Not that that long ago I was invited to be one of 4 speakers at an event that was talking about the fact that you can't use old thinking to win in today's economy.
Needless to say, this topic is 100% up my alley as I do believe that the future of productivity is changing because of how the COVID19 Pandemic has affected our lives, jobs and businesses.
This is why I think we need to hit a reset button and start again by defining what the new norm looks like, what it means and what could be the right definition in this ever-changing environment.
So, why is time so important to us? And how is time affecting our productivity? What are some of the factors that affect our productivity, and why do I believe behaviour has a huge impact on our productivity?
All these are valid questions.
And before we dive deep into them here is just one thought: As human beings, we all strive to impact our environment, to leave a legacy, a print on this world, and in the grand scheme, we don't have too much time to do it. Also, whether you like it or not, there are about 7 billion of us trying to do exactly the same. So, the competition is tough and it's hard to even know if we really have succeeded.
Instead of trying to impress, I think we should strive to be the best version of ourselves. And redefining some of the old concepts based on how can they serve us on this journey to be the best version of ourselves, is going to define our future productivity, success and ultimately the chance to be one of those who left a real impact on the world.
I mean, we all grow up, thinking we will do this, or that. I personally tried a few different things and not many out there know, that I have a Masters degree in Cartography. Yes, Cartography. It always fascinated me, how something like a map can actually influence decision making. And it does! It is one of the most powerful visualisation tools. And it is a representation of the world as we perceive it. I think learning about how you can translate information or data into visual information was a key ingredient on my journey to become the time mindset specialist that I am today. After all 65% of the population is a visual learner.
So, being able to translate what and how time impacts our lives is sooo important. And we know it is important, this is why we use paper or electronic diaries. These are the places we are creating a visual image of how we map our time out. Some more successfully than others. But we all try to map out in some way what happens with our most precious commodity: TIME.
Even though we try, most of us still feel like time is slipping away. It's a little bit like having a tear in your pocket and every time you put something in it you end up losing it, yet every time you check your pocket you don't seem to find the tear in it. So, you try again.
So, you might be thinking right now, then what is the key?
I am not sure if I have the right key, but I think, I found A KEY to this problem.
Let me explain what I mean a little bit. The problem with classic time management is that you have all these amazing tools, that theoretically should work, yet when you start playing with them, you find they take up a lot of energy and in the end, you get tired and drop them. Now there are a few of you out there who are thinking right now, noooo, they actually work! And if you are that person, I am here to tell you: You are lucky! You have the solution at your fingertips, so all you need to do is just do it!
Most of though, are not falling into that category. And I do believe neuroscience has already answered the question of why time is so personal.
And the answer lies in how we perceive time. We know, we have dedicated spaces in our brain to perceive smells, or to see or to hear, and so much more, but you see, there is no special dedicated space in our brain that helps us perceive time. And if there were, we all know that none of us sees the same blue sky, even when we are looking at the exactly same view.
So, time is as individual as it gets. We all have our own special take on its importance and on the way we make sense of it. So, why do we think that we have to use it in exactly the same way to be productive? Why do we think that productivity has a universal one way instead of looking at it from our own individual special perspective?
I have to say I have this image in my head, with some little boys putting on their dad's suits, looking hilarious and having fun. It depicts perfectly the fact that one size, does not fit all.
So, let's find a different way, a new way to look at productivity and time management. Instead of trying to control time, which is the old way, let's start making friends with our own time and start looking at what time means to us individually and create our own personal time management toolbox to better productivity.
Now, this sounds fabulous, but how can we find a new way to better productivity, and how can we still have some generic guides that would help us on the journey to our personal success story on better productivity?
Without going into too much depth, I think one of the key ingredients to start understanding your relationship with your own time is behaviour. Behavioural styles can give us a great base to start making sense to what productivity means to us.
You might think: don’t you mean personality types? Well, those can help too, but just because you have a certain personality type, it doesn't mean that based on external factors, like, family, workplace, culture, society and so on, you won't act and behave totally differently to how you are naturally wired. This is why I believe, behavioural styles are much more important than personality types. Even when we talk about behavioural styles, you have to be aware, that no one fits in just one bracket. We all are an amazing combination of different styles, and based on what is surrounding us and happening with us, one or other behavioural traits will kick in and help us through different situations. The better we understand these the better we can manage. What is even more important, the better can we consciously influence how we use our strengths and overcome our weaknesses.
It all boils down, to how much energy it takes for us to play into one or another behavioural style, because we all can act and be in any of them. The only question is, how natural it is to us and what is the cost to function in a space that is not necessarily our natural space.
This is why I prefer talking about time mindset rather than time management. The concept of time mindset is all about linking your strengths to how you perceive time and then finding solutions that make time management sustainable and specifically yours, resulting with peak productivity as you honour your own personal needs to be successful.
Because it is embedded deep in your own personal relationship with your time, your time mindset will help you mould the way you use time so you can give your best and be as productive as you can be.
Just an example, one of my amazing clients thought she was a systems and processes person, but after a consultation, she realised her main focus is on people. She always struggled to get through her to-do list through the week, so we agreed to make one little change. The next week she restructured her to-do list this time to reflect who she is servicing with those to-do items, and guess what? At the end of the week, there was nothing left, because her productivity grew just by honouring who she was, her lovely nature and the need to help her customers helped her through the ups and downs of the week saving a lot of time that she would have spent in procrastination or overwhelm.
As you can see, I am not reinventing the wheel, I am just purely tapping into our common ancient knowledge and the need to be the best version of ourselves. So, I believe, the future to better productivity lies in starting at the beginning and better understanding our core behavioural styles so we know how to tap best into our strengths and weaknesses.
And just to show you a glimpse of the next level, once you start making friends with your own time, you will start looking at those around you in a different light too. That means, that teams can develop common time languages based on mutual respect and honouring each other’s individuality, with the ultimate goal to achieve a better life-work harmony that leads to us leaving a meaningful impact on our world.
In the next few episodes, I will aim to deep dive into the 4 main behavioural styles and their special relationships with their time. And I hope you all will find some valuable starting points to how to start on the journey to better productivity and time mindset.