These days, the traditional modes of doing business have been disrupted enormously by the possibilities opened up by new technologies such as the Internet. As a result, more and more people are setting themselves up as entrepreneurs, many others are working remotely, and many businesses are adopting more relaxed approach is to time management.
At times, this can yield significant benefit. But at other times, it can make things overly chaotic, and reduce effective time management. One solution to this is found in tools and technologies such as a digitised time & attendance system, or programs such as RescueTime that seek to reduce the predominance of distraction. But is it worth your time making the effort to boost time management in this way? Absolutely. Here are a few reasons why.
Wasted minutes here and there equal wasted potential and opportunity
In her very well-received book, “168 Hours”, author Laura Vanderkam details many remarkable accounts of highflying business professionals, who nonetheless also find the time to fit in an array of fulfilling hobbies, side hustles, family commitments, and other pastimes.
The secret? These hyper-productive people are absolutely meticulous about seizing upon every available free minute in the day. The simple reality is that wasted minutes here and there equal wasted potential and opportunity.
If you have a long commute to work – let’s say, an hour or more – spending that time sitting in your car listening to the radio, should be seen as a choice to pass up on more productive uses of the same time. So, what else could you do with that time? Well, how about listening to audiobooks that improve your knowledge set in a useful area?
We are all faced with many small blocks of time throughout the day, that we tend to waste. But that wasting of time isn’t benign. It’s a vote for a particular lifestyle that is ultimately unproductive in many domains.
Truly effective, deep work is only possible in sizeable, undistracted time blocks
The author Cal Newport has risen to prominence in recent years, largely due to his powerful book “Deep Work.”
The central thesis of this book is that the market increasingly rewards the ability to do deep, focused, and undistracted work. Newport cites research that shows that the longer a task is worked on in an undistracted manner, the higher the quality of the end product, and the greater the skills developed through said work.
By contrast, many offices today include constant distraction, in the form of email checking, unnecessary meetings, and so on. Worryingly, research shows that even something as simple as checking your email inbox for a few seconds can reduce your ability to focus effectively for the next half an hour or so. Truly effective, deep work seems to require sizeable, undistracted time blocks. And that means, significant time management.
Poor time management trains the habit of poor time management
The neuroscientist Norman Doidge has written extensively on the way in which the habits we routinely participate in shape the physical structures of our brain, and reinforce behavioural loops.
Similarly, Newport cites research that the ability to do focused work seems to be a skill that requires practice, and results in physical changes in the brain structures.
Poor time management, therefore, trains and ingrains the habit of poor time management on a physiological level. The stakes are high. By creating a culture of effective time management, you literally create more focused, punctual, and effective workers. By failing to do so, you create the opposite.