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Respecting Time

Work is a marathon, and correctly pacing yourself has to be a part of any long distance race.

Effective time management has never been more important, and yet it is more difficult to achieve than ever before.   There has to be compromise.   Over the past two weeks, I have spent 1.5 days in my base office.  I had 4 days leave (and all my colleagues told me to relax and enjoy them), and 4 days in my 2 coastal offices, where we were either in conference or meeting with clients.

So, not a lot of time to answer eMails, except in the evenings.  And yet there is an expectation that there will not be a delay in response times.   While this might be OK in a large corporate where there are lots of people to delegate to(although I somehow doubt it), sometimes there just isn't anybody who can take over a particular task, especially in smaller companies.    There also appears to be a perception that, if the eMailer gives a deadline, that is the only deadline in the recipient's diary.

Not to mention the fact that there are the many day to day functions that need to be managed, in order to function effectively.

Interestingly, there is a lot of irritation from co-workers about people who respond to eMails at 11 pm or 3 am.   The perception is that they are creating unreasonable expectations for all of their colleagues.   No time to do it during the day, resented for doing it at night, is there an answer?

Not a single one, no.    There are a lot of great time management models, but my split structure is the one I find works best, and it fits into the South African vernacular where Just Now can mean in two minutes or two weeks.   It goes something like this:

Right Now   - has to be done, no compromise

  • Structured daily time, no interruptions, maximum one hour at a time
  • Include time to think every day
  • Work from a list (ticking it off is enormously satisfying)
Just Now - has to be kept under control
  • Things that need to be done daily, but are not deadline driven
  • Answering eMails
  • Routine tasks
  • Personal issues
Not Now - has to revitalise you
  • Genuine down time
  • Do something that is for you
A question I ask myself often is whether we all being driven by the work ethic of the burn outs of the future?   It is really very important to give all your attention to your family, friends and colleagues, when you are with them.   It can be very difficult when your mind is constantly on the move!

Respecting the time we have is a tough ask, sometimes we need to forget about stress and pressure and just be...   It builds energy for the next round.


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