What Is Time? 8 Simple Hacks for Effective Time-Management
Can you relate to this:
Where did the time go?
I wish I had more time for myself.
Time flies, it is already Christmas.
If only there were more than 24 hours a day.
Oh no! The deadline is next week and I still have so much to finish.
We have all been through that and we always think about how did our parents do it or how do some people achieve more in less time?
Humans, in general, are bad at time management period. But if you know what time is, you can then make the best use of it to live the life you want.
The concept of time is immensely mind-blowing and controversial, that up to this day, it continues to leave unresolved questions to many Scientists. So let’s first take a look at what amazing explanation Science tells us about time.
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What is Time?
Carlo Rovelli, author, and theoretical physicist had a beautiful description of time, which all of us, physicists or not, can fully relate to:
“Time is a fascinating topic because it touches our deepest emotions. Time opens up life and takes everything away. Wondering about time is wondering about the very sense of our life. This is [why] I have spent my life studying time,”
If we enter the profound minds of Physicists, Mathematicians, and Philosophers, we can discover that time is not only a mere number on our clocks and calendars but also a flow, a dimension, and (would you believe?) a perception.
Here are some mind-bending concepts of time that will surely bring out the scientist in you:
Scientific Definition – Time in Physics is defined as the progression of events from the past to the present and into the future.
Time is the fourth dimension of reality used to describe the past, present, and future. Though time can’t be detected by our senses, we can measure and track its passage.
In the sciences, time is defined by its measurement (for example, clocks as a time measurement tool). However, in physics, extreme levels of precision are usually needed to measure time, requiring time to be an infinitely divisible linear continuum and not quantized. This means time is continuous and cannot be broken up into fundamental units.
The Arrow of Time – wondering why time machine is not possible? Arrow of time (entropy) is the direction of time which means time in the natural world is a one-way direction or irreversible. What happens in the past is fixed and accessible only by memory or document and what lies in the future is not automatically fixed and can be rather predicted but without firm evidence. The arrow of time helps us understand that time is a progression and cannot move backward.
Time Perception – do you ever feel sometimes that time flies so fast when you are super busy but tend to slow down when you are doing nothing? The explanation behind this is actually fascinating. Our brain is designed to track time. But people usually perceive time differently.
Neurotransmitters (our body’s chemical messengers) and drugs can affect the way we perceive time. When we are going through elated moods, there is an increased neuron firing, which speeds up time perception. Also, our brain’s amygdala becomes less active and forms fewer memories, which makes us think that time passes by so quickly. This usually happens to older people than to children. On the opposite, when we are sad, grieving or in danger, the amygdala becomes more active and forms more memories, creating a perception that time runs very slow.
In the world of science, time is a complex, unfathomable and never-ending topic that leads some great thinkers to argue such as whether time is real or not. Regardless of the answer, time is an essential part of our lives. Without it, our life wouldn’t be as exciting as chasing the hand of the clock.
Why You Should Manage Your Time
Time always reminds us of the popular saying “Time is gold”. But why does time is being compared to gold?
Gold, as we all know, is a precious and valuable element, which is very expensive to acquire. Thus, just like time, gold is limited and irreplaceable.
- Time is valuable – time gives us the freedom to do whatever we want in life; However, lack of time can create stress and anxiety. Time can’t be brought back, so while you have it, take advantage of it and live your life to the fullest.
- Time is limited – we only have 24 hours in a day and how you use this limited resource can affect your status in life. You can either choose to maximise your time and be productive or waste it all day and be regretful of the things you’ve missed to accomplish.
- Time is irreplaceable – the hours, minutes, and seconds that have gone by cannot be taken back or reproduced. The time you have at the moment is all you entirely have as tomorrow is another different story. Time is precious, limited and irreplaceable. Use it or lose it.
As long as we live, we need to make the most of every day. As stated by the author and businessman, Harvey Mackay: “Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it you can never get it back.”
This is why we need to manage our time effectively and make this habit part of our personality.
