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Time after Time

Like a growing number of people I have access to twitter and will admit to tweeting. Depending on who you talk to, this is a good thing or a bad thing to admit. But, whoever you talk to you will always get one consistent question about it and that is ‘where do you find the time to use twitter?’ I’m always surprised why anyone can think that anything that takes a few seconds should be difficult to fit into a day, but maybe I shouldn’t be.

We spend a lot of time with busy people, whether as coachees or as part of our ‘coaching culture’ or ‘high performing teams’ leadership development programmes. One of the most frequent barriers that we face to implementation of the new ideas that these programmes bring is ‘lack of time’. Yet if I had a dollar for every time that time was not the real issue then I would be a very rich man.

So let’s go back to twitter as an example. I often go to work on the bus. It cuts down my fuel bills, hits my sustainability buttons and I get time to do things that I wouldn’t if I was driving, like checking on twitter and doing the odd tweet. While other people sit and look out of the window, listen to their iPod or read a book, I tweet. When I say that to people, many say ‘I don’t travel by bus, so I wouldn’t have that time available to use twitter’. So I tell them that I also have time waiting to go into meetings where I tweet, or between other activities, where I also tweet or blog or check linkedin or do one of the many things that people say ‘I don’t have time for that’.

The clue to whether people have time for things is back on the bus, where I was tweeting. I could read a book or listen to my iPod but I choose to tweet, and the clue is in that word ‘choose’. In all the organisations that I visit, where people tell me that they ‘don’t have any time’ to ‘coach their team’, or ‘do that leadership stuff’ or ‘read their pre-work’ or even to take 5 seconds to tweet I see them doing lots of other things. Things that they choose to do, many of which waste or lose them time. Some people choose to do their own thing instead of using a standard template that is available. Some spend hours preparing material for meetings that won’t get used ‘just in case’. Some have lots of time to chat to colleagues. Some re-write material three times as a matter of habit before they are happy with it. Some ignore problems that will waste many hours in the future rather than give their staff feedback. Some would rather tell staff what to do, time and again, rather then coach them so they don’t have to tell them again.

Time is never the issue. How we choose to use our time is our issue. Our choices are based on what we think is important. How we value. How we see ourselves. They become habit and not all those habits are time efficient (they just become how we do things).

So how about taking two minutes now to think about how you could save yourself two hours later!


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