How to get more Time

This week I had an interesting discussion with the team about Time.

The discussion was how do we get more time for Learning and Development when we are so busy just getting what needs to be done, done! I will admit that I understand it is easier for some in the team to make time for Learning and Development compared to others… but I challenged the team to think that Time is actually not the problem. Let me explain why…

We are all aware of the constraint triangle right?

Scope

A strain on one of these items is going to impact the others. Eg, more scope is likely to add more cost and more time. This is the nature of Project Management. Something has to give. Right?

Our Time is no different. There are only 1440 minutes in a day. Something has to give to fit everything in that we want to get done in those 1440 minutes.

My challenge to the team was that, you have to value (want or desire) something more than something else and you will find time. In our personal lives we do this everyday. If we value being fit and healthy, we will swap the morning lay ins in bed to get to the gym, the odd lunch with our work colleagues to go for a run or walk, or the occasional social event after work to go to that yoga class. In fact, we will start to look for opportunities to reduce the amount we sacrifice by inviting friends to the yoga class or going for that run/walk with the work colleague.

Another example may be watching the English Premier League because it is your favourite sport to watch, but because you live in Australia it is on TV at ridiculous o’clock. If you value watching your team play live then you will find a way to watch it live. You may pre-arrange with your Partner to ensure that nothing is planned for that night or the next day so that you can stay up late watching the game and sleep in the next day. When you value something enough, you will find a way to make it happen.

So how do we find time? Simply by knowing what it is that we value most out of our 1440 minutes everyday. If you find that you don’t have time for something, it is likely because you have not valued it high enough. Something has to give!

How could this help my team with not having enough time for Learning & Development? Or maybe how could this help you?

  1. First understand what things you value out of your job. Is Learning & Development in that list?
  2. Understand where you are spending your time now. Track where you are actually spending your time and just how much time you spend doing it. I have been using RescueTime for years, but a spreadsheet or piece of paper near you can work just as good. When you see that something is taking up a lot of your time and you have no value for it, you can start thinking about ways to change that. For example, at one point Outlook/Email was taking nearly 20 hours of my week. Today, I spend around 5 hours a week on Outlook/Email. Simple things like unsubscribing from newsletters, setting up rules to move Emails that I don’t need to see straight away etc. Just being conscious of where you spend time, you will be amazed at the things you are doing that prevent you from doing the things you want to be doing.
  3. Look for Opportunities to spend more time doing the things that you value, and less on the things you don’t. Get creative! Maybe think about finding a solution to that annoying problem that you have to deal with multiple times each week, could you even automate it; Maybe by deferring the walk up and asking them to raise their ticket properly… it just might not have been that urgent anyway; Maybe you can create that article that will allow people to find the solution for themselves. The more time you can spend doing this, the more time you will have for the things you value.
  4. From a career perspective, realise that some things transcend above your current role. Investing time into things like Learning & Development, means that you will have the skills or knowledge that might help you get that pay rise, or your next job. Investing time into things that you can list as Achievements in your Resume, such as automating that task to save the business hours each week can also help with your payrise or next job. Because these things could help your career, accept that maybe an investment in your own personal time is OK. For example, you might occasionally come into work early, work through lunch or stay back late… or even use your commute to work on these things. If getting that pay rise or next job is important to your personal or family goals then it is a small price to pay.

How do I find time for Learning & Development? Learning excites me, learning is very important to me and to who I am. If I am not learning in everything I do, then I am doing the wrong thing! I am constantly asking myself what can I do to find more time at work, to find more time at home so I can Learn. I ask how can I make learning a part of most things I do? I do find small pockets of time to read, watch a video, reflect etc. You don’t need to dedicate large chunks of time. An article might only take you 10 mins to read and reflect and take notes. Most training videos are split up into 10-15 minute chunks. Watch 1 or 2 on your commute. You just need to start. I have mentioned this before in a previous post, but “you give life to the things you give energy”.

How do you find time? Is Learning & Development a challenge for you and your team? How have you overcome it?

Until next time!

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