October 31, 2004

Hi Team,

The coach’s challenge of the week is to use time wisely. One of the best lessons that anyone can learn in life is how to use time wisely. Consider what can be done in ten minutes: a pianist can deliver the performance of a lifetime, you can learn a new dance step, a football game can be lost or won in the last ten minutes (for that matter, a game can be lost in the last 10 seconds!), you can write a short poem, or tell a story to someone, or call your parents to say hello. You can send an e-mail to a team member, or celebrate someone’s birthday at work, or make coffee. You can pick tomatoes, or do dishes, or deliver a short speech. You can also sit and gaze out the window and do nothing at all for ten minutes.

Our experience of time is based on how we perceive it. If we have too much of it, we can become bored. If we don’t have enough of it, we become stressed. If something is taking too long, we become impatient. If it happens too quickly, we become frightened. Ironically, it’s not time itself that is actually changing but our perception of it changes our experience of it. In the workplace, most of feel that we don’t have enough time to do everything we need to do. Interestingly enough, I have found that the amount of time I spend worrying about not having enough time wastes a lot of my time! If I can relax into the time I have and methodically get things done, I often end up with time to spare.

“A sense of the value of time – that is, of the best way to divide one’s time into one’s various activities- is an essential preliminary to efficient work; it is the only method of avoiding hurry.” Arnold Bennett

Our experience of time is also altered by the degree of enjoyment or passion we experience in any given moment. Time passes too quickly when we’re doing something we really enjoy and our memory of that experience is often so clear that it seems we were there just yesterday. Each of us can be on vacation for a week and it seems like we’ve been gone much longer than that when we return to work. There is something about being out of our normal routine that makes time expand.

Try experimenting with time this week. Instead of arriving at work at your usual time, try getting there an hour earlier. Try spending an hour at work doing something you rarely have time to do like catching up on your business reading, or researching something on the internet that you know will help your business. Go to lunch with a team member at a restaurant you’ve never been to. See if you can sit for five minutes without doing anything at all. Make a choice about how you’d like to spend your time and you will save time.

Have a great week!


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