Time Optimization Versus Time Management

This article is adapted and quoted from the book, The Time-Optimized Life. All rights reserved.

Benjamin Franklin was into time management. He was focused on learning how to use his time better. Of his thirteen recorded virtues, the 9th one states, “Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.” In addition, as noted in Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1746, Franklin declares, “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander Time; for that’s the Stuff Life is made of.”

Outside of Franklin, there are so many other great examples and explanations of time and our ability to regulate it. Various ones relate back to the fixed value of time, say 86,400 seconds in a day, and emphasize the commonality we have to that set number. Others seek to break the length into smaller segments of planning. Still more highlight what happens when time is squandered, never to be reclaimed again.

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In 2021, during the height of COVID-19, I engaged in a process to quantify and measure how people manage their time. Sure, there are numerous tracking tools and manual ways to apply time used to produce or be productive. When launching the Time Management Analysis (TMA) tool, I soon found some interesting trends. People identified with time management and perceived good versus bad use of time but had difficulty with the proper treatment of their time. Through hundreds of TMA assessments completed, analyzed, examined, and studied, the definition of time management has been refined, sharpened, and simplified to provide a nucleus of actionable parameters.

The definition I’ll use to set parameters is:

“Time Management is the right preparation, along with the right execution, to control productivity.”

In effect, the key words to remember are preparation, execution, and control (PEC). Each one of these in itself requires an expense of time to manage time better.

Preparation establishes the provision, design, forethought, and groundwork of time tied to a future project, task, event, or undertaking.

After the plan is generated, time management then shifts to execution. It is as much procedure as it is technique.

An often-overlooked aspect, but just as important an element of time management, is control. Your control.

However, people tend to look at the management of their time as event driven. They can be very reactive. Time optimization takes a different approach. Instead of preparation, execution, and control being looked at as a onetime event, it is permanent and intensified, with the goal of getting you more time efficiency or yield and free up additional time to pursue other personal and professional interests. Therefore, we broaden the approach and add a continuous flow into the mix.

Time-optimized time management is a continuous pursuit of the right preparation, along with the right execution, to escalate broad control over personal productivity.”

Time management is a series of scheduled events or planned activities will get to at some point. Time optimization puts in the structure of preparation, execution, and control, all the while integrating a continuousness and flexibility, but with firm intention, to regulate the outcome.

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David Buck is the author of the book “The Time-Optimized Life, owner of Kairos Management Solutions, LLC, and founder of the Infinity Lifestyle Design program. As a certified professional retirement coach (CPRC), David works with financial services providers helping their clients create a post-career lifestyle strategy. To learn more, contact him at dave@kmstime.com or visit Infinity Lifestyle Design.

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