Time and Tide…

You will probably have heard the phrase “Time and tide wait for no man”, I always thought the tide referred to the motion of the sea. However, in researching this post I found out that the original context of ‘tide’ was actually a period of time such as a season. What have I chosen that for a blog title for? Well, one of the biggest issues I here from business owners and others is about time; generally not having enough time to do everything that they ‘need’ to get done.


TimeAccording to The Chambers Dictionary (11th Edition), Time can be defined as:

A concept arising from change experienced and observed, expressed as past, present and future… often measured by amount of turning of the Earth on its axis

, so whilst the human race exists and the Earth keeps on turning, time will continue. Right?

However, the issue for you and I is that our ‘time’ here on this Earth is finite; once it’s spent it’s spent you cannot get it back. Therefore, our ‘time’ is precious so use your’s wisely.

Managing Time

TideManaging time, a misnomer? Like King Canute and the tide, we do not have the ability to manage time; we cannot stop it, we cannot turn it back and we cannot propel ourselves forward in time.


However, what we can do is manage ourselves and manage how we ‘spend’ our time. You are faced with a plethora choices everyday of how you can use and spend your time; admittedly some of those choices have much bigger rewards or consequences attached to them than others.


Urgent and important

Have you ever read the books by Stephen Covey, in his work “First things first”, he speaks of the four quadrants of activity:

  • Quadrant 1 – those activities that we carry out that are both urgent and important. Activities that have a real value and a close deadline and therefore, tend to need prioritisation
  • Quadrant 2 – Important and not urgent, activities such as strategy, long term planning. They do not have the same time demands and immediacy but should be prioritised
  • Quadrant 3 – Urgent and not important – day to day interruptions, distractions. Appear to have deadline or are of immediate interest but really do not have any value in the long term
  • Quadrant 4 – not urgent and not important – trivia, ‘busy’ work. Have no value and just eat up your time

Where do you spend your time? Are you aware of how you spend your time? If not, perhaps you should consider monitoring what eats your time up and where it would sit in Covey’s matrix? By examining how you ‘spend’ your time, perhaps you can identify some activities that use your time but add no value to what you are trying to achieve. By reducing those activities that sit in quadrants 3 and 4, maybe you can give yourself more time to plan and maybe reduce your time in quadrant 1 too. Consider developing your ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ lists; make the list of those activities that you will do, the ‘Yes’ list short and the ‘No’ list longer. How might you structure and schedule your day better to achieve more? Consider what is important and by when it needs to be done, plan your day and activities in advance. Perhaps you could aim for some quick wins to give you momentum for the rest of the day.