While it is agreed, we are currently in the information age, it is obvious that the main resource that is still in short supply is time. As the world speeds up, there seems to be less time to do things. I remember seeing the first adverts on MTV and feeling nauseous. Now that is the speed of the opening sequences of a period drama. Transformers the movie was just a blur. Even the title music for Eastenders has sped up (I don’t watch it, I don’t have time).
Hans Zimmer created the title music ‘Time’ for the movie Inception, by slowing down “Non, je ne Regrette Rien’’… Listen to it again.
This is about the only thing that has slowed down!
While time is seemingly shortening, technology is stealing our jobs and squeezing productivity and more is being demanded of us. How do we get more out of our days?
I have used Gemba Kaizen (the precursor to Six Sigma) the Japanese methodology of continuous improvement (developed in car plants in japan in the 1960s). Can you improve your routine or your work process by 1% every day? If so, you can add those percentage points up over time and you will have some serious improvements, which can allow you to save time.
The Big Man, Tony Robbins, has often said he can now do more with his little finger in one day than he could do in a whole month one decade ago. He has gone through major change with his physiology, his mind and his energy levels. He claims that starting the day with routine aerobic exercise and having a clear set of goals/outcomes for the day allows him to focus on the key things he needs to get done, saving time on non-essentials.
“You become what you do most of the time.” ― Anthony Robbins
This concept is taken a step further by John Kotter, the Professor of Leadership at Harvard Business School, who, in his bestselling book ‘A Sense of Urgency’ makes the differentiation between the three mental states that are common in people and companies: urgency, false urgency and complacency. Think of urgency as someone living on a burning platform. Their senses are on high alert, they are fighting for survival and will only do essential maintenance to that platform. The complacent person is sat in an untidy house looking around, thinking ‘the cleaner will be here next week’. And the falsely urgent person is buzzing around in the kitchen at a dinner party while everyone else washes up… at a push they might re-dry a few plates!!
‘’A higher rate of urgency does not imply ever-present panic, anxiety, or fear. It means a state in which complacency is virtually absent.’’ – John Kotter
If you have a good routine to start your day (ideally involving exercise), if you constantly try and get better by 1% in your routines or your job and if you create a sense of urgency around everything you do at work and at home, you will create more time. At the very least you will give the impression that you have more time than your friends and colleagues, which I guess is half the battle won. Particularly, when Eastenders is on.
Neil Farrell, Managing Director