If I asked you to tell me logically what you could do to make more efficient and effective use of your time I'm sure you could come up with a long list.
A very long list.
A long list - followed by lots of reasons why not one of these solutions would work for you in the current situation!
That's where metaphor comes in, as it can bypass the blocks in your mindset, to help you find ways you CAN accommodate some of these solutions.
During workshops, where I share a number of tools for problem solving and creative and innovative thinking, I've had some gorgeous solutions emerge around time management.
As you can see this session took place outside.
It's too easy I'd suggest to believe that it is other people who are stopping you from managing your time.
As this image shows however you can protect and safe guard your time by pulling the window down and/or have an alarm installed - after all it is YOUR time.
This metaphorical image might represent solutions in real life such as:
I loved this depiction of replying or responding to emails which shows why they can be the biggest distractor of our time.
I remember in a workshop having a conversation where the majority of those there felt very uncomfortable with not replying to emails as soon as they came in.
If you work in a call centre and are being measured on response times then I appreciate responding to emails and calls is the main focus of your job.
For many of us that is simply not the case.
Whilst you may not manage to move to replying to emails twice a day, as shown above, I can guarantee that you could halve the number of times you look at your emails and still not negatively impact your service to others*.
It's one of the reasons I don't have email on my phone because I can't then be tempted to have a look at emails at other times.
*another option is to have a conversation with your manager and team about how to communicate when something is urgent, and when it can wait. I'm sure your manger would be appalled at the impact their emails are having on you and the rest of team as you all leave whatever you are working on and rush to reply immediately.
What does this collage say to you about your time management?
This is the question I asked delegates during one workshop.
As metaphor is in the eye of the beholder it's difficult to know what insight would resonate most from this collection of images for you.
For me it's about letting go of the need to look good - ie I suspect that trying to look good can drive my over zealous email or social media responding at times!
Another insight from the image might be managing your time with a visible clock which might remind you to use tools such as the pomodoro technique.
Exploring the metaphor in out language such as juggling too many balls or spinning too many plates can also provide additional and alternative perspectives.
Other time management tools
For one workshop I developed a Pinterest board pulling together over 100 ideas for managing your time. I particularly like:
What can you do to manage your time more effectively?