Some people look upon time management the same way they would a crossword puzzle, a short story, or a math problem. Puzzles, stories, and math problems have a defined beginning, a middle, and an end that is clearly identified. While the process of time management certainly does have a beginning, there is no real end to the process. It is ongoing, much like the way that a river continues to flow when there are no dams or other impediments to stop its flow.
Once you have created a solid beginning to your time management mindset and approaches, you will continue to refine them for the rest of your life. That is, you will do so if you do not make the mistake of assuming you have learned all there is to know about the subject.
Just as time continues to flow, the process of time management continues to evolve. Part of the reasons for this is that the world continues to change. As new situations arise or old situations are changed in some manner, methodologies and approaches that worked very well a few years ago may not be so effective today. Hence, the need to create, learn and implement new ways of applying the basic principles of time management.
Not everyone who claims to be an excellent time manager grasps this basic understanding. They continue trying to fit new situations and settings into the same old mold they’ve used successfully in the past. Often, the result is much like attempting to shove a square peg into a round hole. It simply doesn’t fit and slows progress down to a crawl.
In order to keep evolving in your understanding and use of time management, you must prevent yourself from getting too attached to any one way of doing things. There must always be a sense of openness to new ideas, new strategies and new ways to handle different tasks. Without this openness, there is a good chance that some very productive approaches will slip past, leaving you unprepared to deal with a number of situations.
If you are serious about continually refining your grasp of time management, you must:
1) Keep an open mind. New situations are sometimes handled effectively with proven approaches. At other times, they call for brand new methodologies that must be learned. If you are flexible enough to consider these alternative solutions, you just might find a new way of saving time that will help you with other tasks on your list as well as this new one that just cropped up.
2) Know your stuff, but remain teachable. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking you know everything. True, you may know a lot. But there is always someone who knows something you don’t. If you are serious about expanding the scope of your knowledge, be willing to listen and learn, even if the source appears to be an unlikely one.
3) Give new ideas a test drive. It’s not enough to be willing to consider new ideas or even learn the basics of them. You need to be willing to try them out before you decide your old way is better. Take the example of typing a letter. When word processing software became widely available, it was met with a considerable amount of opposition from typists who were able to type a business letter at an impressive speed and with no errors. If they could produce a professional letter using a typewriter, what good was using a desktop computer? Fortunately, people soon found that using the word processing software was much more efficient than the old reliable typewriter and after a brief period of transition, excellent typists quickly came to love the resources that were suddenly at their disposal. What would have happened if they had rejected the new technology out of hand?
There is always the potential to learn something new that will make it easier to organize your tasks and put your time to better use. Embrace this fact rather than fight it, and you are very likely to find that the process of time management becomes all the easier.