A closer look at time management

What is more valuable than gold, weighs nothing, disappears as you attempt to measure it, and is wasted more than any other resource?  You guessed it – time. If we could bottle it and sell it to the aging population, we’d be rich. Unfortunately, each of us is allocated only a specific amount of time. It has to last us a lifetime because it is our lifetime, and we can neither subtract from it, nor add to it.

In some countries, selling organs such as one of your kidneys, can gain you some money. But nowhere is it possible to sell your time. Your time, your life, is yours to spend, and yours only. How will you spend it? If you have not consciously thought about budgeting your time, I suggest you do so. We budget our money; but how many of us actually sit down and establish our purpose or mission statement, set some lifetime objectives, plan our days and budget our time? Based on what I have discovered at my workshops over the past forty years, very few of us.

The great thing about time management is that you don’t need any particular skills or prerequisites. You simply decide what you want to do with the rest of your life. If there’s nothing you want to do, that’s probably what will get done. If you have no goals, you’ll no doubt reach them all with a minimum of effort.

But if you have a vision of becoming a successful entrepreneur, president of a corporation, church leader, volunteer, author, politician or if you want to be financially independent, retired at age 55, a world traveler, a respected authority in a fascinating field of your choice or if you want to be a great parent, an educator, a sports historian, a physically fit, healthy individual – if there’s anything you dream of doing, having or becoming, you can probably do it, have it, or become it if you take control of your time.

Time management involves determining what you want out of life, including your job or profession and setting some specific targets. Once you have your goals established, timeframes determined, and a schedule of the time for the necessary tasks required to reach these goals recorded in our planner, it becomes simply a matter of working on those tasks. Listing goals shows interest in them; but scheduling time for goals shows your commitment to achieving them. A dream becomes a goal when you have a plan for achieving it.

For some of us it’s not that simple, because many of us do not have the self-discipline or motivation necessary to stick to a plan. Time management includes the self-control necessary to persist in the pursuit of our goals – in spite of the interruptions, meetings and crises that invariably occur. In spite of the temptation to procrastinate, take the path of least resistance or give up altogether.

Time management is not getting more things done in less time. It’s getting fewer things done – but things of greater importance – in the time that we have left. It’s not saving time. Time can’t really be saved. And even if it could, it’s more important to live time than to save time.

It’s not the attempt to eliminate interruptions, meetings, telephone calls or low priority obligations. These will always exist to varying degrees. Time management is simply zeroing in on what is important to you. Doing less, but doing it better. And doing it with determination and persistence.

The time management ideas, shortcuts and tips that you get from other articles, books, seminars and recordings will help you by freeing up more time to work on your goal related activities. But they will not give you the motivation, willpower, self-discipline needed to actually work on them. That comes from within. You already have it; but you must learn to use it. It’s a classic example of on-the-job training. We learn by doing.

So do it. If you slip, if you fail, if you quit, start again. Any small success increases the probability of a greater success later. The height of one’s effectiveness varies directly with the depth of one’s commitment. Persistence can become habitual. Motivation kindled by a desired goal will get you started. And habit will keep you going.

True time management is not something that you learn. It’s something that you do. It does not come from others. It comes from yourself. From within. You can do what you have decided in your heart to do.

Clear, concrete, concise goals will increase your confidence that they can be achieved.

Motivation is desire multiplied by expectancy. If you really want something badly enough, and you really believe that what you are doing will achieve it, you are motivated to achieve it.

Set realistic goals that will have a major positive impact on your life. Reveal your goals to your supporters, but not to your critics. We all need cheerleaders. When the going gets tough, focus on the payoff. Visualize the rewards. And measure progress by what you have accomplished to date, not by what remains to be done.

Note: If you want an in depth course on time management, which includes 5 recordings, 54 pages of student notes, and a copy of my best-selling book, Making Time Work for You, all downloadable for $14.95 U.S., visit www.taylorintime.com and click on Shop at the top menu and select Download Products.

 

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