I often notice that the people whom I guide with their time management issues seem to be in perpetual in Red Queen mode or in sports parlance ‘offensive’ in their approach to task management. I’m thinking about football and how the game time management strategy can be used off-field too. I’m onto something!
Most major sports are meant to be played for a specific period of time with additional time added for Acts of God, penalties or even timeouts. The competing teams adopt varying strategies to win – offensive and defensive. The best example I can think of is a game of football. A well known time-oriented strategy involves using the tactic of “ball control”. The team that maintains control over the ball not only uses its offense to score points but also ably assisted with the time on the clock uses it for its defense.
Studies have been done to determine whether the intent to use a ball-control strategy can actually help win the game and one of those studies indicates that a properly designed time management strategy may be better and the team that understands the principles of optimal strategies stands a better chance of winning.
That got me thinking, does this hold true for optimal time management in our everyday lives?
Consider that you have 24 hours in a day to do all your activities, which we will call the game time. The activities that you do are those that are when you are in possession of the ball.
To get a healthy balance during the course of the day, there are 2 types of activities that you need to do when you have possession of the ball; transforming and maintenance.
Transforming activities add value by moving you closer to your longer-term ambitions. They include learning new skills, learning and development. When you engage in activities or tasks that enhance the quality of your life, you are undertaking transformation activities or task. It isn’t just work, here we are also talking about exercising, strengthening bonds with family and friends, going to theater or museum and even travelling to experience different cultures.
Yet there is another category of activities or tasks that are important and need to be fitted into your 24 hour day if you are going to have balance. These are the maintenance tasks that help you to maintain value. They include the things you have to do to stay afloat: you have to sleep, eat, drive to work, open mail, pay bills, take the pet dog for a walk before it ruins your carpet and similar activities. These are short-term needs you must meet to maintain your current way of life and are unavoidable.
So how does one play this game?
The full offensive tactic would be to do all of it yourself regardless of whether you would be efficient or effective. You may just win the game but I can assure you that you will also lose to burnout.
The full defensive tactic would be to leave everything to fate and just go with the flow which again would guarantee failure to win the game and perhaps aggravate any existing lack of balance in your life and performance.
A better strategy would be to do a well planned mixed of offensive and defensive tactics.
It means seeing the big picture and planning out how you would take care of the important fundamentals of your daily living. If there are tasks that can be delegated at work or outsourced then seriously consider them. Take an honest and hard look at what you really need to do proactively yourself and will enhance your transformation and delegate that which might just be a learning activity for the person to whom you are delegating it to.
Consider charting out your time during the week for the key activities that really need to be done when you have the ball in your possession and where you can allow the other player to take over. You would be surprised at how you achieve a win-win situation without overwhelming yourself.
While you plan out your best time management strategy, why not take some help from the Eight Tested Commandments for Time Management? It’s yours for the asking, check it out!
What about you? Do you play your game with panache or are you still clinging to the ball? Would love to read your views in the comments box below.
Written By: Vatsala ShuklaFollow Me
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