Take Back Your Most Powerful Resource: Time

Chuck Blankman, author & speaker, shared a story about a man who shared his view about life’s built in problem. According to Blankman, the man said:

“‘When you’re young, you’ve got all the time and all the energy to enjoy life, but no money. When you’re in your middle years, you’ve got all the money and all the energy, but no time. And when you’re retired, you’ve got all the money and all the time, but no energy.’

“He then went on to say something very profound. ‘The key to a good life is to figure out how to have all three at once – you’ll make a lot bigger impact in the world around you if you can figure that one out.'”

Time, money and energy. Those are the three key ingredients that make the world go round. Where my view point differs from the man in Blankman’s quote is that I feel you can only have ONE at any given moment. Sure you may save money by taking the train cross country, but it will take a bit more time and deplete your energy.

The amount of time in any given day is the same for all of us. It’s the one resource that can’t be increased, added on or supplemented with a loan. To that end, it is the most valuable one. I believe there is no such thing as managing time — but you can manage your choices and how you spend your time.

Reaction Vs. Proactive
How does your day start? A mad dash from the starting gate alarm? Do you check your email the first thing in the morning? Do you reach for the phone when it dings, vibrates or the indicator light flashes?

The modern overflow of business into family life into personal time works hard to keep you distracted. Reacting to outside stimuli can consume your time and energy. It transfers someone else’s agenda, demands onto your plate (or smartphone). Once you are able to acknowledge where you are mortgaging your time, you can work towards making choices to eliminate the time-suck funnel.

In this situation, you are reacting to the news feeds, pushes, emails, texts and emergencies of others. Wait to check your email until you are at work. Let the phone call go to voice mail, that’s why it was created. Reclaim your time. Be proactive about your day, what it is you want to do and where you want to go.

Busy is Just a Four Letter Word
Executive coach Bryan Dodge has a quote that I absolutely love:

“If you’re not in a hurry, don’t act like you are.” 

Ever run into a friend at the grocery store or a co-worker in the hall and respond to their inquiry about you with the “b” word? “Oh, just busy.”Today, that four letter word is more of a badge of honor than it should be. It’s easy to use the tick of the clock to hurry our footsteps to the next event, get together or “have to.”

Take a look at your calendar. For the next week, how many of the events are things you want to do? Do you block out family or friend time? Perhaps you should look at how your time is being divided and make some hard choices. Perhaps it is time to free up your schedule.

And, hopefully, the next time someone asks — you will be able to say that you are “loving life.”

Stop “Shoulding” and Start Acting
We all have dreams, aspirations and goals. Each of us has a passion or special gift only we can offer the world. Through self-reflection, curiousity and action are we able to recognize our gift. It is up to us to take the action to bring it into fruition. Often times, we get wrapped up in the “shoulds” of life:

  • I should clean up the yard
  • I should go to the PTA meeting
  • I should’ve repainted the garage

“Should” and “should have” statements come from a place of judgement. It is placing a personal opinion or perceived public opinion on what should or shouldn’t have occurred. The comments are nothing more than barriers to prevent you from taking action.

By stepping away from this judgement stance, putting them in perspective, you can reclaim how you spend your time. You don’t have to clean the house before sitting down at the computer to start your memoirs. There are things we all have to do as part of daily life — but judgement and guilt aren’t one of those. Value your passions and make time for them

Although cliche, over-used and contrite, I really think Ferris Bueller had it right when he said:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” 

How can you steal back some time, precious moments for yourself? Reclaim your time. It’s your most powerful resource.