How many times have you heard the phrase “time is money”? The problem is that anyone saying that does not understand the concept of time. Time is not money – it’s far more important.
Time is the only thing that cannot ever, under any circumstances be replaced. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. There are however many tales of people losing fortunes only to replace them a short time later, but even the richest person on the planet cannot buy back time. It’s strange how so many things that we own these days, computers, mobile phones, microwaves, instant tv dinners, the internet, AI etc. etc. etc. are all designed with the intention of saving time and yet we seem to have less and less time available. There is only one conclusion and that is that whilst these things may be productive and efficient they are not effective at saving time. They just enable us to fit more and more of the things we don’t really want to do into the same amount of time. In fact you cannot save time. You can save money, save a building, under certain circumstances even save a life but you can’t save time. No matter what you do it ebbs away at the same rate, it cannot be banked or saved and cannot be recovered. It can just be spent.
At the end of the day, severe illness or accident apart we all have roughly the same amount of time. According to his book “Four Thousand Weeks, Time And How To Use It” Oliver Burkeman suggests that we all have in the region of 4,000 weeks into which we must cram everything we want to do. That’s not bad because when I was born we blokes only had three score years and ten (3,640 weeks). Not only do we now have all the time saving devices to enable us to fit more into the time available but we have more of that time. So where did it all go wrong?
The answer is simple. Time has not changed but we have. We now try to fit more and more into the same amount of time. It’s like trying to fit soft pillows into a metal box. You can crush the pillows and even use those vacuum pack devices to get more in but the box doesn’t get any bigger and eventually you can’t stuff any more in. What happens next is that you start to damage the pillows that are already in the box and still you have pillows bulging over the top. No matter what you do, the box stays the same size. Time is the same. Using productivity and efficiency methods you can stuff more and more into the same amount of time but eventually you can’t get any more into the box and it all starts to go wrong. Trust me I’ve tried and it doesn’t work.
That’s why being effective with your rime is so much better than always being productive or efficient. Reading a book or watching television or just sitting there will be seen as a total waste of time by the productivity and efficiency people. A walk in the woods with the dogs is neither productive nor efficient but if you want to make the most of your time it can be effective.
Yes, we need to make the best use of time, both at work and away from work, but so many of us lost the plot. Efficiency and productivity have their places but the world would be a far better place if we all made effective use of our time to do those things that are the most important rather than constantly worshiping the great god productivity. Climate change is as a result of producing too much not producing what we need effectively. Productivity and efficiency won’t solve the global climate crisis but effective use of time just might.
Now the hypocrisy of this blog will not have gone unnoticed by those of you who know me. Up until fairly recently it has always been my aim to get “a quart from a half pint pot”. I’m not abandoning productivity or efficiency here. They are both very important, but effectiveness trumps them. For the last eighteen months or so I have been trying to develop effectiveness over everything else and this is just the latest step along the way.
Next time you chastise yourself for being unproductive ask yourself did you do something effective? Did you spend time effectively or just productively? Achieve what you want to achieve both in and out of work. Don’t have a work, life balance Why Work Life Balance Doesn’t Exist instead be effective in all areas.
Work from home epitomises the situation for so many. It might be productive to work on the train going into work but is it effective? Would you not be far better off working from home, getting things done and using the time released for something else? Even if that something else is watching tv or mindlessly scrolling on Instagram if that’s what you want to do? That time with the cat videos is undoubtedly unproductive but changing your travel arrangements may make the whole day more effective.
The same applies if you want an effective business. Stop trying to do more and start trying use the resources you have more effectively. Stop trying to do more with what you have and instead try to use it more effectively. People who work 60, 70, 80 plus hours a week may appear very productive but are not effective What’s The Difference Between Being At Work & Working? Far better to employ techniques that enable an effective outcome and we can help you here.
Easier said than done but worth the effort.
Remember, time is not money – it’s far more important.
If you want to discuss how we can help make you or your business more effective then please Contact us and we will be happy to discuss things in more depth.