Creative LeadershipCreativity

The Time Paradox – Time Management from Another Perspective

The new book “The Time Paradox” by Philip Zimbardo and John Boyd is worth checking out because of one simple premise.  Instead of trying to “manage” time (which you can’t do anyway because time can’t be managed), we need to understand how each of us “perceive” time.  It’s not about time management, but the “psychology” of time.

This really caught my attention because I understand the concept of perception from my work in branding.  The genius idea that Zimbardo and Boyd have figured out is that time isn’t the issue – how we perceive it really is.   For example – it’s amazing how much someone can do with the “lost minutes” during your day.  For instance, you have 15 minutes before an important meeting.

Do you waste it sitting around waiting?  Or do you update your to-do list, make a phone call, or something else short but important? The only problem with this thinking is when people don’t have an accurate idea of what can be accomplished in those 15 minutes, so they try to cram in much more – and then realize they’re late for the meeting.

My wife and I have radically different perceptions of time, and as a result, it’s been an area of conflict in our marriage.  But now I know that we just look at time in different ways. I’m not being a jerk and neither is she – we just perceive the value of a specific time period differently.

I think this concept could revolutionize your relationships in your family and your business.  Read the book, then work at getting an accurate idea of how you perceive time in contrast to how your family members or co-workers perceive it.  In my personal case, I’m discovering that the perception of my team is sometimes dramatically different from me when it comes to our calendar and scheduling my time.  How much “recovery time” do I need after a trip before we schedule another one?  How many client visits can be squeezed into one day?  How long will it take to finish editing that TV segment?

You’ll find that many conflicts, deadlines, expectations, and scheduling problems can be solved once everyone’s perceptions of time become more aligned.

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  1. I agree that how we perceive time affects our days and our productivity.

    I once heard an excellent speaker talking about the subject of time management. His conclusion was this: We cannot manage time, it comes and goes without our control. Ultimately, we must learn to manage ourselves inside of time.

  2. I find it ironic that the more I try to cram in the less I complete and the less I enjoy. I've been consciously trying to look at time from my own perspective lately and by simply slowing down myself, time seems to as well. (especially if I don't look at my to do list!)

    I think the book sounds really interesting!

  3. Yeah… recently just read a book by David Allen – Getting things done. A very practical book on how to manage bits and pieces of time to maximise it. 

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