I wanted to write to you about one of the most valuable life lessons I learned from a colleague named John. He probably doesn’t know how much this has transformed my work and personal life, but the message he gave me was powerful. I created a paradigm shift which made me change the way I made choices and how I set priorities.
You should know that there is no such thing as time management. You will hear a lot about time management as you grow up, mostly from teachers, employers, business partners, and especially ‘self-help’ books. You won’t hear about it from me however. The reason why is because in order to manage something, you must be able to influence or control it. You can’t do this with time and there is nothing you can do to influence it to change. No matter how business savvy or shrewd you are, you’ll never gain control over it because time is always consistent, it never changes.
Think about this thought for just a moment. There will always and only be 24 hours in a day. The second hand and the minute hand will make the same rotations each and every hour. Each hour will always have 60 minutes and each minute is guaranteed to always have 60 seconds. It never changes and no matter what you do, time will always remain the same. How can you manage something that never changes? The answer is simple. You can’t.
What you can do is spend your time on personal or self management. You can influence the choices and decisions you make on how you spend your minute, hour, day, or week. Manage your choices and decisions, not time. Spend your energy and your thoughts on how to better manage yourself, not the clock.
Here are 5 things I do to help with my Personal Management. I’m constantly working on these, perhaps you might find them helpful.
1) Keep ONE calendar.
You will be enticed by a lot of neat looking calendars and an app for this and an app for that. I’m sure they are all wonderful, but as you add important people and responsibilities into your life, you’ll need to fit more and more into your schedule. Keeping your commitments in one place solves the issues of duplication and avoids misunderstanding. Here is a key tip: you can set up email reminders for yourself so that while you are using a calender (via Google perhaps), you can make it so that you can view your one calendar via different modes of technology: phone, smartbook, or Ipad and share that one calendar (or specific events) with whomever you choose.
2) Schedule in most everything.
This is obvious for things like school and work, however this is most important for the time you are keeping for family and personal time. Scheduling blocks of time will come natural for work. It is not so common to make personal priorities blocked out. This tip is especially important when it comes to fitting in time just for you…which may be (and should be) doing absolutely nothing at times. If you don’t block this out, something will fill it and then you’ll be wondering why you feel pulled in so many directions. Priorities are important, you’ll make them based on your value judgement most times. Put the big rocks in first. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Here is a little video to help explain: Big Rocks First
3) Avoid procrastination at all cost.
Procrastination masquerades in a million disguises. Among the more common of these are: “One more day won’t make a big difference; I’ll just put that off until tomorrow.””It won’t matter if we’re a few minutes late.” (ahem…you’ve never heard me say that have you?!) “I can’t start on this paper until I know just how I want the first paragraph written.” “I work best under pressure.” “I’ll watch just 15 more minutes of TV.” Don’t fool yourself, these just add to the stress by prolonging what needs done. Just Eat That Frog! Don’t know what I mean? Here is a little video to help explain: Eat that Frog!
4) Remember that interruptions are wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing.
I learned this year that “No” is a complete sentence. If you become a mother or wife, supervisor, philanthropic activist, ministry leader, community volunteer, or let’s just say you have a pulse, you will find yourself being asked to do a hundred things. Sometimes in the same day. You will save yourself a lot of aggravation if you learn to say ‘No’ (or ‘No, but thank you for asking’), once your priorities are set. Turning down an invitation doesn’t mean you’ll never be asked to do something again, or even that you are letting someone down. Weigh the consequences. Making a decision based on what you know is best for you at the time, leads to greater respect from your family, friends and colleagues.
5) Learn to do the back bend.
Heraclitus a 500BC greek philosopher once stated that, ‘The only constant is change.” Many, many years later Isaac Asimov added, “The only constant is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.” Girls, if you are so rigid in your schedule that your world collapses if there is any adjustment to it, you defeat the whole purpose of a calendar to begin with. It’s purpose it to aide you in your personal management, which ultimately is to provide you with the flexibility to fit in what matters most to you. Respect time enough to keep your calendar commitments, yet be flexible enough to know change will inevitably move things around.
Here are just a couple of my favorite things said about time:
“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” John Rohn
“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” Harvey MacKay
ECCLESIASTES 3: 1-8 A TIME FOR EVERYTHING
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Just in case I’m not here tomorrow, know that eternity couldn’t have been long enough for me to spend with you. I am most grateful for the moments I am blessed to spend with my family and I am so very proud of who you girls are becoming. xoxo, Mom