Time is the most precious resource that we have in our lives and it is limited. In this rapidly changing world, we want to achieve more and more. Our task lists are growing. We have more and more on our plates. More and more often people suffer from anxiety, burnout, and depression. We have bigger and bigger problems focussing, trying to avoid distractions and social media and news addictions.
One day a few years back I sat down, frustrated. And I thought to myself: even though I’m involved in personal and team productivity, and I already use quite a few good techniques and habits and organize myself well, things just don’t progress at the tempo I would wish.
You look at your loved ones and see smiles and gratitude. The preparations went well – you shared your tasks fairly and helped each other out. And you still have some time left for fun and a moment of leisure. Now, after a delicious dinner, you bite into a piece of cake. You eat it without hurry, a morsel at a time. Your mind is free of any worrying thoughts. An evening of meaning, warmth and internal peace awaits you. All of you are focused on that which is most Important. Can the Christmas holidays really be like this?
The majority of us knows the feeling. “I’ll only take a peek” at my Facebook page, or at the news portal … and all of a sudden half an hour’s gone by. I catch myself asking me: “How did I get here?”. I try to be on my guard, but this helps only for a while. Finally, at the end of the day, I find out just how much time I’ve lost…
Responses given to survey forms sent out as a follow-up to my online course show that the average manager in a large company spends more than 11 hours at meetings per week and more than 20 hours per week in extreme cases. Judging on the basis of data in my possession, I can safely assume that depending on position, on average 10-50% of wages paid by companies go towards covering the cost of meetings.
We live in times when it is becoming increasingly difficult to have a relaxing, leisurely holiday. Paradoxically, the problem concerns not time, but the ability to use it sensibly. More and more often I see people who, having a few days off from work or even a free afternoon, struggle to cope with reloading their batteries. It is now common that a steadily increasing number of people have unused holidays, which are regularly moved on to next year.
Sometimes we respond to less important e-mails immediately upon their receipt, while those that really demand our attention languish at the bottom of our in-box. We spend a quarter of an hour on an altogether meaningless call from the bank, and later we do not have sufficient time to call a loved one. We avail ourselves of promotional sales and buy things that later lie unused. Why is this so?
I often see how people start off their day at the office with a coffee, some gossip, and a look through the news on various portals, and afterwards reply to the various e-mails that they received since the evening before. But many of them are completely unaware of the fact that by doing so they have already used up one half of the best quality time available to them in the day.
Having worked with a group of some 200 people who sent in more than 3,000 reports, I learned a great deal about what helps people increase their long-term productivity and level of calm, instead of simply becoming busier and busier. I do hope that these steps will prove useful to you, just as they were for the participants of the programme.
We have more and more things to do, and each batch of new tasks has to be crammed into our calendars and worklists. In theory, the steadily increasing number of buzzing and flashing gadgets should help us better manage ourselves and our time, but in practice it turns out that these devices do not really allow us to achieve more, while along the way we lose our ability to focus long-term. The Pomodoro technique may well be the aid to regaining our concentration – read on to see what it consists in and how to apply it in practice.