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Holistic time management revisited.

In the past I have described holistic time management, as I see it, as the application of strategies necessary in order to lead a happier, healthier, longer, and more productive and fulfilling life. It addresses the person as a whole as opposed to simply their management of time.

But many time conscious people could be turned off by this definition; because they want to simply focus on efficiency and effectiveness and getting more work done in less time.

Either they think they are already happy, healthy, and destined for a long, fulfilling life – or they are not at that stage of life where those things seem important to them. After all, why would they be concerned about such things as exercise, getting more sleep, building personal relationships and spending time in the garden or walking in the park? These things consume time rather than save time, don’t they?

The short answer to that last question is “yes.” The long answer is that they only consume time on a short-term basis – just as organizing your office, training staff members so they can take over jobs that you are currently doing, and learning to use available technology all consume time. But these are all investments of time, which soon pay off by freeing up even more time that you can spend on those priority personal and organizational goals that will ensure your success.

For example, getting more sleep could increase your energy, boost your memory, improve your creativity, reduce lost time through illness and even extend your productive time by two or more years. Wouldn’t that be considered a time management strategy? Get less than six hours sleep a night, and you work as efficiently as you would if you were drunk. And if you think you can get by just fine on five hours sleep a night, remember it’s your sleep deprived brain that’s telling you that.

If you want scientific evidence of these things, refer to my e-book, Sleep: a time management strategy, published by Bookboon.com. There are plenty of references there. I’m just a reporter, not a researcher.

Similarly it has been shown that attitude, exercise, environment, mindfulness, stress management, relationships, music, volunteering, laughter, diet, nature, memory training, purposeful living, and even scenic views can increase your personal productivity – as well as umpacting your longevity. All these and more are discussed in my most recent book, How to grow older without growing old, a 147-page book now available as a download at my Taylorintime website.

It summarizes the relevant information in at least half of my 21 e-books that have been published to date by Bookboon.com. Although it is directed at fellow seniors, I believe it’s an even more important read as a time investment for those sixty-five and younger.

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Investing time yields dividends

Time Investments

Time Investments

It takes time to save time

Time Investments are those activities that eventually free up more time than they consume. For example, many people fail to plan because planning takes time. As a result, they lose more time battling crises than the planning would have taken. Planning is a time investment.

Similarly delegation, communication, exercise, technology, goal setting, forming habits, self-development, procedures and networking are all examples of time investments. If you had time to work on them they would free up more time in turn.

Unfortunately, like money investments, the payoff usually takes time. And time is at a premium. Although delegation will free up huge chunks of time in the future, the time spent training others takes place in the present. Since most people already have a full day, where do they get the hour or more needed each week in order to do the training?

The same question could be asked of any of the time investments mentioned. That new digital handheld device may save time, but we need time to learn how to use it properly. Similarly we know that regular exercise will keep us more energetic, healthier, more mentally alert and more productive, but where do we get the half-hour or more each day to make it happen? It takes time to set goals, form time saving habits, develop procedures and communicate properly. Where does that time come from?

That’s where many of the time management tips can come into play. Not the ones I call behavioral ideas, which require that habits be formed before they will work, but those mechanical ideas that will free up time immediately. For example, arranging action files vertically in step file holders within easy reach instead of piling them horizontally on your desk eliminates a lot of searching and shuffling. Upgrading your digital devices and equipment, backing up your files in the cloud, using voice-activated software and text-replacement software, all save time – which in turn can be used on time investment activities such as training.

An idea may only save you one minute a day; but multiply that minute by sixty similar ideas and you have an hour. Imagine being able to free up five hours each week! That represents time for training or sleeping or exercise – or any other time investment.

You only need time for one time investment to start, since that one will generate the time for others. If you start with delegation, for instance, you will soon free up the time that the delegated task has been taking. Then you would spend some of that time on planning, which would free up more time to invest in exercise and so on. You are re-investing the profits, so to speak, and continually increasing the amount of time at your disposal.

This process takes time, so don’t be impatient. You will gradually become more organized, more productive and more relaxed. Then when you start investing time in behavioral ideas, such as making notes while on the telephone, checking email less frequently scheduling tasks in your planner, saying no more often and reducing procrastination, your productivity will soar.

It takes time to manage time. And time, like money, cannot be manufactured. It must be earned. But by investing wisely in the present, you will reap timely rewards in the future.