Using Time to Your Advantage


In our present and modern world of independent and complex societies, the best results come from collaborating with many other people. We are not self-sufficient.

Use of time is therefore not the main resource as it used to be during the industrial era, in this world slaving away is less useful than having a bright idea and exploiting it. Time anxiety is unnecessary and self-defeating.

A recent survey of hours worked and productivity in the thirty-four member states of the OECD shows that the three countries in Europe where people work the longest hours (Greece, Hungary and Poland, in that order) rank almost bottom in terms of productivity (26th., 33rd. and 34th. respectively). By contrast, the three countries whose citizens work the fewest hours (Netherlands, Germany and Norway, in that order) do very well in terms of productivity (ranking 5th., 7th. and 2nd. respectively).

Ask yourself – what is more valuable, a lifetime of backbreaking work in the fields or inventing the harvester?

The value of time, like everything else, can also be explained by the 80/20 principle. Less than 20 percent of total time worked leads to far more than 80 percent of wealth creation.

A month of Albert Einstein’s life created a great deal more than most people are likely to achieve in a lifetime.

Therefore, value is not related to time, but to ideas, collaboration and intent.

Valuable Managers are those who are creative, promote collaboration and act on those ideas. 

However, most Managers are still trapped in the use of time paradox as the index of output where quantity of work trumps quality and speed trumps reflection. Most intriguing of all, they like it this way. Sounds familiar?

Managers need to look within themselves:

  1. Their first priority is to identify the most valuable aspects of your work.
  2. Then you need the freedom and self-confidence to focus on those areas and ignore everything else.
  3. Most of all, you need the temperament and discipline to think before you act, to resist distractions and to work only on those vital matters that are truly worthwhile. 

There are two type of Managers:

  • The majority type, which are desperately busy, suffering the never enough time syndrome, they are harassed with trivial matters and endless meetings and emails, they are stressed, multitask constantly without focus, they get in early to work and go home late.
  • The Time-Rich Manager, the ones who breeze into the office with a smile on their face, promote collaboration and creativity, focus on issues that matter to their clients, the company and themselves, they think and plan carefully and with focus,are at ease and satisfied when they go home (usually at a reasonable hour).