By S Zuhair Naqvi/Doha
I would hate to think of the time I’ve wasted reading about time management. Not that it isn’t important – it is. But something that most books don’t cover is that time management is less about managing your time and more about managing your mind.
We all have the same number of hours in the day. The distinction between success and failure lies in how we use them. It’s easy enough to allocate time to an important presentation but, if we spend that time worrying or flitting between tasks, we’re going to waste much of it.
You can’t actually manage time. What you can manage is your attention and focus so you can maximise the time that you have. Think about how effective you’d be if you worked on tasks with 100% of your focus. That’s the gap between good and great.
In a recent training session I conducted, I asked attendees what they’d do with an extra hour every day. The answers were inspiring, ranging from learning a new language and working on a start-up to volunteering at a charity. Most fail to realise that we all have extra hours if we maximise our minds.
Instead of worrying about time management, you should consider how you can stay completely focused when you need to. It’s not as difficult as it sounds.
The first step is to assess how you’re spending your time, asking yourself whether what you’re doing in the moment is in line with what you’re trying to achieve. Begin by tracking your activities and recording how long you are and should be spending on each.
The second step is to review your environment, looking for the things that heighten or hamper attention. Do you work better in silence or with music? Can you turn off your phone? Be aware of anything that disrupts your attention and keep a notepad handy to jot these down, so you can stay on task.
The third step, arguably the most challenging, is to train your mind to focus. If you want to see how focused you currently are, try closing your eyes and taking ten deep breaths without thinking about anything other than your breath. Not so easy is it?
Our minds are filled with competing thoughts every day. We can strengthen our focus by blocking out the noise and distraction in order to maximise our time and our minds.
* lS Zuhair Naqvi is the Managing Director of DicoTech Qatar WLL, and an EMBA alumnus of HEC Paris, Class of 2016.
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