How often do we hear people are busy? Almost more than we can handle… Makes us think about what these people are doing, and: how they are doing it. Watching people learns a lot about how they work, not work and what doesn’t work… Being busy is great if you are actively contributing. The choice is up to you to be busy due to your incredible good planning or depending on the influence of your environment.
People saying they are busy reminds me of the time when someone explained how multiple programs run on one machine. It is the familiar way that also the infamous holiday house schemes were ‘sold’: by way of time sharing. By sharing time over the applications, slicing it in small parts, a computer is able to share its resources over the applications. But what if we make too many slices, run too many applications on one machine? Than a computer becomes busy switching between all the applications. The processor is only switching between tasks, instead of performing any valuable contribution to progress…
Sounds familiar to you? If so, you need some help on time management. One of the basic ways to deal with your valuable time is to prioritize over the time management matrix of Stephen Covey. There are two ways to distinct priority according to Stephen: One is urgent, the other is important. If you spent your time in the urgent but not important quadrant it means you are more or less a victim of your own lack of time management. This means your environment has a lot of influence on your day-to-day operational performance. Take back your own time, and plan according to the full matrix. All quadrants. Read more about the time management matrix on:
Another way to be busy is to be really focused. You’ve taken measures to save yourself from the never-ending flow of external interruptions and make sure you spend your time on the important stuff too, besides -of course- the necessary urgent matters that cross your path.
For example; consider a software developer that you disturb. He needs time to mind switch to your question and his coding flow is broken by your interruption. After your short question you leave him alone again. To work. Hopefully. It is possible he needs 5-10 minutes, or even more, to get back into the issue and get back into concentrated flow. So, if you ask him 5 small questions per hour you will completely waste his working day. He will be busy switching like the computer with too many applications.
A nice way to take back your own time is to use the pomodoro technique. You decide a timeframe (usually 25 minutes) in which you actively work, highly focused, without interruptions. You also plan time for brakes, even planned interruptions and possibly rescheduling. Read more about the pomodoro technique on:
Taking back your own time doesn’t mean you will be less busy… Taking control means you are leaving the world of unplanned inefficiency and taking control to really focus. Be busy by being focus.
Taking time to plan your time will make you more productive and, I am quite sure, happier. Now don’t mention your busy anymore: just mention you are focused and spread the time control.
Share your thought on time management below, I’d love to hear and learn for your experience.