Managing Activities vs Managing Time
By Hina Khan, Success Coach and Registered Psychotherapist
Take a look at any self-development or business section in the bookstore or online market, and you’ll find a plethora of books on time management. Each of these books wants to help you alleviate overwhelm, bring clarity to your day and schedule, and make you more productive.
But the problem is that you can’t manage time as much as you can’t influence the moon’s trajectory. Time is a construct, a concept so big that it boggles scientists and philosophers equally. You can’t put time in a box or spreadsheet.
So, the conclusion is that you don’t manage time – you manage activities.
This may sound like hair-splitting, but it’s important to understand the difference. Time, as we know it, is equal for all of us. We all have twenty-four hours in our day. No amount of wealth or riches can change that. We try to fight time, with our face-smoothing Instagram filters or buying anti-aging products, but in the end, we are subject to time.
We can, however, fit our activities into the time we have. We can also look at time differently.
If you noticed above, I use the word “fight” when talking about time. We all have our paradigms and perspectives around time. We all tend to see time as our enemy, something to be conquered or held off as long as possible.
When we see it like that, we are assuming a victim mentality. We are viewing it as a foe rather than the inert or neutral thing that it is. What if we could eliminate the energy around fighting it, and use that same energy to organize and complete our tasks? How would that ease overwhelm?
Remember that 20% of your activities are responsible for 80% of your results.
KNOWING THAT, WHAT ARE SOME WARNING SIGNS OF POOR ACTIVITY MANAGEMENT?
- You go down the rabbit hole of research. When you feel like you don’t know enough, you jump into information overload mode, hoping to get your ducks in a row. The problem is that you keep adding ducks. You don’t get anything done, but you’re terribly busy and tired.
- Your results aren’t in line with your goals. You’re exhausted at the end of the long day, and you’re not much closer to your goal, or you’re finding yourself straying from that goal.
- Your procrastination and/or perfectionism flare up more and more. You put off or spend too much time on tasks, which causes further stress and being behind.
- You’re indecisive. You struggle with making clear choices or spending too much time looking at options and alternatives, and less time getting things done.
- Your performance lags. You’re rushed and yet still behind. You miss deadlines, efficiency plummets and your backlog grows.
When you’re in a rut, it shows up in your bottom line, your energy, your relationships, and your overall being. When you’re efficient with task management and it’s working for you, you will find that you’re more productive, you’re satisfied at the end of the day but not exhausted, and you feel good because your energy is in line with your tasks and goal.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS ON HOW DO YOU BECOME MORE PROFICIENT IN TASK MANAGEMENT :
- See how time can be an ally rather than a foe. Stop fighting it. Understand you can’t trick time or bend it to your whims. It just is. When you accept that, you shift your thinking.
- Eat that frog. This term was coined by Mark Twain and used as the title of Brian Tracy’s book on managing tasks. Do the biggest or hardest task first. Get it out of the way. It can give you a sense of great satisfaction and free up mental energy.
- Quality vs Quantity. Look at what activities move the dial most, rather than how many you can pull off in a day or week. Identify which ones create the most impact and focus on those ones rather than on the “keep busy” ones.
- Delegate or automate. Look for repetitive tasks that keep showing up and investigate whether you can outsource or automate them. Removing these smaller, yet necessary, tasks can free you to take care of more important duties.
- Set up your personal life for professional success. How can you shore up things in your personal life so that it gives you more time to take care of professional tasks? Ordering groceries online for delivery, dog-walking services, laundry services, domestic help, etc. are ways that you can free up space to take care of business, especially when you work from home and those dishes are staring at you while you’re trying to create a sales page.
- Chunk out your activities. Keep yourself organized. Put times around your tasks so that you stay on track. Keep the time on less important tasks short while giving yourself more space for the more important jobs. Planning your day the night before or morning is best.
- Know that you are in charge of your time. Notice that you can stretch a simple task into hours when it normally takes minutes? And yet you can do what would normally take you hours into half an hour (think back to finishing a paper due that day or packing for an unexpected trip and the airport limo is waiting outside!). In the end, you are responsible for what gets done when.
When you are on top of your tasks, you will feel freer, more organized, and most importantly, more likely to achieve your goals. Your results will change. You will change. And you will see that it’s not a time thing, but a you thing, which is something you can control… any time you want.
HINA KHAN, Success Coach and Registered Psychotherapist, As a Success Coach and registered psychotherapist, Hina Khan has been a student of the mind, human behavior, and human potential for over a decade. Hina guides and mentors people to work through seemingly unbreakable barriers, whether it be creating quantum leaps in their business or exceeding personal goals. She does this by exploring and challenging the thoughts and beliefs that hold so many of us back. Then through extensive work, those thoughts and beliefs are replaced with ones that help to supercharge her clients’ growth. Hina has found that no matter how gifted, talented or brilliant a person is, if we don’t deal with our paradigms (limiting sub-conscious beliefs) we can never truly soar and have the positive results we are capable of creating in our personal and professional lives. Hina believes coaching is a powerful tool for change as one aligns with their purpose, vision, and goals, allowing them to have mastery in both their personal and professional lives. She has trained extensively with her mentor Bob Proctor and is one of the top consultants for the successful “Thinking Into Results” program. Her extensive training at the distinguished Centre for Training in Psychotherapy anchors her coaching expertise. Hina is also a familiar face in television and is called on as an expert for a number of programs.