Just like diets, many people find themselves trying several techniques and have mixed results when they try to manage their use of time. Despite a huge level of interest, books, apps and more – people are always searching for a better way to get the results they want. The challenges of weight management and time management are always there, there seems no perfect answer to keep such matters under control yet still allow us to be who we want to be. There’s always some good intention when starting but then after a while, distractions intervene and plans dissolve. That’s ultimately the battle between the strength of our intention and the ability to maintain the habit or discipline that the technique requires.
We know and appreciate the socioeconomic and emotional rewards that await when we achieve those goals/deadlines; but it’s establishing the method to successfully stick with it that’s crucial. Whether it’s an eating pattern or work schedule, it must be realistic, obtainable, and yet challenging enough to drive that determination to succeed and be worth your precious time and attention.
Time Is Your Greatest Asset
TIYGA™ - Time Is Your Greatest Asset – is a concept often taken for granted. We only have one life, we cannot turn the clock back, but we can make better choices in the future about how we allow our time to be consumed, what we invest our time in. Think of your time as an investment, as something which will grow in value or that you can look back on and know that your time choices were selected to make the most of your life. That is not to say you shouldn’t enjoy the present moment, but to stress that some things don’t pay off instantly and they need to be built on step by step.
Let us think about a model that brings together features of many popular time management approaches – getting things done, recording activity in 15 min intervals, focusing on what really matters, delegating more or procrastinating less rather and stopping doing some things. Let’s explore the PEAKS™ model. Each of the letters in the acronym is explained below.
P for Profitable or Productive
If you are in business, profit may be a focus of attention, or judgments may be made on your contribution to the bottom line. In truth, you may not have an in depth understanding of your employer’s financial model, but you understand when what you do is likely to make a difference to the way your organisation makes money. Whether you are paid from a public purse or private enterprise, there are always goals and expectations, even if you cannot directly trace your activity to any profit. You know when you are genuinely productive and this can be seen or measured by others. This is true also if you are not actively engaged in paid work, you still know when the activity you are doing or have recently completed is delivering a visible or measurable outcome or output. It might be that you completed a pile of ironing, or you baked a cake or cleaned the bathroom, the results are there for everyone to see. It’s not always about money, but the P is always about being independently measurable. You did not imagine it; nobody can question that you played your part.
E for Essential or Everyday
Ah yes, but then there are always things that just must be done. These can be an excuse not to do something else or something you procrastinate about starting. Perhaps the best example is your tax return, or some other form-filling that is essential to your financial position. And then there’s the daily routine, we all must get some sleep and eat and do self-care, however quickly or slowly its done – it takes time. The challenge here is twofold. On one hand there can be a quality aspect, especially with eating and sleeping and some daily routines, maybe you can do them a healthier way. On the other hand, for those tasks that are not very fulfilling but cannot be delegated, the best you can do is to become more efficient and need to allocate less time on tasks that you cannot avoid – maybe you can go paperless and avoid trips to the post office. You must spend time on E activities, do them efficiently and effectively.
A for Achievement or Aspirational
We’ve looked at the directly measurable and visibly productive uses of time and the essential or
everyday activities that cannot be avoided or delegated. What about the less visible aspects of time use, when we are achieving something that takes us closer to our invisible goals – the ones where quality counts most or overcoming our own personal fears? Yes, the next category of time consumption is that which gives us a sense of achievement or satisfies our aspirations. This could be building a relationship – personal or business - that means a huge amount to you. It means more than others appreciate; every little bit of progress is satisfying. It might be thinking, planning, preparing, nurturing but it takes time and perhaps patience. That time is an investment in yourself, no less important than any other time. A is for time that is important to well-being and satisfaction.
K for Knowledge or Know-how
Sometimes things don’t go right the first time we try, yes, and we can choose to see that as failure or as a learning opportunity. With hindsight, as we gain a deeper appreciation of ourselves, we discover how the journey is so important. If success doesn’t happen first time, we need to look for the reason to understand and continue the journey on an easier or more direct path. Time spent in education and training obviously falls into this category, but so does trial and error. When we pick up tips and learn shortcuts and new regimes, we’re still learning. Things often look easier when the final task is accomplished, and on reflection, you’d know if things would be done differently the next. K is time acquiring knowledge and know-how. This is an important part of any journey and should not be discounted or disguised. Consider K as an investment in future satisfaction.
S for Stop doing or do less
Inevitably, in life there are always things that are challenging and take up more time than they should. There are tasks that need not be done or could be automated or delegated. There are some activities we know, or eventually acknowledge, that we should not attempt to do or give up sooner. Perhaps we should stop doing them entirely or do them less frequently or for less time. This can be as simple as checking your inbox or social media too often, just in case, or going to the shops when you don’t really need anything or making phone calls when you have nothing to say, and you might be distracting the other person from doing something productive. S is good time management – knowing how to be more efficient, when to persevere, when to pass the task to someone else and when to say no.
PEAKS™ or, if you prefer, SPEAK™
Use TIYGA™ to build a picture of how you allocate time to each category and think about how much time you really need on each type of activity to get the most from your time and invest in your future. This could determine how you plan tomorrow, next week, month, quarter, or year – to make the most of the opportunities that are open to you. Don’t wait, start tracking with TIYGA’s “healthy and working” profile now. Applying PEAKS™ using TIYGA™ is quick and easy, take back control today!
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