Time is the one resource that is the same for everyone, we’ve all been given the same 24 hours in a day and we all have been afforded the power of choice to do what we want with that time. Time affects or influences so many of the most important decisions you will ever make in your entire life. Just think of how often you’ve heard:
- I just don’t have enough time
- It’s about time you started settling down
- Isn’t it about time you got serious
- By the time I’m _____ I want to be ______
Time creates outcasts, misfits, rebels, and troublemakers – If you haven’t finished school by a certain age there’s something wrong with you, if you don’t make a certain amount of money by a certain time there’s something wrong with you, if you’re not married by a certain age, if you haven’t had certain experiences, tried specific things, or understand some of life’s nuances there’s something wrong with you.
Keep reading if you’re one of those… stop immediately if you’re not.
Time: Easily Acquired and Quickly Spent
Time is the worlds ultimate currency, if you work for someone else every waking moment of your time is being traded for money and those that feel they don’t have enough are trying to barter, search, and scavenge for more of it and those that are in influential positions are trying to control how much time others have. When you control time you have supreme power, you can dictate someone else’s value.
- You can control when they work
- Determine levels of happiness
- And essentially determine how another persons life plays out.
- Establish how much they’re worth
Just think for a second, if your salary is set at 50,000 dollars a year someone else is telling you that you are worth $5.70 per hour ($50,000/8765.81 hours in a year). The most successful people in the world understand the value of it – I love the show Shark Tank, I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have heard one of the investors (especially Mark Cuban) say how much they value their time. Those that are the most successful understand that once it is spent you can never get it back.
The most successful have established time as one of their highest values even above the likes of money and sex. Time has become a standard by which they live by and is never influenced by outside sources, pressure, or other incentives.
If you are not in control of your time you are essentially a puppet on a string carrying on a dance directed by someone else. The ability to manage your time is the ability to manage your life, the ability to determine your worth.
Time. Ticking Away
I sort of wish all of us were given a watch that would tell us the exact time and date of our death. Sorry to be morbid but I think that’s the only way some of us would get sh*t done, but even then I’m convinced that the majority of people would wait until the last-minute to do the things they really wanted to do, and as they stare at the slim time they have left complain about how they wish they had more time.
Wasting time here and there is the easiest thing in the world to do and as a matter of fact I just wasted about 30 seconds checking my email for no apparent reason… oops… just wasted another minute checking my phone, horrific time management by me.
Time management is the conscious control over ones activities, skills, and resources. There are a few primary influencers that determine how you manage your time. Here is what I have come up with below, if you can think of any others please feel free to comment below or email me.
1. Boredom: Time slows down when you’re bored and when we’re bored your attention span wavers, your willpower weakens, and you revert to habits that might not be beneficial. How many of you eat when you’re bored (guilty as charged), or sleep, watch TV, check your email, Facebook, phone, or find some arbitrary activity to do that doesn’t particularly need to be done at that moment just so you feel like you’re doing something – I have a horrible habit of going grocery shopping when I’m bored.
2. Age: You’re suppose to finish school at a certain age, get married, have kids, buy a house, make a certain amount of money, etc.. They’re almost like checkpoints to make sure you are falling in line with the status quo. The problem is that someone else randomly decided them for you, someone else is trying to control what you do with your time.
Now I can only speak for myself here but I find the relationship between age and time to be fascinating. The older I get the faster time seems to pass. I contribute this and so does the research (1) (2), to familiarity. The younger you are the less experiences you have and everything seems so new, what brings excitement and anticipation to someone without that experience becomes a very ho-hum, been there done that for someone who is older and has experienced it before
Psychology today gives us a great example of this I am sure you can relate to.
…The first time you drive to a distant locale, it seems like it takes forever (remember that first weekend getaway, or commuting trip the first day of the new job?). As you repeat the drive, over and over, the time flies by, and you can’t recall any specific trip, unless something “memorable” happens. A really long traffic jam; a fender bender; etc. Or, the first day of a two-week beachside vacation seems to go on and on, a long, and enjoyable experience (“Wow, I’ve got two whole weeks of this!”). But before you know it, your packing for home.
3. Emotions: Remember when you broke up with your girlfriend or boyfriend, or felt fear the first time you did something really adventurous, or even the emotions you felt giving your first presentation to a school or work group, I bet you could actually physically see and feel it with; perspiration, rapid speech, heart racing, or the long slow agony of a break-up.
