There’s only one thing I don’t have time for. It’s people who tell me that they don’t have time. Everyone has enough time to accomplish all of their priorities. What many people don’t have is priorities.
The reality is that without priorities time doesn’t matter. When everything is of equal importance then nothing is important. People without true priorities finish up their day and wonder where the time went. People with priorities and goals that align with them know exactly where their time went. It was used precisely where they intended to use it.
So please don’t tell me you don’t have time. Tell me you can’t manage your time. Tell me you have no ability to prioritize. Tell me you just don’t know what to do next but don’t tell me you don’t have enough time.
Now I’m no time management expert. I don’t actually believe there is such a person. To manage time you would have to be able to stop it, to add to it, or borrow it from someone else. As far as I know, none of that is possible.
So stop taking time management courses, most of the are just another waste of your time. Instead, start managing the events that use up your time. Managing the events that make up your day becomes much easier when you learn to use one word. It’s a tiny word, it’s a word than many people are offended by. It’s a word that many of us struggle to say, especially when we most need to.
The word is NO.
I say no to a hell of a lot of people and even more things. I, just like you, have 1440 minutes in each day. Unlike many of you, I alone decide how they will be used. I know that each day will have time devoted to family. Each day will have time devoted to work. Each day will have time set aside for fun. (Yep, each and every day)
Some days I set aside time to do nothing. Some people don’t seem to be able to understand that particular concept. They call and ask what I’m doing on Saturday. I say I’m doing nothing. They say great, let’s do this. I reply that I can’t, I’m doing nothing on Saturday. They are very confused. For me, doing nothing is something and it’s pretty great.
I don’t blame them for being confused. One of the greatest stress producing beliefs that too many people have is that you must be doing something every waking minute of the day. Folks, I’m here to tell you that just ain’t so.
I also have me time. My me time usually starts around 4:00am and ends around 5:00am. It’s only an hour but for me it’s an important hour. I’ll bet it would be for you too. In that hour I write stuff like this post. I do most I my social media efforts in that hour as well. I skim a few newspapers most days in that hour and it’s my time alone. No one is up in the house so I’m not taking time away from my family for me. My co-workers haven’t thought of getting out of bed yet so I’m not affecting them by focusing on me.
5:00am to 5:30am I look at the days events and divide up my time according to the priorities my goals have set for me. Some days the number one priority might be a lunch with a colleague who needs my help. Other days it might be something I’d really rather not do but I know it must be done. There is even open time on my calendar that I allow other people to fill with their priorities because helping others is a priority for me.
Having a clear set of priorities each day will eliminate much of the day-to-day stress most people experience. Even on the days life throws you a curve and your priorities go out the window you’ll have less stress than others because you’re still in control of your time more days than not.
So remember, when you start feeling stressed over time it’s likely of your own doing. Or more likely it’s because of what you didn’t do. You didn’t say NO!