PT on the Net Research

Time Management = Me Management



Time is a nebulous entity. Everyone gets the same amount. Sometimes it flies and other times it seems like it takes forever. Clock time is something everyone agrees to in terms of seconds, minutes, hours, days and months (Mathews et al., 2006). Clock time can’t be changed, so efforts are put into managing it. However, this concept is sort of nebulous too. How can one “manage” time? A change in mindset can perhaps be beneficial. Instead of thinking about time management, we can think about “me management.” 

When someone wants to be more effective in managing himself or herself through this concept of time, they often seek advice from various professionals. In my experience as a sales person in a health club, I read books, watched videos, attended workshops and listened to many people give advice about time management. Sales people, including personal trainers, are traditionally trained in managing time since they need to be self-motivated, work long hours and maintain a positive attitude while prospects reject their pitches.

Learning Objectives:

This article will review three components of “me management”:

  1. Fixed Schedule Productivity
  2. Awareness
  3. Preparation

Fixed Schedule Productivity

Efficiency experts, motivational speakers and successful business professionals often talk about this concept of "fixed schedule productivity." The basic premise is that a person determines a reasonable schedule in terms of balancing life and work and then does whatever it takes to keep to that schedule (Newport, 2008). This is a difficult notion to buy into, especially if you thrive on being busy and over-committed. If, on the other hand, you strive to have downtime and do not feel you need to be available 24/7, this is a very powerful tool to gain control over productivity. Organizing oneself within this mindset accomplishes several things including:

Let’s follow a personal trainer’s efforts in re-structuring her career with this mindset: She starts by thinking of herself as a project manager. What are the different components or categories that she has to manage in her career/project? This could include:

If she has multiple income streams there is a whole other list of categories to identify. She must also consider family and all other non-work related commitments such as:

Once she has identified the components of her project (i.e., “her”) she needs to determine where she can be more efficient. This brings her to the next phase, which is awareness. 

Awareness

An effort to change or improve habits and actions must start with awareness.

When I was a salesperson, we were told to divide one week into 15 minute segments and document what was accomplished during these segments of time. At first I thought this exercise was a waste of time! However, this proved to be a powerful tool. Think of it as an assessment. For the trainer described above, this assessment could help make her aware of exactly what she is doing daily and recognize patterns of inefficiency vs. effectiveness. I became aware of exactly how many minutes I spent cold calling vs. prospecting vs. learning.  What about all of the other seemingly important things I was supposed to be doing, but wasn’t? 

After engaging in this exercise for several days, you can become aware of how much time you spend on each component of your day. Which part of your project is not receiving the attention required? What are you willing to cut from your schedule? 

Some of the things this personal trainer could potentially identify by completing this exercise are as follows:

Once she sees how she is managing herself over a one week period, she needs to decide what is not that important and what she is going to do about it. She has to decide what is not getting enough attention, and what she is going to do about it. This can be tough. She needs to have a plan. This is where the preparation is crucial. 

Preparation

As trainers, we have all talked to clients about their efforts to eat better. First, the clients identify that they need and want to eat better.  Then, we encourage them to have a plan and to prepare. For example, we might very well recommended that they prepare meals in advance so that they don’t make poor choices at the last minute. This trainer should do the same with her “me” management.   

After assessing her actions, she could potentially change several items:

Conclusion

Remember that good actions require continuous practice.

As personal trainers, we often try to educate our clients on the difference between “having” time and “making” time, in terms of consistent exercise. It is this same mindset that we can adopt in managing ourselves. Deciding to be more productive takes a commitment, awareness to what our current habits are, and then an action plan. Of course it’s not easy. But if we choose to live our lives with the conviction that we are in control of the nebulous time clock, we will be more productive, more successful, and...happy!       

References:

Allen, J. (2005). Time Management for Event Planners: Wiley 

Bates, Jordan. Creativitypost.com

Collins, J. (2001).  Good to Great and (1994) Built to Last; Successful Habits of Visionary Companies: HarperCollins;  Jim collings.com; worksheets 

Feder, J. Partners in Progress, Time Management Tips. United federation of teachers; uft.org. 

Ferriss, T. (2007). The 4 Hour workweek: Crown. 

Haughey, D. Projectsmart.co.uk

Langer, E. (1989). Mindfulness: Perseus books 

Mathews, J., DeBolt, D., Percival, D. (2006). Street Smart Franchising: CWL.

Nemko, M. (2013). How to do Life: what they didn’t teach you in school: Create Space. 

Newport, C. (2008). Calnewport.com