Professional Development

Double dimension of time
Time as a peculiar resource. If we focus on the quantitative aspect of time, we will have to face another problem, which is that we have a fixed amount of time. Let's take the duration of one day as an example: the sum will always be 24 hours. Whether you spend 8 hours working, 8 sleeping and 8 in leisure activities, or 12 hours working, 4 hours in leisure activities, studying or with your family, and 8 sleeping, the final sum will always be 24 hours.
Whenever we come across a fixed sum problem, we have a distribution problem, and when we have a distribution problem, we have a priority-definition problem, that is, we have to follow certain criteria to allocate a limited amount of resources to a specific end.
While to define priorities may not seem so complicated, there is an obstacle we cannot avoid: unexpected events.
We must, therefore, include such unexpected, or unscheduled, events in our plans, for they are unavoidable. We may try to make them less frequent and as brief as possible, but we will always have to face them. Planning (or management, which is the same) is a key tool to solve the distribution problem we will also encounter. Yet, our time is an extremely personal resource - it is our whole life!
Are there time management models that we could adopt or others to which we could adapt? We must be capable of developing our own time management models. Although we may base ourselves on the model that is most appealing to us, our ultimate objective is to structure our own management system.
There is another issue, another time dimension, which we have not yet taken into account: quality. The quality of the activities we are capable of developing during our time reflects the quality of our time.
If we focus on our productive capacity, we must take into consideration our knowledge and skills, our attitudes, our energy level and our experience. All these factors will dictate our acting capacity, and the greater the quality of the action, the more we will profit from our time; in other words, the quality of our actions impact the quantitative aspect of our time.
As to knowledge and skills, this matter should be very clear: the more knowledge and skills I have, the easier it is for me to accomplish more in less time, or do more higher quality things in the same amount of time.
There is no doubt that this matter is not always fully understood, especially when it concerns attitudes. For example, if my flight is late, I have two alternatives - only two. One is to get angry and protest against the lack of punctuality of the airline, in which case I will most likely be upset for a couple of hours and that is all. My other option is to immediately think I have unexpectedly been given two hours. I know the flight delay will cause inconveniences and that I must do certain things to minimize them. But, I have two hours to use, a time that I had not expected to have available.
It is a time I can use whichever way I want, but I will only enjoy it if, with my attitude, I am willing to enjoy and take advantage of it. There are days when we wake up with total lack of enthusiasm, for whatever reason. Such days seem to have less time, not lasting as long as they should, whereas, on days our minds are busy, time seems longer and we can accomplish many other things. We should always remember that, in the end, "we make our day". Climatically speaking, there are raining and sunny, cold and hot days, but it is I who make it a good or bad day, depending on how I manage my attitude. If we accept this fact, we can develop attitudes that help us manage time and improve the quality of our own time.
It is also obvious that, if we are capable of learning and acquiring increased experience, we are also capable of improving ourselves. This certainly applies to the "quality control" aspect of our time. Last, but not least, high levels of stress or fatigue, or any other factor that can negatively impact our energy level, make us need more time to do things.
Our performance and productive capacity depend on our knowledge, skills, attitudes, experience and energy level, all of which rule the degree of perfectionism of the time management model we must develop. Nevertheless, unexpected events are wonderful learning opportunities that enable us to constantly refine our management model.