Time Management is a very Important Tool for Every Aspect of our Life
How it works
“What is time?” Everyone thinks of something similar when they think of time. Some say that time is a type of measurement for everything we do, while others say that it is a commodity that, once used, cannot be replaced. The dictionary states, “Time is a measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues.”
“Time is the most misused resource known to man. It is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it.
You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once it’s lost, you can never get it back. It often takes the misuse of it to realize its true value. When asked, ‘What is the biggest mistake we make in life?’ a wise man replied, ‘The biggest mistake is thinking you have time.'”
Everybody has an equal opportunity of time in their life. We all have 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, and 60 seconds in a minute. The average person lives 79 years. We spend 33 years of our life in bed, which is over a third of our life! We spend 13 years of our life working, yet many people want to leave their current jobs. We spend 11 years in front of a screen. We spend 6 years doing chores. We spend four and a half years eating and drinking. We spend a year and a half in education. We spend 1.5 years in child care. We spend 1 year commuting. That leaves us with 7 years. How will we spend that time?
A good analogy to use with time is to imagine you wake up every day with $86,400 in your bank account, and at the end of the night, it’s all gone whether you spent it or not. Then, the next day you get another $86,400. What would we do with it? Every day, 86,400 seconds are deposited into your life account. At the end of the day, once they’re all gone, you get a new 86,400 seconds. We would never waste it if it was money, so why do we waste it when it comes to time? Those seconds are so much more powerful than dollars because you can always make more dollars, but you can’t always make more time.
Sometimes, there has to be a major event to realize the value of time. Rather than making all the mistakes ourselves, we can look at scenarios that help us realize the value of time at all levels. To realize the value of one year, ask a student who has to redo a grade. To realize the value of one month, ask a mother who lost her child in the eighth month. To realize the value of one week, ask the people in Florida who will experience a hurricane in one week. To realize the value of one hour, ask the mother whose child is at college out of state. To realize the value of one minute, ask the person who just missed a plane. To realize the value of one second, ask the person who just missed an accident. To realize the value of a millisecond, ask the person who just came second in the Olympic 100 meter race.
Steve Jobs once said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” So, there’s good news and there’s bad news. The bad news is that time flies; the good news is you’re the pilot. We think that it’s people wasting our time, but it’s really us giving them the permission to do that.
In order to understand people’s views on time, I conducted interviews and surveys with several different individuals. Being a senior, I wanted to understand other seniors’ perspectives on time and gauge their confidence in their time management skills. I accomplished this through a five-question survey on Survey Monkey. The first question asked was, “What do you regard as the most valuable resource?” Out of the thirty responses, 65% answered “time”, 10% said “money”, 10% said “water”, and 15% of the people said “other”. These responses were somewhat surprising to me. With time, you can accomplish anything; these other options could always be regained, but not time. The second survey question was, “How often do you find yourself running out of time?” All but one person answered that they find themselves running out of time at some point or other.
These were rather expected results because deadlines are always close and time is short. The third survey question was, “How well do you manage time?” The answers given were also rather expected. All participants, except two, stated that they could use some type of improvement when it comes to time management. Time management is a very important tool in every aspect of our life; without it, our lives become a complete mess. The next question on the survey was, “If time was money, would you treat it differently?” Sixty percent of the respondents said that they would likely treat time differently if it was money. The remaining forty percent of the people said that it was unlikely. These results were a bit surprising to me because of the number of people who said they wouldn’t treat time differently if it was money. This could be a good thing because if people wouldn’t treat time differently, then they could already be valuing it as much as money. For those who said they would treat it differently, remember – time is money, so you should treat it that way. The last survey question asked was, “Do you consider time a precious resource?” The results were quite expected and everyone, except one person, said yes. Time is undoubtedly the most valuable resource we have.
To gather more people’s views on time and a little advice, I conducted interviews with business owners, students, and teachers. In all the interviews, the first question I asked the interviewee was: How would you best define time? I received several very interesting definitions of time. Every one of the students’ and teachers’ answers said something about a measurement. This is a good term to use when defining time. One of the favorite definitions I received from these interviews was from a teacher. He said, “time is a measurement against deadlines.” The business owners took a slightly different approach. Two out of the three I interviewed mentioned something about a commodity that will run out if not utilized. Time adheres to the expression, use it or lose it.
The next question I asked in all interviews was, “In your eyes, what is more valuable, money or time?” This is a pretty obvious question for most people and everyone answered with the same answer: time. The interviewees said they believed time is more valuable because you can always earn more money but not more time. It can be hard to equate your time with money, but consider the analogy I gave earlier about every second being a dollar and getting deposited into your bank account daily.
The third question I asked in all my interviews was: “What are some techniques you use to save time?” I was surprised that all three groups of people used the same, or similar, tactics to save time. These tactics consisted of making lists, prioritizing, scheduling, delegating, multitasking, working smarter not harder, documenting procedures, being observant, simplifying, and blocking out time for certain things. If someone is struggling with time management and needs a few tactics, it would be a good idea to talk to someone successful and experienced. They could give a few key tips.
From here on, the interviews had different questions from each other due to the differences in professions. In the business owners’ interviews, the next question I asked was, “How has good time management contributed to your business success?” All three business owners gave quite different answers. The first owner had more of a management perspective on the question, which was evident through his answer. He said, “Good time management has led us to being very open-minded, which has made us flexible.” He also said, “By simplifying things, it clears up all the monotonous work so you can focus more on the big picture.” This shows that his tactic of simplifying things had a direct result in his business success because they could focus on the big picture and their main goals.
The second business owner you could see had a more operational approach to this question, evident in his answer. He said, “Good time management has really brought down prices when efficiencies were introduced that saved time, enabling us to charge less to our customers and better compete with competitors.” Different tactics, like being lean, saved this business weeks’ worth of work and allowed them to better compete in the marketplace. This is another example of how time management can affect the efficiency of businesses. The third owner I interviewed had a more sales-focused approach, visible in his answer. He remarked, “Good time management has helped us because when salespeople are out on the road, they schedule more than just one appointment, which reduces travel expenses.” This shows that the tactic of efficient scheduling can save businesses thousands of dollars in travel expenses.