Advertise with us

Enjoying this blog? Check out the rest of the Business Channel Subscribe to this Feed

Pimp Your Work

Own Your Time

by Celine on March 17th, 2008

Image by Christian Benacer, taken from stock.xchng


If you think you own your time, you are either enlightened, or kidding yourself. For most people, including me, it’s the latter.   Whenever you find yourself attending pointless meetings, spending too much time on email, or at your boss’ beck and call - you don’t really own your time.

Oftentimes, this makes you less productive.

However, if you create your own schedule and stick to it without outside interruption, you’re more likely to accomplish your daily goals.  You own your time.

What do you do to gain control of your time?  Here’s where you can start:

Keep your mobile phone silent. Constant attachment to one’s phone is integral to corporate (and Filipino) culture. Observe your behavior with your phone. You’ll find that it usually distracts you from what you should be doing. After all, everyone can reach you 24/7 - including text message spammers.

By putting my phone on silent, there’s less pressure to answer calls and messages. I look at my phone 2x a day and often find out that I haven’t missed anything important. This also forces other people to adjust to your schedule and your priorities, rather than putting you on call 24/7 like an emergency room doctor. (Unless, of course, you are an emergency room doctor. In that case, I can’t help you.)

If you receive too many emails each day, do something about it. I’ve discussed this at length in my “How I Freed Myself from Mountains of Email” series. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest that you look it over and see how you can apply some of the ideas into your own email routine.

Practice saying “No”.  Do you ever wonder how people include themselves in your schedule?  It’s probably because you say “yes” more times than you should.  For example: Can we talk for an hour about this project that you’re not even part of? Yes.  Can you send me Mr. Smith’s contact info?  Yes.  Do you have time?  Yes.  If you want to learn more about the art of saying “no”, we have an article from last month about it.

Respect your own time.  If you don’t respect it, no one else will.  If it’s your rest day, don’t get suckered into saying “Yes, I’ll put in a few hours today to cover for you.”  even if your colleagues tell you it’s “Just this one time, promise.”  It’s almost never just one time.  If they get away with taking your free time away once, they’re likely to do it again.

It also helps to think of your time as money.  It’s especially true in the workplace.  How much do you get paid per hour?  If an obnoxious coworker drags you into an irrelevant brainstorming session for an hour, it’s like you just gave that person your money.  You could’ve spent that hour doing a more pressing task.  The next time someone asks for your time, rephrase the question in your head as if they were asking you for money.  “Do you have an hour to read this silly forwarded email?” will become “Do you have $50 you could give me?”.  Notice the hesitation you feel.

How much of your time do you really own?  Do you find yourself giving too much time and attention to others?

POSTED IN: Worklife Balance, Workplace Wellness, Workplace hacks

3 opinions for Own Your Time

  • Darlene
    Mar 17, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    Hey Celine, I love the picture in this post! :)

  • Celine
    Mar 17, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    Thanks :) It’s by Christian Benacer.

  • Barry Rosier
    Mar 19, 2020 at 2:12 am

    This is a great post! I mean it! It could be really hard to say “no” to people and think of your time as your money, but I will try it. Starting today! The thing that is impossible is keeping my cell silent. Well, I have to figure something out I guess, or just leave it like this. The thing that I have got rid of is the email mess. I have my own trick - I’m using a special service, that captures all my important emails and organizes them in weekly plans for me. I just go through my e-mail and forward the most important messages to Wrike.com. It’s very simle and takes only seconds. You could try it too - http://www.wrike.com/blog/9/4/2020/Getting_things_done_with_Wrike_saves_us_hours. It could be a useful tip for other people of this community too ;)

Have an opinion? Leave a comment:

Site Meter
E-mail It