The one thing we all have in common is that we have the same amount of time each day.
How we use our time impacts just about everything we do and accomplish in life. Time really is the most important resource we have.
We all get 24 hours each day. Most adults sleep between six to eight hours per night. If we use six hours of sleep per night, that means an adult has 18 waking hours per day, which equates to 1,080 minutes per day or 64,800 seconds per day. So, how do you use the time available to you each day?
When it comes to valuing time, how would you rate yourself? Would you say you place a high value on your time? Or do you allow external conditions and demands to dictate what you do each day?
Our behaviours and actions with respect to time is communicating our relationship with time. Here are five ways you could subtly be telling others that your time isn’t valuable which may be affecting what you want to get done.
- You’re always accessible and available. Is it easy for others to get in touch with you? Can people call you at anytime and expect to speak to you? Do people have conversations with you during your work day without having an appointment?
Action: Limit your availability so that you can focus on the high-value activities that you need to do each day. Have a rule: No appointment, no meeting!
- You’re saying yes to all new requests. When others ask you to do something, do you say yes, even though at times you know you really should be saying no? Do you find it difficult to say no?
Action: Clarify your priorities and say no to everything else. Saying no more often is one of the most important things you can do to accomplish the things you want without getting distracted.
- You’re responding to emails straight away. Do you check your emails first each day before starting your work? When a new email comes in from someone who is making a request, do you reply to that email right away? Are you checking emails throughout your day?
Action: Check and respond to emails only during specific times during the day. It could be mid-morning, just before lunch and late afternoon, as an example. That way you are training others to know when to expect a response to an email if it is required.
- You don’t communicate how you feel when people are late for appointments. Do you find yourself saying, “It’s okay” to people who are late for meetings or appointments? Do you find it easier to give others a pass rather than risk confronting them about their lateness?
Action: Next time someone is late for an appointment or meeting with you, communicate that since you’re on time, you expect them to be on time as well, unless there is a strong reason for them being late.
- You don’t stick to the time allocated for activities or meetings. Do you have a tendency to go over time during your meetings or appointments? When others are in a meeting with you, do they expect the meeting to finish on time or do they think it will go beyond the time allocated for the meeting? Do you keep track of time during meetings? What about for non-work related activities like shopping or even cooking? Do you go over time with those as well?
Action: If you’re in a meeting next time, appointment a timekeeper and stick to the time allocated for the meeting. During non-work related activities, be diligent with your time. You can even set a countdown timer to help you stay on track.
Time is the only thing we get to spend but can never get back. Your current actions or behaviours with respect to time are telling others whether you value your time or not. The more you’re able to implement the above actions, the more people will respect your time.
Question: How do you communicate with others your relationship with time?
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