Better Time Management for 2020 and Beyond
Bill Cottringer

“Time is the one resource that is equally distributed, but unequally used.” ~The Author.

This combining millennium will likely just continue to overload us with more and more information, where we end up never having enough time to do all that we need to do. We typically get half us much done in twice the time, instead of how it should be as vice versa. Here are some practical tips to stretch your time:

1. Clocks, watches and calendars really don’t tell time. We lose a lot of time by viewing it as mechanical and sequential moving consistently from the past to the present to the future. But time came before our inventions to measure it. The truth of the matter is that we all have more time than we think, and it is often the way we choose to use it, that determines what does or doesn’t get done.

2. Multi-tasking is a myth, which wastes time. I suppose that multi-tasking was first proposed as a good way to get twice as much done in half the time. But when we engage in multi-tasking, we end up not getting anything done very well and usually having to spend more time doing it over or fixing the mistakes. Serial multi-tasking is a much better idea—starting one thing, finishing it, and then moving on to the next thing without resting too long.

3. Other people’s emergencies don’t have to be yours. When I was a prison warden, I put out a memo that there would no longer be any inmate emergencies after 3p Friday. Before, this was the most popular time for inmates to create an emergency staff would never have enough time to properly clear for the funeral escort. We must always decide to manage our own emergencies and let others manage theirs.

4. Under-promise and over-deliver. We tend to over-estimate what we can’t get done one day and under-estimate what we can get done in a day. Never make tomorrow the busiest day of the year by putting off until then what you can get done today. The simple math is, the more you get done today, the more you will get done in a year.

5. Mindfulness is the single best time management strategy. When we become more mindful as to what is going on around us right now, without thinking about the competing memories of the past or expectations of the future, time expands exponentially. This is the eternal now moment that has no beginning or ending. Here is where time stops managing us.

6. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Although Abraham Lincoln, in his closing quote below, may be over-estimating the time needed for preparation, proper planning can save valuable time. The only situation where extended planning is lost time, is with elaborate battle plans that always get thrown out when the battle begins.

7. You can’t do it all yourself. When you think you are the only one who can do something right, you miss the opportunity to delegate something off your plate to make room for something else, maybe more important and urgent. Besides, other people deserve a chance to learn responsibility and accountability.

8. Change things up a bit. Routines can steal time away from you. You will be amazed at what happens with time when you change your seat at the table in a meeting, change a daily agenda around, or come in earlier or later and leave earlier later in the day.

9. Prioritize wisely. At the top of your priority do-list are the few actions of the day that are both important and urgent. Without setting goals and accomplishing these, it really doesn’t matter what else you start and finish. And take your time with difficult decisions, stopping when you have enough information to expect the right results without unwanted side-effects; on the other hand, make insignificant decisions hastily to leave more time for the hard ones.

10. Over-communication is a time thief. The best ideas come singularly, not in three’s, sevens, tens or twenty-ones. When you communicate the core essence of one main idea in simple, credible and unexpected terms, it will stick like silver duct tape does on plastic. In that spirit, reinvent time by taking away the limitations you impose on it.

"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." -~Abraham Lincoln.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is Executive Vice President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA, along with being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living on the scenic Snoqualmie River and mountains of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, Re-Braining for 2000 (MJR Publishing); The Prosperity Zone (Authorlink Press); You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too (Executive Excellence); The Bow-Wow Secrets (Wisdom Tree); Do What Matters Most and “P” Point Management (Atlantic Book Publishers); Reality Repair, (Global Vision Press), Reality Repair Rx (Publish America); Thoughts on Happiness; Pearls of Wisdom: A Dog’s Tale (Covenant Books, Inc.) Coming soon: A Cliché a day will keep the Vet Away (Another Dog’s Tale). Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 652-8067