How to Manage Time Effectively
Practicing time management requires discipline and commitment. Not surprising, people who survive this phase are the ones who succeed in life. Despite the busyness, it’s amazing how successful people can juggle their personal and professional lives like a pro.
Their secret? They have mastered the art of time management.
Time management is defined as:
- The process of organising and planning how to divide your time between specific activities. (Mindtools)
- Making the best use of time as time is always limited. (Management study guide)
To manage time effectively, here’s a quick guide on how you can plan your day step by step:
- Effective Planning
- Setting goals and objectives
- Setting deadlines
- Delegation of responsibilities
- Prioritising activities as per their importance
- Spending the right time on the right activity
(List from the Management Study Guide)
An article from Entrepeneur.com listed twelve tested and proven time management hacks that successful people, like Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey, practice daily. Here are our personal top picks, which we can start practicing right away, right now:
1. Create a morning routine.
Now, this may vary from person to person, but a good morning routine includes waking up early in the morning, walking or stretching, eating a healthy breakfast, reading news or a book, and tackling the most challenging tasks first.
2. Eliminate and convert wasted time.
As suggested by the life coach and best-selling author Tony Robbins, we can turn our wasted time into a productive one. For example, reading books during a commute or when waiting for someone in a lobby. Other activities you can do during your vacant time are reading your favourite blogs, writing in your journal, or walking around the block.
3. Make “knock-out” lists.
Marcus Lemonis, author of “The Profit” creates knock-out lists every day by listing down his top five priorities of the day, and without exception, those five tasks must be done before the day ends. He also stated that he creates this list at the start of the day and not at the end of the day.
4. Avoid meetings.
A recent study reveals that poorly organised meetings waste more time than ever. No wonder influential people like Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk and Mark Cuban are anti-meetings. Instead, they prefer detailed emails. If there is a need to schedule a meeting, have a limited number of people in the room, set clear objectives or agenda, and keep it short as possible.
5. Don’t check your email all the time.
How many times do you check your email every day? The secret to successful email management is not to deal with your email at once. Unless it’s urgent, never respond to messages you receive today. Additional advice is to avoid checking your email first thing in the morning. Instead, schedule a certain time for your email activities so you can stay productive for the rest of the day.
6. Schedule dead space.
You don’t really need to schedule every minute of your day. Take it from the famous business magnate Warren Buffet and Bill Gates who fill their calendars with plenty of blank spaces. For them, this hack gives them more time to focus on their passion, control their schedules, and handle unforeseen events that may occur. No doubt they became very successful in their field.
7. Reduce decision fatigue.
Successful people reduce the number of decisions they make in a day. Just like former US President Barack Obama who limits his outfits. As for him, he does this because he has other decisions to make aside from deciding what to eat or wear. Just like Obama, Nick Taranto also used to wear shoes without laces.
8. Gamify your to-do lists.
Losing hope in accomplishing your daily to-do lists? Try this technique from Jack Groetzinger, co-founder and CEO of SeatGeek: “I have an estimated number of minutes for all tasks and have written software to record when I begin and end each item. Each day, I challenge myself to hit an efficiency goal: the number of actual minutes divided by expected minutes.” (his statement from CNBC interview)
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Make Time Management a Goal Today
Mastering the art of time management is not an easy way. Just like achieving your goals, creating new, healthy habits can be a bit challenging.
Fortunately, there are many ways to make this process less demanding and more fulfilling. Some baby steps you can make is to read good books about time management, ask some advice from a friend or colleague who has excellent time management skills, or use a tool that’s designed to help users achieve successful time management.
At Life Intelligence Group, one of our missions is to help people enjoy life and accomplish their goals through our all-in-one task manager, TaskSpur.
Time-management is at the core of TaskSpur design and program. The experts behind this app made sure that by using TaskSpur, you will not only save money and protect your privacy but most of all, you will learn to value time and how to use it wisely for a happier and balanced life.