Don’t Run Out of Time

I have to admit that I have little patience for people who tell me that they “don’t have time.” The fact is no one in the world has more time than they do. We all have exactly the same amount of time, 1440 minutes a day. No more, no less.

 

You will never have more time than you do today. You can’t “make time” and you can’t “save time.” Stop worrying about how much time you don’t have and start using the time you do have more efficiently. 

 

For starters you must understand the difference between being busy and being productive. While “busy” people can get tired they often don’t get done. Productive people always seem to have a plan to follow and a goal to achieve. They get stuff done! 

 

Here’s a simple repeatable process that many of those highly productive people use to stay on track.

 

Determine what to do: Ask yourself, “does this need to be done and if I do it what goal or objective does it get me closer to? If you can’t state with a high degree of specificity why something needs to be done then it may be busywork. Don’t do it!

 

Schedule time to do it: Do you control your calendar or does it control you? Only put things on your calendar that will lead to your goals and objectives being achieved. Once it makes it to your calendar, it must be done. The simple fact is that the most productive people have more discipline in this area than less productive people.

 

Focus: Use time management tools like block time and appointment bracketing to make sure you’re using your time well. Do not allow other people to interrupt you. Do not interrupt yourself with email or social media that can wait. And don’t kid yourself into believing that it can’t wait.

 

Stay hyper aware: Things change! As your priorities shift don’t be afraid to adjust and adapt, be sure to keep your goals and objectives in mind. Because something was vital at some point in the past does not mean that it is still vital today. Reevaluating your priorities from time to time is one of the most productive activities you can do.

 

Always be improving: Constantly be looking for ways to maximize your efficiency; never do anything because it’s always been done that way. Look for a better way. That said, never invest a minute trying to improve something that doesn’t need to be done in the first place. Shaving ten minutes from a thirty minute project that doesn’t need to be done is still wasting twenty minutes and don’t tell yourself otherwise. 

 

Don’t overestimate your capacity: Successful people don’t say they will do more than they know they can do. If you know it will overload you and cause you to lose focus then don’t commit to doing it. It is perfectly acceptable, in fact it is necessary, to say no to things that don’t get you closer to your goals and objectives. 

 

If you find yourself running out of time at the end of a day then something must change. Highly productive people would tell you that nothing can change if you don’t change first. 


So will you?

First Things First

I teach a Time Management program. I probably shouldn’t since there is actually no such thing as time management. No one has ever managed time. Time does it’s own thing, relentlessly ticking off second after second regardless of what you may need to accomplish.

I hear people saying all the time that they don’t have enough time but the fact is they do. They have all the time in the world. No one who has ever lived has had more time than you have right now. They didn’t have less either.

1440 minutes a day is what each of us gets to accomplish what we will. No one has ever gotten more and barring the coolest tech not yet invented I doubt they ever will.

So time management is a bit of a misnomer, it’s probably better described as event management. The events that make up your day are what chews up your time. The people who seem to have more time are the ones who have mastered the mindset that everything they do during a day is an event. 

They see breakfast as an event, they see their morning stop at the coffee shop as an event. They see every phone call as an event and they know that when they have a day full of events they stop adding more. If they do add more they drop something else off their list of events.

Managing the events that make up your day teaches you a very important life lesson: no one has too little time, what they have is very poor prioritization skills.

People without prioritization skills end up doing less important things at the expense of more important things, often at the expense of the most important thing.

They do the easy thing, they do what they like, they do what they have always done. If any of those things happen to be the most important thing, the most productive thing, then that’s a happy coincidence. But successful people don’t rely on coincidence.

If you’re really going to be a good life event manager then you’re going to need to have a serious conversation with yourself. That conversation should be centered around your life goals, your values and your objectives. Most people who fail in doing the most important thing first do so simply because they don’t know what the most important thing is. 

Set goals, real goals. Goals that align with your values and principles. Write those goals down and make a plan to achieve them. You’ll be amazed at how much time you really have when pretty much everything you do gets you closer to one of those goals. 

Quit trying to manage time and start managing your life, that’s your true path to success.