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BLOG – Time: You Can’t Own it or Keep it, But You Can Sure Spend It and Use It

By Helena Kim, Coaching Psychologist & Work Relationship Specialist

Most bright and ambitious people set high goals, and the recent workshop by Dr Marloes Tijssen titled “Time Management with a Touch of Coaching” helped the delegates to get more time efficient to reach their high goals. It was a great turn out with accomplished delegates from the university, local labs, corporate industry, and general members of our community. Imagine the lively discussion in this brain powered room generated by Marloes’ useful tools and tips.  Let me summarise this informative evening.

We began with the end in mind using an illustration tool that helped us envision where we want to be and where we are now. The next question was, “How do you see yourself getting there?” The workshop provided not just how, but what to use, that will help us be more organised and to get there more thoughtfully.

Two easy acronyms to remember as we set our goals; GROW and SMART.

GROW lays things out to answer the where, what, how, and when to reach your goal.

  • Goal: Where do you want to be?
  • Reality: Where are you now?
  • Options: What are the many possible ways? What are your obstacles?
  • Will do: How do you want to get started? When are your markers to achieve this goal?

If your goal is SMART, there’s a higher probability you will achieve it.

  • Specific: Make it snappy & simple
  • Measurable: Quantify it to qualify it
  • Achievable: Make it attainable and into bite sizes
  • Relevant: Make it worthwhile and align it with your long-term plans
  • Time based: Give it a deadline and use a time line
Marloes’ illustration of how ‘GROW’ and ‘SMART’ helped her take control of her tasks instead of the tasks controlling her

Eisenhower Urgent-Important Matrix

We all have one to-do list or another. Take the items and not just prioritise but assign them a quadrant in this matrix. Your task is to do, delegate, decide or ditch the task.

The conventional wisdom is if you spend more quality time planning, organising, and deciding on those important and not urgent items first, you will have fewer items that end up in the urgent/important box. It was useful to clearly separate “what’s my agenda and what’s someone else’s agenda” when we broached this matrix.

Great tips:

  • Turn off alerts and phones while working
  • Believe in “my time is valuable” – Learn how to say no to tasks and projects that are not relevant to your big goal
  • Take regular breaks to prevent brain & body fatigue
  • Reward good work
  • Meditate to recharge your brain, mind, and body to focus
  • Mindfulness to help reset yourself
  • Avoid 24/7 work mindset. Have a life.
  • Set clear boundaries between work and play
  • Pomodoro. Work more effectively in small chunks of time with breaks
  • There were tech tools that were suggested by Marloes and delegates, such as OMNI for MAC, Trello, Slack, Braintoss, ASANA, etc.

We recognised management is less about time or management, it’s more about self-care and self-awareness. How well are you taking care of yourself? What tools and tips work for you? Are you a morning person or a night owl? Are you organically or structurally organised? What distracts you? Is it time or is it your motivation that needs tending? If you procrastinate, what’s underneath that fear or dread? How are you spending your chronological time? What’s taking up your emotional time? Time management is also subjective depending on your personality, preference, and habit.

At the end of the day, life is about love and work, so how are you valuing yourself, your relationships, and work? 

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