When You’re In a Time Warp and You Don’t Even Know It by @Barbclifford
By Barbara Clifford 3 on When You’re In a Time Warp and You Don’t Even Know It by @Barbclifford
by Barbara Clifford | Featured Contributor
When Time Stands Still
Do you remember sitting in the most boring class during school? You look at the clock and think to yourself, just 20 more minutes until the bell and I can leave this mind-numbingly boring class. You try to focus on the droning teacher. Nope. Can’t. You look at the clock thinking the bell must be close, it must have been close to 20 minutes by now and only 5 minutes has passed. Did time stand still?
When You’re in a Time Warp
Then there will be times when you are absolutely enthralled and consumed by an activity. Your mind is buried in the task with intense enthusiasm, you look at the clock and time has passed like the snapping of fingers. Wow! Where did that time go?
Why Does Time Flex Like This?
No matter what we set our minds to do, we faced with the limitations of time. Yet, our perceptions of how long activities take can be grossly inaccurate. For example, you might ask me, how long do you spend on social media each day (a task I love and am consumed by), I might say “Oh, not long, maybe 2 hours”. You might then ask me how long it takes me to do a task I despise, let’s say filing, I might say “Oh, takes forever, probably 45 minutes.
Start Time Tracking
When you feel that you are struggling to manage your time, it is worthwhile actually monitoring how long you take to complete tasks. I use toggl.com. It’s a free online tool that assists you to track and monitor the time you spend on tasks, projects and clients. I was quite alarmed to discover how wrong my estimates were. My 2 hours on social media was probably more like 4 and the time taken for filing was probably more like 20 minutes.
Time Vs Energy
Most people believe that when we have bountiful energy, this is when we should be doing the things that we love and when we have low energy, we should be doing the tasks we really don’t like. However, the lower your energy, the harder it is to work, am I right? Your level of resistance is going to be much greater when you are in your low energy phase.
So you really need to schedule the difficult tasks when in the high energy parts of your day. Doing this will ensure that you get through the task a lot faster and with less temptation for distraction and procrastination. If you are doing the things you love when you have high energy, guess what? You’ll get the task done quicker and so you don’t get to enjoy it. Annoying! Rather, do the task you love when you have low energy. By doing this you will quickly boost your energy level.
Spend some time tracking your energy flow throughout the day, rating your energy level. (This useful form will get you started: Energy Mapping Sheet).
For many people, one hour after lunch is often a low energy time as their body is sometimes digesting high carb food taking away the energy from their brain. The natural flow of our energy is also known circadian rhythms.
I find this tool really useful when I’m feeling burnt out after an intense period of work. The temptation to fluff around and achieve little is great. When you look at your workload for the day, you might not find it easy to look at the list in terms of the love/hate relationship.
Instead, you can look at it from the point of view of brain energy required. What tasks are easy to do and don’t consume brain energy, what tasks are more complex and require a sophisticated level of concentration? Put little symbols next to your “To Do List” to rate the brain energy required. Tackle the low brain energy ones in your low energy phase and you’ll find that your brain, like a muscle, will eventually warm up, enabling you to tackle the moderate to high brain energy tasks.
What tips or tricks do you use to manage your time and energy together? Share your ideas in the comments below.
Barbara Clifford – The Time Tamer – Time Management & Stress Management EnthusiastBarbara Clifford (a.k.a The Time Tamer) has spent over 20 years working in stressful and time precious industries such as film, hospitality and marketing. She has always had a burning passion for creating order out of chaos. Barbara assists people to find clarity in their environment, control of their time and alleviate stress. From gay bars to cruise ships, Barbara’s professional experience has been diverse, including contracts with small business, Not For Profits, Aboriginal Organisations, Media, Marketing, Aged Care and Health Services to name a few. Find out more at timetamer.com.au