How to make the most of your limited time

when time is running out

Climate change, ageing, deadlines and opportunities. Time has a big impact and brings many challenges.

While watching David Attenborough’s Our Planet on Netflix, my son was quite upset to learn that in-shore coral reefs could all die within the next three decades. He found the thought quite confounding. I felt sad too. Sad that life as we know it is changing so fast. Sad that our children are going to go through a life where the planet’s wellbeing slides into peril. We all know time is running out to save our planet.

Another example of time running out is ageing. But on second thoughts, I won’t go into ageing. That would get depressing.

The upside

With the passing of time, we heal. We grow and learn and we deepen relationships. These are definite benefits, and ones that enrich our lives.

When considering the good and bad realities of time, we want to remain on time’s positive side. To help, we can focus on the things we can do right now (plug, mindfulness). In the same way that we might reduce consumption of ‘things’ to help save the planet, and apply sunblock to help save our skin, we can use techniques to make time work for us and avoid time-related stress.

Making time work

Do you feel pressured and stressed, or energised and focused when up against a deadline at work? This is different for everyone, but to an extent, we all need a little pressure in order to keep striving and achieving.

Below is a prioritising matrix. It is a tool to apply to every task that comes your way. It will help you to decide which tasks are urgent and/or important. This matrix can be applied at home too with life admin, chores, and the day-to-day joys of raising children. We explore this matrix in more detail in our Personal Productivity course.

Prioritising – Urgent vs. Important

Prioritising Matrix

The Green box is the emergency zone (highly stressful). If possible, you don’t want to spend too much time here. These tasks are usually emergencies and crises that demand our full attention, now!

The Orange box is the zone to be aiming for. This is where you will feel most in control and energised. These are planning and preparing tasks, and time for building relationships.

Every time a task comes to your attention, such as an email, a project from your boss, a client request or a phone call, use this matrix to decide when you will tackle it. The aim is to help you feel more in control of your workload and the demand on your time. It is a tool to make decision making just that little bit easier, and to avoid the feeling that time is running out.

 

Written by Chantell Bramley.

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