“How many of you know you need to become better at time management in order to achieve your goals?” It’s a question I’ve asked audiences dozens of times and virtually every hand in the room always goes up. However the eagerness of the group quickly turns to confusion and despair when I say, “Sorry, that’s not possible!”
Think about it. How can you manage time?
Time is an inflexible, uncompromising aspect of our world. The concept of managing time is nonsensical. What are you going to do, slow down the clock or add a few hours to the day? The truth is that there is no such thing as time management. The real issue is self-management related to time.
When you stop trying to manage your time and start managing yourself, you will experience an immediate and dramatic increase in your productivity and progress.
In my view, the primary reason people refer to ‘time management’ is that they are not willing to confront the truth. Time is one area where we are all created equal. You have the same amount of time each day as Barack Obama or the unemployed street person.
The issue is not how much time you have, it’s how you use the time you’ve got. Acknowledging this fact forces you to look in the mirror and admit that you are doing a poor job of utilizing the limited time you have on this planet.
Think of time as a bank account. Every day at midnight, you receive a deposit of 1440 minutes into your account. Twenty-four hours later, your account is empty. Another precious day of your life has gone by and all that remains is the results of your actions. How many days do you have remaining to accomplish and experience what you want? Nobody knows…..
In spite of this reality, most people act as if time is unlimited. They waste precious hours watching mindless TV shows, playing online games, watching YouTube or absorbed in other people’s Facebook trivia. I’m not saying that there is no place for legitimate downtime; there absolutely is. But where’s the balance?
If you are reading this post, you are obviously committed to living an abundant and fulfilling life. If you want to achieve that goal you must make the most of the precious and limited time you have. In other words, you must manage yourself wisely.
The journey begins with several crucial questions: What experience do you want in your life? What are your goals? Do you want these enough to pull yourself out of mediocrity and make something happen? Or, as the late Wayne Dyer would say, are you going to die with the music still in you?
It doesn’t matter how old you are, the real value of goals and vision is that they create tension; a desirable future that pulls you forward towards what you want. The clearer and more specific your goals are, the more likely you are to attain them.
Long term goals provide direction but they don’t create enough tension to pull you into action, hence the value of short term objectives.
Diligent self-management is crucial to overcome the villain of complacency. And what makes it particularly challenging is that almost everyone around you, probably 95% of people, are being ‘ordinary’ and surrendering to the path of least resistance. This ensures that they will lead lives of mediocrity and the quality of their time will get worse over time.
Most people may be resigned to this but I suspect you want more. You must rise above the crowd if you want to thrive beyond 55. In order to accomplish this you will need to use self-management.
I won’t go into the how and why of setting goals in this post; there’s plenty of information on how to do that available. My intent with this monologue is to challenge you to wake up.
Get clear about what you want and go for it. Ignore what everybody else is doing. And please don’t say you are bad at time management.
You have the power. Focus on self-management! Choose to spend your time on activities that will take you where you want to go.
Andrew Barber-Starkey is one of Canada’s most experienced personal and business coaches. For the past 23 years his company ProCoach has helped self-employed entrepreneurs increase their business results while simultaneously enjoying an authentic, healthy and fulfilling life. In 1999 he was awarded the designation Master Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation. Now 64 years young, Andrew lives with his wife and 12-year old daughter in North Vancouver.