4. Time as a gift: In a study conducted by Cassie Mogilner (2012), She found that spending time helping others leaves people feeling like they have more time and those that spend it on themselves feel as though it has been wasted. Here is a brief excerpt from the study.
…The results show that giving your time to others can make you feel more “time affluent” and less time-constrained than wasting your time, spending it on yourself, or even getting a windfall of free time. In the first two experiments, my colleagues and I found that people who wrote notes to sick children or devoted a bit of time on a Saturday morning to helping another person were more likely than the other study subjects to say their futures felt “infinite.” In the third experiment, people who helped edit the essays of at-risk high school students were less likely to view time as scarce and more likely to say they currently had some to spare. They also acted on those feelings. When we asked subjects who’d assisted the students how much time they could give to doing paid online surveys the following week, they committed to an average of 38 minutes—nine minutes more than the people who had simply been allowed to leave early. The following week, the people who’d edited the essays also ended up actually doing more than the other group, spending, on average, seven minutes more completing surveys.
Each of us measure his or her own experiences and time spent differently, what is wasted time for one my be a new experience and time well spent for another. I said it earlier but it bares repeating, especially for those that complain they have “no time.” The feeling of no time is actually a sign that you’re doing things you don’t really want to do. Each of us is on the same boat when it comes to time, no one has an advantage over anyone else, there are no 25 hours for some and 18 for others. Your allocation of time is entirely up to you.
Decide What To Do – Do It – Don’t Do It
A lot of time is wasted in actually deciding what you want to do, too much indecision and apprehension mostly in the form of fear and regret. The late great Stephen Covey has a wonderful tool to help you decide what are of urgent, important, not urgent, and not important.
What’s important, urgent, not important, and not urgent will greatly vary from one person to another, getting your health in check is a great example of this. Some of you might be perfectly happy with where your diet and exercise habits are, you have it dialed in and it’s fairly easy for you to maintain now. However, for others it may be of urgency and high importance due to health related concerns.
Managing time can create extreme anxiety, especially when I feel like I don’t have enough. I always try to remind myself that to be proficient at time management what I really need to be in charge of is energy management. In the book The Power of Full Engagement we’re reminded that our energy is controlled by our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual choices. The food you eat, exercise you get, the emotions you express, your mindset, and relationship with other people and the world as a whole affect your energy and the way you experience time.
Eat some terrible food, go out drinking late, and spend time with some negative energy people and see how you are affected.
Just like willpower your energy is diminishing. I’m sure you’ve all heard the expression that life is a marathon, but I tend to be on the side of it being a sprint, with bouts of intensity mixed with a short series of rest periods. Those rest periods being vitally important for recovery for the next sprint. When life is viewed as a marathon you can easily succumb to quick fixes, get rich quick schemes, and instant gratification.
These brief sprints should be taken as opportunities to push yourself beyond what you think you are capable of, exceeding your own expectations, and embracing the uncomfortable. Remember, a sprint is an all out effort – you’ll have plenty of time to rest after you give it your all. To give you that extra push focus on those intrinsic motivating factors.
Creating specific routines that you can perform day in and day it is a great way to create positive energy management. These can be as simple as getting up at the same to time every day, starting your day with a certain breakfast or exercise routine, or taking a 50/10 break where you take 10 minutes to reset for every 50 minutes of work.
Take time to plan your week, I like Sundays to set up what it is I plan to accomplish. I typically dedicate days for certain tasks like exercise, cooking, research, writing, laundry, fun, or whatever else I have going on. I also schedule daily activities like email, phone, meetings, etc… for specific times each day; for example I try to not check email until 7PM everyday (I’m pretty good about this.)
Watch out for bad mojo. Some people you spend time with can be energy zappers, you know, those negative Nancy’s that are always shooting down ideas, in a bad mood, or create a toxic environment. Run a quick evaluation of friends and family, which ones contribute to more energy, success, and happiness for you and which ones don’t?
We’re Out Of Time
If you have “death-bed syndrome” it’s time to check in and evaluate how you are managing your time and energy. Are you spending it doing the things that are most important to you and your values or are you letting someone else dictate how you spend you time?
It’s time to make your life urgent, your life important, spend a few moments today evaluating how you want to spend your time when it comes to the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and financial.
Remember, time is free – you get to choose what you do with it.
What do you feel like you don’t have enough time for right now?
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