Monday 19th March 08:01

Time Management: The Four Elements

fourelements03_142Balancing each day's activities is not simply a healthy way of working, it is also the most productive and enjoyable. To follow an intense period of brainwork with some time doing physical work; then to follow that with some time on a project, followed by time with friends, is to create a rich and whole texture to the day. By seeking to create a balance of the different types of tasks that we must carry out each day, we are able to have order with spontaneity, the challenging with the practical; routine with innovation; and introspection with the pleasure of others.

Time Elements: What Each Element Represents

1. Earth
The earth element represents the source from which we obtain our nourishment. It is the basis upon which everything else is built; it is the rock, the core, the groundwork. Earth tasks include habits, routines, maintenance, and the fixed needs of the day.

2. Fire
The element of fire represents the creative spark in us. When this spark is lit, it can produce something uniquely special that adds to our lives and those of others. Fire tasks include new ideas; projects; one-off tasks; experiments; and personal development work.

3. Air
The element of air is the most elusive of all the elements. Air is everywhere and nowhere. It connects every living breathing organism, yet it is impossible to grasp or contain. Air tasks include planning; preparation; reviewing and learning; relaxing and recuperating.

4. Water
Water tasks are those tasks that bring us together with other people. Water is fluid, moving, soft, interacting, communicating, joining, feeling, connecting. Water tasks include all kinds of communicating and interacting with others, both active and passive, work-related and playful.

"If we consider our waking day as a stretch of 16 hours, 4 should ideally be given to each element. Air involves the orderly application of the mind. Fire produces a movement towards the future and fans sparks of creativity. Earth consolidates the physical situation and surroundings. Water is feeling awareness like a stream floating between two banks of reality." (Margaret Gullan-Whur)

Time Elements: A Revolutionary Way of Looking at Your Life

The model of the Time Elements can change the way you use your time both in work and outside it. Here are 5 ways to use the model.

1. Discover which of the four elements you like to spend most of your time in and which you are neglecting. Decide if you have balance.

2. Even out the time you spend in each element each day so that you are able to maximise your productivity and effectiveness.

3. Don't work in one element for more than an hour at a time. Do some project work for an hour and then switch off for an hour. Do some people work for an hour and then go and do something routine. This is the way to stay fresh.

4. Be aware that each element requires a different state of being. Air tasks are still and introverted. Fire tasks are lively and extroverted. Earth tasks are stodgy and repetitive. Water tasks are unpredictable and emotive.

5. Become a great time manager by acquiring the skills of each element. Learn how to do routine tasks efficiently. Learn how to make others feel special when you spend time with them. Learn how to set, plan, and achieve new goals. Learn how to happily be "being" and not always be doing.

Related Resources:
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