The generations of time | CorporateWise

The generations of time

Where did the time go?

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Time is the only capital that any human being has and the only thing he can’t afford to loose. We tend to have varying perceptions of time. If you have a fantastic weekend, time flies. If you are sitting in a queue at SARS, time drags. But time neither speeds up nor slows down. It’s simply our perceptions of those situations that change.

At some point or another most of us have said: “There’s not enough time in the day” “If only I had more time”

There are many different approaches to time management. Steven Covey, for example, refers to “generations” of time management and lists four in his book First things First.
The first generation he talks about comprises ‘reminders’. Lists, such as those for shopping, picking up laundry etc. If we don’t accomplish what is on our list we simply add it to tomorrow’s. Many of us apply this principle. 

The second generation is one of ‘planning and preparing’ and is characterised by calendars and appointment books. The emphasis here is on setting goals, scheduling future events and activities. 

The third generation approach involves ‘planning, prioritising and controlling’. If you apply the principles of this generation you will probably spend time clarifying you values and priorities. You have asked yourself “What do I want out of life?” You have set yourself short, medium and long term goals to obtain these values. 

Fourth generation time management is understanding how to find a balance between all four cornerstones of our life, physical, spiritual, mental and emotional and to understand 
why we are controlled by events instead of principles.

People expect us to be busy and overworked. It has become a status symbol in our society. If we are busy, we’re important. If we’re not busy we’re almost embarrassed to admit it. I remember, some years ago when I worked ‘in corporate’, leaving the office at 5:30pm and someone saying to me “Are you working half day?”. Being busy is where we get our security. But if we are busy and, possibly efficient, are we always being effective?

Chances are good that at some time or another you have attended a Time Management workshop and tried to use a planner to organise, prioritise and schedule your day.Why then do we still feel like we can't get everything done that we need to?Because there are two types of time – clock time and real time.

In clock time, there are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year. All time passes equally. When someone turns 50, they are exactly 50 years old, no more or no less.

In real time, all time is relative. Time flies or drags depending on what you're doing. Two hours at the Department of Home Affairs can feel like 12 years. And yet our 12-year-old 
children seem to have grown up in only two hours.

The reason time management systems don't work is that these systems are designed to manage clock time. Clock time is irrelevant. You don't live in or even have access to 
clock time. You live in real time, a world in which all time flies when you are having fun or drags when you are doing your taxes.

The good news is that real time is mental. We create it. Anything you create, you can manage. It's time to remove the self-limitation you have around "not having enough time." 

There are only three ways to spend time: thoughts, conversations and actions. 

You may be frequently interrupted or pulled in different directions. While you cannot eliminate interruptions, you do get a say on how much time you will spend on them and how much time you will spend on the thoughts, conversations and actions that will lead you to success. 

CorporateWise runs various time management workshops to suit the needs of individual organisations. We also run time management and wellness workshops which approach time and stress management from a holistic perspective.