Time is something we simply take for granted but it has a massive impact on how we work and live

Work at any time is not necessarily a stressful one if we balance it against a realistic approach to what or how we do things. The fact that more work can be done at any time and anywhere means we have to take responsibility for how we manage our work. We need to consider how we can break up our day dependent on the work that needs to be done, who we work with etc. and then plan accordingly. Each day is also likely to be different if it is knowledge based and it comes down to the level of trust that we place in people – whether employees, colleagues or managers, or whether entrepreneurs trust themselves to work effectively in a flexible way. Attitudes have and are changing.

Modern mobile technology, flexible working and cloud based computing can be used to redefine our work and working practices. Much of how we work has been focused on when or where we work and not what we are achieving or the output we create. Through being more creative with working types, we have an opportunity to extract greater value from our working and leisure time.


The routine of industrial life has meant that any leisure/ relaxation time has been segmented – either before/after the working day, or at the weekend. Time to relax, step away from work and just to pursue other things in life keeps us refreshed in our work and keeps us motivated. You need to create time for you, your family, your friends, your interests etc. as these will actually help you work harder and perform better. This has been proven and the happy, productive employee is the dream of most companies.

This simple truth becomes harder to conceive and therefore achieve in a working world where working flexibly at any time is no longer fixed by working hours or locations. Again, it comes down to the person and how they adapt or flex their work to balance other things in life. It is essential that people take a break, do something else or engage with others (and this is often becoming more virtual) in order to maintain a healthy approach to their work. Just because the world of work may become 24/7 – there is no need for you to expect your work to be the same. It is impossible to do so. It comes down to you and choices you make about your time, so spend it wisely to maximise your downtime.

Use it, or lose it

So we understand the notion that time has real economic value. However, there is a paradox – work may become more flexible, but time remains a fixed constant. There is an opportunity cost every time we spend our time. If you make one choice, you risk losing another, so there is always an element of pressure or cost. However, you need to step away from the decision being the issue, and focus on the opportunity to use your time to do something worthwhile.

An example of this is the phrase “use it, or lose it” when it comes to annual leave. You are entitled to leave and are paid for it. It is good to take a break from work and use that time to do so. You don’t need to go on holiday; you could spend time with friends and family; or just do something you enjoy. Lots of people forego this opportunity and lose the time they could take. Time off and away from work does have real value so make the most of it – never lose it, use it.

Invest your time wisely

We need to be mindful of how and where we invest our time. If time has a value and is like money, we need to invest or spend it where we will get the greatest return or satisfaction. There is always a choice but we often hide behind “I have no choice” if something is perhaps too hard to conceive or pursue as an option. However, you choose how you invest your time and as time is finite, you need to be careful to think about how you do this in order to achieve the best return for you.

An example of this could be job-hunting. Most people still update their CV, print multiple copies and send it via the post or email to employers for jobs they see in the press or online. This does sometimes work, but more often than not, you will apply for lots of roles before you get a job offer and it is not always the one you want. So, you need to consider how you invest your time into achieving the best returns. Do you do what you have always done, or could you use your time to build connections via social media? Could you identify potential contacts or arrange meetings and attend networking forums instead?

Your CV can be the key to a door, but the people engaging with other people opens it. I am not saying that networking and social media are the silver bullet, but networks are catalysts to help you find jobs, share information about jobs, to refer trusted contacts for jobs, and allow you to gather important information and contacts to help you get the job you want. So, again it is how you use the time you have that really does matter.

Time to close

My thoughts and comments above are not a panacea to help resolve all the time management problems you may face. The whole point of this article was to make you think about what time means, what it means to you and what you need to consider when it applies to you. The points I make are not exhaustive but time is as ever against me. I have a limited time and opportunity to write this. However, I genuinely hope that what I have written will make you think about what it really means to you. Remember, when all is else is done, you need to look back on your life and your work and say …. I enjoyed my time.

About The Author

Giles O’Halloran is an experienced Recruitment and HR professional, with a wealth of knowledge in both sectors. He has worked for a number of large and respected organisations, including blue chip and global recruitment companies. Giles has spent over 15 years providing CV writing, interview preparation and professional networking support to clients in both the public and private sector. He also has over a decade of service in two branches of the Reserve Forces. Feel free to connect with Giles via Linkedin or follow him on Twitter via @GilesOHalloran