Reprinted with permission of Dr. Tony Alessandra
Adjust your time to fit your needs
Time is nature’s greatest “force.” Nothing can stop it, nothing can alter it. Unlike the sun, it cannot be seen. Yet, of all nature’s forces, time has the most profound effect on us.
Time remains constant, but our perception of it changes. When we focus on it, it slows down. When we turn our back on it, it speeds up. Our illusion makes us think it is something tangible. We arrange it, divide it up, and give some to our friends. Sometimes we feel it is precious, at other times we waste it. We give it the power to heal when we say, “Time heals all wounds.” It can also kill, as when we live stressful lives because we “never have enough time.” On a day-to-day basis, nothing is defined and redefined in our minds as much as time. It’s a wonder we can still recognize it!
Herein lies our power. Because things are as we perceive them, we can choose to see time as a manageable commodity and live our lives according to that assumption. It works, too! The first step is to take responsibility for our time, and want to control it. This is one of the secrets of successful people. They work at shaping those things that others think are uncontrollable.
Efficient VS. Effective
In discussing time management, some people would argue that, “We need to be more efficient with our time!” Other people would claim, “Let’s not worry so much about efficiency; let’s be more effective!” Of course, there are always the ones who yawn and say, “It’s just a matter of semantics (see VOCAB. below), when do we eat?”
Efficiency means doing things right. Effectiveness means doing the right things. Working efficiently is doing things with the least amount of wasted effort. Efficiency gets you from point A to point B via a straight line. Inefficiency goes in circles, zigzags, and gets fewer mpg. Effectiveness means doing the things that yield results.
Many people, when learning about time management, ask the question, “Which should I work on first, efficiency or effectiveness?” In theory and practice, the best answer is to improve your effectiveness first. It’s much better to aim your sights at the result than to worry about the process. Too often we get bogged down in the means and lose sight of the end.