Time is a resource, but not like any other. It is not a resource you can find, buy, store, or get back. It is finite, it cannot be reduced or increased. We exist within it. It is like a river rushing by, or washing over us. It can be like the wind, flying past you in great gusts. Whether a river or the wind, it consistently passes by us, whether we want it to or not. Unlike any other resource it is naïve to think we can manage time. Instead we engage with it as it fleetingly passes by.
So why talk about managing time? Why not talk about watching time, or experiencing time, or engaging time. The term “time management” is a misnomer, but we constantly talk about “managing time” and “improving time management”. This may be the reason we all have problems with “time management”. We are inundated with “time management” articles, books, blogs, seminars, and webinars all touting ways to better manage time.
I submit that there are two forms of time engagement with varying degrees in between. Both are necessary, but vastly different. One extreme of engagement is structured and the other is unstructured. Have you heard the phrase “work hard and play hard”, if so this is a variation on that concept. Both provide a way to engage with time and get the most out of it. The level of intensity is up to you, the more intense the greater the result.
Do you find achieving your goals is like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow we read about in St Patricks’ day poetry or lore of the Leprechauns?
If so, I’d like to offer a little Leprechaun poetri to turn your SMART goals into reality.
We’ve all made them, those SMART goals that we end up forgetting about, beating ourselves up over, and wondering why we fail again and again to the point where we just quit making those goals. You know the goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timed (SMART). Or, some variation on this. As we go through the steps, we agonize to make sure we include all of the elements and word it correctly.
Then we watch and wait, and wait, and wait — but they never happen. Okay, I’m exaggerating. We go out and start working on it, but somewhere along the way something else, usually life, gets in the way and the goal is forgotten about.
A smart man once said that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” (that was Albert Einstein). You may say, yeah. I keep setting goals and I don’t achieve them, so why set goals, I mean that sounds like insanity. But is it really? I don’t think so. I think it is that we are only doing part of the same thing over and over. I suggest that you make SMART goals with POETRI.
You ask what POETRI? Yes, that’s correct. I will assume you already know what SMART means for making goals (if not see three paragraphs above or for more details go to Wikipedia). So what does POETRI stand for, you ask? It stands for those things you need to make your goals happen. It is the Planning, Organization, Execution, Tracking, Rewards, and Improvement that will help you to achieve your goals (and maybe even find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow).