Time To Talk About Time

Time; its the same number of seconds, minutes and hours for everyone and each day contains the same finite amount for each of us, excepting leap years and if you live in a zone where clocks are twice annually adjusted. So why is it that some people have all the time in the world, and others never seem to have enough time?

As the quantity of time is a set amount, it would appear that those whom are busiest with many things to do would often be the ones complaining about not having enough of it, and yet this is not the case. There is a very real and true axiom that goes, “if you want something done ask someone busy to do it”.

People who are busy have one exceptionally well-developed skill, and that is the ability to schedule and manage their list of things to do in order that they not be running around but not getting much actually done. They have electronic gadgets in which they enter their appointments, their tasks, projects and any upcoming events that might impede on their ability to accomplish things.

Now contrast that with the person – and maybe you know them intimately – who tends to have a more relaxed schedule, not too much on the go that they can’t handle, and yet when something comes up that they are asked to do, they seldom seem to be able to rise to the challenge. In their home life it might mean that they suddenly have that, “I have no idea what to make for dinner” moment at 4:30 p.m. – but they experience it four times a week. At work, they may be the kind that comes to meetings unprepared because it took a casual, “What time is the meeting today?” comment from a co-worker half an hour before the scheduled get-together.

These are the kind of people who usually don’t put things in their work calendar’s, but jot things down on paper at the meeting and then the next day, neglect to transfer that note into their agenda. Projects they are responsible for may get moved down on their daily to-do list until they have to be done rather than planned in advance with sufficient time to ensure all steps are taken in a ‘timely’ manner.

Now these seemingly unorganized people aren’t bad by nature, and in fact may be some of the most well-meaning people at your workplace. They just have underdeveloped organizational skills that require some constant effort to refine and hone. The question then becomes, as they knowingly have a weakness or deficiency, what are they doing to improve upon it so that as a weakness, it diminishes. Most employers will tolerate a weakness in their employees, but expect those same employees to improve upon those areas if they will mean increased proficiency and productivity.

Now time itself is what people use as an excuse; “I’d love to go to the gym but I don’t have time”, or “The kids are growing so fast, Where did the time go?” Well if your aren’t being living in self-conscious awareness, you too might find that things seemingly happen without your knowledge until you realize some huge gap of time has flown by. But actually, what has happened is that you the person made different decisions about how to spend the time you had, and those decisions have repercussions. Now you’re talking priorities.

At work, your priorities can be simple things like three of your closest co-worker friends going out for lunch and inviting you. There’s a choice to be made between what you want, (the social lunch inclusion), and the need, (getting something accomplished). If you consistently make choices to pass on the friends and get work done, you may find yourself invited less often, but be viewed as dedicated. To it’s extreme, you might even find others questioning your ability to do your work in the time allotted, if they quantity of work, and the time to do it are the same for everyone.

Conversely, if you go out all the time and pull yourself aware from what must be done to indulge your social side, you may find others feel your priorities are wrong, and you won’t be handed important assignments and may be passed over and wonder why.

If you are unemployed and job searching, make efficient use of your time so that at the end of a day, you can feel proud of how you used the time you had to apply for jobs, network, follow-up, phone people, get references, look into training, revise resumes and cover letters etc.

The decisions you make while unemployed can help or hinder you even when you apply for your next job. Suppose you were asked this question: “Tell me about how you’ve been spending your time since you left your last position.” What would you say if you were being entirely honest? If you find yourself making up things to tell the spouse or extended family to put yourself in a better light than your reality, consider choosing better uses of the time you’ve got.

The clock is ticking…


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