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Sunday, 18 May 2014

What Do You Mean, You Didn’t Have the Time? You Have Exactly The Same as Everyone Elses

There probably more quotes about the subject of time than any other subject other than, perhaps, love.

Typical are:

·      Time and tide wait for no man
·      I would have written a shorter letter but I didn’t have the time
·      Time after time

It’s all very well but have you ever taken time out to try to define the concept of time?  Here are a couple of examples:

·      The indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.

·      The continued progress of existence as affecting people and things:

These are philosophical concepts rather than scientific and they make nonsense of the idea that we can “manage time” as espoused by many consultants specialising in Time Management.

I frequently hear from clients that “I just didn’t have the time to get round to it” or phrases to the same effect.  What they are saying, of course, is that they didn’t manage themselves to allocate the time in which to do the task.

It is equally illogical to say that we need to “make time to do something” when this is obviously a nonsensical idea because if we find difficulty in defining “time” how can we possibly “make time”.

Alright, I am being pedantic but it is wroth examining why time takes up so much of our daily conversations and discussions as well as, sadly, many reasons and excuses for non-performance.

The fact is that modern living has changed and indeed shortened our concept of time.  A mere few years ago, we managed to exist on letters sent by what is now know as “snail mail”, the telephone and by some magical modern inventions such as fax and telex (remember them?)

The development of the Internet and mobile communication has completely revolutionised our lives.  How did we exist without the ability to make contact with someone irrespective if what they are doing, whether they are busy or whether they want to speak to us in the first place?
Because of this ability many customers are becoming ever more demanding, telling us that there is a meeting scheduled (by then) for a couple of days hence and our attendance is required, and so on.

Look back not too far into the past.  We would normally give at least a couple of weeks notice of a meeting to discuss important matter and isn’t that a matter of courtesy anyway?

I like the idea that if we as leaders plot on a quadrant Important against Urgent, in the Not Important, Not Urgent, square the obvious response it to put on the back burner or the waste bin.

In the Urgent but Not Important square we can ask the question, “If it is urgent, what is important about it? And in the Important and Urged square, then some thing does of course nee to be done.

The square which the leader should note as special is the Important but Not Urgent because this implies that the future is the time when the leader needs to devote energy and thought.

So remember that we can’t make time, the best we can do is to understand that priorities must be established and we can them allocate the time to make sure that they are achieved.

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