You have heard of time as wealth, an asset, a resource, and so on. But what about time as a currency? Have you ever thought about it in this way? That perhaps time is the most valuable currency that exists? And that we should carefully invest it in whatever is most important to us? Personal relationships, our professional lives, who knows what else? So, try to think about time management from this perspective: universally, we show that we like someone by spending more time with them – we “give” them a part of our time. Conversely, we punish people by depriving them of our company, of our time as a resource.
Now, how does this exchange of time work in a corporate environment? What is the real role of time in your day-to-day business? It is a fundamental consideration. For, in addition to its characteristics as a currency, time is perishable. Unfortunately, it will run out one day for every one of us. With this in mind, we should take care to manage our time care and forethought.
That is why the subject of time management is a constant focus of our attention here on this blog. Just as an example: this article deals with time management using tools like timesheets.
>> Recommended Reading: Get Smart! Time Management Techniques for “The Good Life”
Chronemic studies have a lot to say about managing time at work
Now let’s approach the question from a different point of view: the role that time plays in our communications. Chronemics is a discipline that investigates the interplay between time and communications.
In the case of the work environment, according to this article from the blog Quartz at Work, chronemic researchers have made revealing observations about how we associate time with communication. We will list the key points from these findings below.
Managers rarely make their expectations about time explicit
Since chronemic surveys seek to clarify people’s interpersonal relationships over time, the first observation concerns perhaps the most significant problem in any business: the fact that most leaders do not make their beliefs regarding time clear. Everything remains implicit: managers assume that standards are standards, period.
However, believing that standards are suitable for everyone can lead to a lot of misunderstandings. One can, sometimes unfairly, become known as the “lazy” one on the team, for example, and relationships then suffer from that development.
That is why it is fundamental that, whether as a leader or manager, you invest time thinking about what you want, and making that clear to the rest of your team. For example, what are the rules about e-mailing at night, during holidays, and on weekends? How should your employees decide what is urgent and what is not? After you answer questions like these, you will undoubtedly have a clearer idea of how you want your employees to manage their time.
>> Recommended Reading: How do you manage your time?
Time is power; do not abuse it
Chronemic studies also attempt to clarify the different uses that people make of their time. And the more power you have, the more you want to impose your view of time on others.
Proof of this is that throughout history, the powerful have literally tried to control our time by rearranging the calendar by which we live. Take a moment to look back at back the French Revolution: shortly after the end of the revolution’s initial convulsions, the French National Convention attempted to establish a revolutionary calendar by turning 1792 into “year one” and dividing months into periods of ten days. Their efforts, in the end, came to nothing.
Of course, no CEO or leader will attempt to replace the Gregorian calendar; but in subtle ways, employees often have to adapt to their employer’s flow of the goals. They will keep a close eye on when it’s considered important to be “extra-productive” and when it is “safe” to take a vacation.
The problem is that some leaders abuse their power over time. In a practice known as the “waiting game,” they derive a kind of egotistical pleasure in summoning someone to their offices and making them wait, for example.
In the workplace, where productivity must be prioritized, the “waiting game” can cause a lot of problems. As a leader, you should never abuse your employees’ most valuable currency, especially since your team’s time is also your own. Waste their time, and you end up wasting your own.
>> Recommended reading: How to gauge and allocate your team’s time?
Mobile technology has changed the power dynamic in meetings
It is a known fact that, since humans began to hold meetings, more powerful people have practiced the waiting game, making others needlessly wait on their whim. They also make it clear who has the power when they initiate meetings without the presence those ‘inferior’ members of the tribe who arrive late.
But it turns out that digital media has turned this scenario inside-out. If meetings were once events where people were cut off from the world and forced to pay attention to their leader, things have now changed. It has become more challenging to monopolize someone’s time since laptops and smartphones are always available as a constant link to the outside world.
Add to this equation your remote workers, who are not physically present in the meeting room, and the dynamic becomes even more complicated. The way you decide to handle the situation depends on your point of view on the issue. As a leader, the ideal would be to optimize your and your employees’ time to the greatest extent possible by promoting more dynamic and straightforward meetings. To learn how to do this, read this article on holding more effective meetings.
>> Recommended reading: Wearables are Revolutionizing Productivity with Technology
The right tool to improve your time management
With an online management software like Runrun.it, you’ll be able to manage the most valuable currency in existence more efficiently.
Runrun.it offers a practical system for the organization and prioritization of tasks, facilitating your direction of workflows, establishing priorities and increasing your team’s productivity. Sign up for a free trial today and find out how to make your time work for you: http://runrun.it