are by stretching time with Parkinson’s Law, ‘delegate’ time with The Peter Principle, and focus your time with the Pareto Principle.
Parkinson’s Law, The Peter Principle, and The Pareto Principle
Parkinson’s Law was founded by UK political analyst and historian Cyril Northcote Parkinson. Parkinson stated that work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion. In essence, Parkinson’s Law means, if you give yourself a month to complete a task, it will increase in complexity so you end up using the entire month to complete it, even though you could have done it quicker within a shorter timeframe.
Parkinson’s law doesn’t just apply to time management – it also applies to your:
- Belongings expanding to fill all of the storage space you have available
- Needs, expanding so you spend all of the your money
- Appetite increasing in accordance to the amount of food on your plate
The Peter Principle
The Peter Principle was coined by Canadian researcher Dr Laurence J Peter, and outlined in his book of the same name in 1969, in which he states, “In an hierarchy, people tend to rise to their level of incompetence.”
Meaning, as people are promoted within an organisation, they become progressively less-effective, because good performance in one job doesn’t necessarily guarantee similar performance in another.
At the same token as you progress in your life, career or suddenly become a parent, it does not mean you will be good at it in the same way you were on the previous level.
The Pareto Principle – named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto
Widely known as the ‘80/20 rule’, the ‘law of the vital few’, or the ‘principle of factor sparsity’ – the Pareto Principle states that roughly 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort. Pareto developed the principle when observing that about 20% of the peapods in his garden contained 80% of the peas.
Many business executives have cited the 80/20 rule as a tool to maximize business efficiency. In Richard Koch’ book Living the 80/20 Way, he demonstrates the practical application of the Pareto principle to business management and life.
The Pareto principle can be applied everywhere, for instance in physical training, where roughly 20% of the exercises and habits have 80% of the impact, and trainees don’t have to focus on varied training or duration.
So basically, since 80% of your outcomes come from 20% of your inputs – there should be certain activities (20) that will account for the majority (80) of your results, happiness or prosperity.
Benefits of time management
Mastering time management increases productivity, it yields important health benefits such as minimizing stress, and improves the overall quality of your life.
Less stress – Managing your time can directly reduce your stress level with less rushing from task-to-task and place-to-place.
Get more done of the right stuff in less time – When you’re clear of what to do and by when, you’re able to better manage your workload.
Less friction and problems – By planning and preparing and knowing what your priorities are, you have no internal conflict, and don’t cause your own problems or issues.
Less wasted time – When you have a clear plan you don’t waste time with idle activities, or wondering what you should be doing next, which allows you to spend time on the things that matter to you most.
More opportunities – The early bird catches the worm – and luck favors the prepared.
Improves reputation – You’ll get to be known for being reliable and dependable. No one is going to wonder if you’re going to show up, as you do what you say you’re going to do, or meet that deadline.
Makes life easy – Proper time management makes your life easier as you only focus on the most important 20% and not the 80%.
Time management is psychological
Time management is one of the most effective ways to improve the quality of your life. It’s learning how to make every day count, and to have time for everything you need to get done to satisfy basic human needs, plus getting to do all the things you love.
It’s about spending your time in the right places, and on the right things. It’s about knowing your priorities and obligations, and planning an easy to adhere to schedule.
These are the main objectives. But it’s going to require the right mindset if you want to make lasting and valuable changes.
A time management mindset focuses on completing the most important tasks; tasks which add real value. The value and importance of these tasks are determined by the bigger vision for your life and the results are measured in terms of progress made towards your key goals and objectives.
When you have a time management mindset, you realise there’s no point in filling your day with extra work if that extra work does not add value or taking you closer to your goal.
How to use Parkinson’s Law, and The Peter and Pareto Principles in your time management practise:
- Focus on the few goals or activities that are most critical to your development, happiness or success
- Focus on activities that produce the best outcomes aligned with these goals
- Analyze and breakdown your activities into smaller elements and their true value, and you will easily see 80/20 ratios
- Set priorities and clear deadlines – then shrink the time frame by 50% to manipulate Parkinson’s Law
- There are two ways to beat The Peter Principle as you move higher toward your goals: skill-up and become competent in everything new you may need to become efficient in, or demote yourself in the areas where you lack skills and delegate it to professionals
- Stop chasing small value activities that is easily and inexpensively outsourced
- Try to make everything work in harmony with a well-thought-out schedule
- Regularly evaluate your 20/80s since goals change and new opportunities arise
Six effective time management tricks to get stuff done
The six key steps for successful time management are:
- Adopt a healthy-way mindset
- Set realistic visions and goals
- Get organized
- Stop feeling guilty
- Relax and recharge
Health: improved focus and concentration
Making the time to create a healthy lifestyle will help improve your efficiency throughout the day, and allow for more time to complete other tasks. Get adequate sleep, maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly to improve your focus and concentration.
Goals and a big vision
Have a clear vision of what you are trying to achieve. Just because you’re changing does not mean you have improved the situation. If the changes do not make you more effective, and help you to make faster progress towards your goals, then they are not an improvement. Set small attainable goals aligned with this big vision, and set priorities with deadlines.
There are two basic components to organization: organizing stuff and organizing time. Throw out stuff you don’t need. Organize and file so you can find important items in the future. Learn to manage your email – dump or delegate those not important to your goals. Manage your calendar – decide what is important and what’s not, what’s valuable and what’s not, and be realistic about what you can accomplish, but keep Parkinson’s Law in mind to not give yourself too much time which may go wasted. Review your checklist regularly, and revise as necessary when unexpected things pop up. Don’t multitask as your ability to not being 100% focused will cause time delays when you have to return to those tasks.
Ditch the guilt for not being overbusy
Urgency is an incredibly powerful motivator. It can cause you to take action without properly considering the choices you make, and you may find that ‘urgency tasks’ have taken a great deal of time which you could have spent on tasks with real value. Dwight D. Eisenhower said, ‘What’s important is seldom urgent and what’s urgent is seldom important.’ Guilt involve things that you don’t get done which was urgent. Accept the fact that you are not Superman or Superwoman. Determine the real, long-term value of the task and the long-term consequences of not performing the task.
Delegate whenever reasonable and possible. Don’t use your time to do something that someone else can do more easily or better. The downside is that you must still check to be sure the task is done, and sometimes can takes longer to tell someone else how to do a task than to do it yourself. Thinking of it as a leadership-building opportunity, will make it more worthwhile.
Relax and recharge
Taking time to escape from your busy schedule to enjoy some of your favourite activities, allows you to restore your mental, physical, spiritual and emotional energies. Being balanced will allow you to make real progress towards your goals and objectives in a lot less stressful life, where you are happier, healthier, and achieving superior results.