Could you do with managing your time better? Would you like to be more productive and set and lead a great example based on how you are managing your time? Would you like the people around you to respect your time and make better use of theirs?
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, then, the solution is:
The true value of those 7 minutes manifests when you use them effectively and efficiently in all the relationships you have in your life – at work, rest or play.
Time is a funny thing. It can seem to fly by and as such you do not truly catch the value of it. It is something that must be seen as a true investment. Therefore, you must expect a return. If you are not getting a return then you are likely either viewing it as an expendable resource or something that you cannot control.
Many people talk about how they “spend” their time – working, sleeping, watching TV etc. Their perception is therefore that it is a commodity used in a transaction. Psychologically, they do not perceive it as the asset and investment it is. Effectively, they are not expecting a return. You end up spending your time like you spend your money.
Is this you?
Do you ever say to yourself, “I wish I had more time?”
Do you ever say to your “boss, “I need more time?”
Do you ever say to your family, “I wish I could spend more time with you?” And then tell them about all your commitments.
If you are like me, then you answered, “Yes” to all those. If so, your perspective of time is likely skewed in the wrong direction.
Here’s why. You cannot control or manage time!
There is a plethora of time management courses out there. Most of them are helpful. I would suggest they change their name to self-management courses. You cannot manage time (in case you missed it the first time!).
Let me illustrate. If I were to give you my watch and said please manage my time, could you do it? No. Time passes whether we like it or not. It is what we do with it and how that is important. This derives from our self-management and the decisions we make and the actions we take with respect to our time.
So how do you manage yourself and therefore get a return on the time you are investing (not spending)?
This is where the 7 minutes comes in. In truth it is actually not just 7 minutes. It is the first 7 minutes in every engagement that will predominantly determine your outcome.
Regardless if it is a task, a meeting or when you first return home to your family, the first 7 minutes are crucial.
Before you begin your day, before you begin a task, give the first 7 minutes as if they are the most important. Use them to prioritize and identify the outcomes you desire for tasks and for the day. This aligns very nicely to ending your day with 7 minutes to plan what you will do the next day giving your mind space to clear out some noise and process subconsciously so it is prepared for the work ahead the next day. You will be surprised at the clarity this provides.
Same thing at the beginning of the day – commit those first 7 minutes to refining your plan for the day and the outcomes you desire. Do this and things wonderfully begin to flow better and you approach things in a more centred way.
As with Tasks, invest the first 7 minutes of your day or work day, depending on what works best, find a quiet place or create a quiet space and just invest that time meditating on your life, your goals, your dreams, your vision.
To give yourself that extra boost, do it at the end of your day too – just 7 minutes.
At team or 1-2-1 meetings give them your best, at least, for the first 7 minutes. That is, be focused and interested in them first. Listen. Ask questions relative to what they are saying. As a cardinal rule for networking states, ‘Be interested before being interesting’. People will value you for it. You will be adding significant deposits into their Emotional Bank Accounts. That way, when you need to ask something of them, you are working from a healthy balance rather than one that is overdrawn.
Friends & Family
This is where the “First 7 minute Rule” really rocks.
Like me, you may bring your work home with you. Like me, you may often be so consumed with your issues that you neglect to consider that your family may have their own.
Well I should say, I used to. Now when my kids wake up and when my wife wakes up (I am an early riser – a legacy of 23 years as a competitive swimmer), when I first greet them I do so with a warm smile, open arms and a focus on making their day right from the first moment. The smiles, hugs and kisses are worth it!
Perhaps, most importantly, at day’s end, on the way back home, I ask myself about 7 minutes from home, “How would the best husband and father, act when he comes through the door at home and greets his family?” (Please adapt this to whatever role(s) you are fulfilling).
Not only does this exercise prepare you, it ensures you are in the right relaxed state of mind to maximise that first 7 minutes where you are totally focused on them. Your children can fill you with their excited stories that they are bursting to tell you. Your spouse or partner can off-load their cares and concerns. Remember they don’t necessarily want solutions (a note particularly to those other guys reading this); they just want you to listen.
Do that and you are filling your Emotional Bank Account.
Do that and you will generate massive returns!
Do that and you can far more simply, effectively and consistently then ask them if you can make a phone call or do some work.
Just do it!
Do all of the above and your time will no longer fly; it will soar! Do this and you will create time! Do this and you will have a new lease on life because time is life. So use your 7 minutes wisely and to effect!
Time heals all wounds
Which has been your experience? Time flies or time soars? So which do you owe yourself, your team and your family? What changes are you prepared to make so that time works for you rather irks you?
Dr Richard Norris MBA is Head of Global Development Lifestyle Architecture
He speaks, helps clients with executive & business coaching and leadership
Email | Linkedin | Twitter | Web | Skype: richardthemanofaction | +44 1738 827813
Image Sources: gothamschools.org, csus.edu, bmasteryacademy.co.uk, john-wiseman.com, becomeatopweddingplannerblog.com, inclusive-solutions.com, ora.ucr.edu