This hour glass just arrived in the post and it will help me better remember things I’ve learnt each week.
Thank you to Rebecca Brennan for the idea. She recently joined our agencies at Polymensa as part of our Time Management theme - sharing techniques and philosophies. Rebecca is Marketing Director at the agency Kyan, does at least 12 hours of sport each week, runs ultra marathons, climbed Mont Blanc, crossed the Jordan Desert by foot,...
How does she manage her time and how can an hourglass inspire an activity that will help you better retain information? Here are some of the key learnings from that session:
There were patterns between Rebecca’s time management and other guests we invited to share time management insights, such as a Sergeant in Special Ops US Army. Both appeared to have strong values / philosophies around time. Here are Rebecca’s key values around time:
Rebecca, pointed out that the Ancient Greeks looked at time in two specific ways. Chronos means the linear order of time. Whereas Kairos is how you seize the opportunity of time. There are two general thoughts how people understand and apply the philosophy of Kairos:
Every Friday Rebecca spends exactly 5 mins reflecting on the week - writing a journal. She uses an hourglass to force herself to not make it feel like a long chore. As soon as the last grain of sand drops, she stops. In her journal she reflects on what has worked, what hasn't worked that week.
Writing a journal is a really powerful way to retain information. We take on thousands of pieces of new information each week, but usually don’t take the time to reflect on it. Therefore end up forgetting most of the information - it becomes useless data. It is proven that we retain information better if we keep retrieving it from our memory.
For example you probably don’t remember how to divide two fractions in the quickest way. Whereas it’s very hard for you to forget how to walk. Because you walk every day. Your brain is forced to recall how to walk all the time.
Like other athletes we speak to (Mark Hunter MBE - Olympic Gold Rower), Rebecca also has a strong view that: “How you feel and present yourself to people is in your control.” If you want people to follow your philosophy around time, you have to act the part too. She recommended not to run in the office or act frantic if possible, as it gives off the impression you are in a rush. This could signal you don’t manage your time well.
Keep calm and everyone else will follow. Or as John Wooden (one of the most successful basketball coaches of all time) puts it: “Be quick, but don’t rush.”
Rebecca never wants to give a person the feeling like she's not present. This ties up with her values: Make time for the right people and be there if you say you will be there. “The way you prepare yourself before you go into a conversation is key.” She wants to give that person full focus and not appear like she has 1,000 other things on her mind, because that isn't respectful of their time.
The above is all well and good, but what happens if you have too many people in your team that constantly want something from you?
Over the years Rebecca has observed that many of her colleagues come to her with the question: “Do you have 5 minutes?” or “Can I ask you something quickly?”
Her usual response is: "Is it really a 5 minute question?” Followed by a dramatic pause. If it is longer than 5 minutes, she’ll book in time to speak.
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