“Time is nature’s way of keeping everything from happening all at once.” That was the opening line from a time management course I took many years ago back in Philadelphia.
I remember thinking the instructor’s comment was more than just a colorful way of shining light on how we perceive time sequentially. There was another lesson in there somewhere. My expectation had been to come away with another boring way to manage my to-do list so, I was surprised to discover something else. Maybe even something profound. It occurred to me that our sequential view of time limits what we can accomplish. That bears repeating. Our view of time is limiting so, it is not time, but rather, our perception of time that limits us.
Not necessarily. It’s similar to someone saying they want more money when what they really want is more of what money can buy (or think it can). Like money, we can spend our time wisely or we can spend it foolishly – and we’ve all been guilty of both. What we really want more of is what time has to offer – the stuff of life (or in business – results). However we perceive time, one thing is for sure: time just keeps on moving and no one can change it in any way—it simply can’t be managed. But results are another matter.
So, where does that leave us when all we can control are the results we want to achieve within the framework of time? I think managing results is very different from managing time, or attempting to. It could be as simple as a subtle shift in perspective. It may be counterintuitive but, effective results management doesn’t need to take much time at all.
A friend once told me he completed an important project in one evening at his kitchen table that would have ordinarily taken him days. He described it to me saying “it was as if time stood still.” Somehow my friend got beyond the constraints of time and went right to the result. Somehow his focus was not hindered by time or limitations of any kind. That night he was able to shift his perspective and his focus to see clearly what needed to be done and he just did it. Time was not a factor.
We never seem to run out of reasons why a shortage of time – or money, for that matter – keeps us from accomplishing something. But when the lack of time becomes our reason for not having the results we claim to want, it might be time for us to take another look at it. In the end we can have our reasons or we can have our results. Which one is more satisfying?