I have never been very good at managing my time. I always thought that this is because I am the type of person that lives in the moment, and prefers to experience events in life as they come at me. (Believe me, I realize how foolish this sounds.)
I have often looked at successful people and thought “he/she must have had lots of time on their hands to be able to take action when they saw an opportunity for success, and they were fortunate enough to have the connections necessary to make that success possible.” I am, to say the least, embarrassed to admit this.
Only recently have I begun to understand that unless I take the initiative to control my time, I would never have the opportunity to have the success I want, or be able to meet the people that will help me make that success possible. By “experiencing events in life as they come at me”, I have been allowing those events to control my time. I experience the same time-sucking events day after day, year after year, and by not making a plan to mentally prepare myself to handle them (or dodge them altogether) I am essentially giving them complete control over my time.
By doing this I make myself a liar when I say, “I need more time!” I have time, its just in the hands of other people and circumstances. I’ve got to take it back!
I mentioned in an earlier post , that I have begun to take some mental steps towards gaining control over my time. They are as follows:
1.) Own the attitude that my time is just as important as anyone else’s.
This statement may strike people as selfish, but it is actually quite the opposite. I believe that each individual person has the responsibility to utilize every functional part of their being in the direction of whatever it is that they believe to be true in this world. For some people this could mean making a choice that simply staying alive is truly a good thing, even if it is all they can do at that point. For others it can be making a decision to put themselves on the front line of a conflict knowing that their life might be threatened by doing so.
These are two extremes, but they help me put things into perspective. They keep me focused on the fact that whether I am making a great impact on the world or just simply staying alive, every second that I possess is an important one. The reason I am important is because I am a unique individual who has the responsibility, just like every other individual, to utilize my time for the accomplishment of something greater than myself. Again, this may sound selfish, but we must now define what could be greater that me, or any other individual for that matter.
The answer, for me, is all individuals. Because I cannot affect every individual on the face of the earth right now in this moment, I must begin with the most obvious one, the one closest to my spectrum of influence…..me. I begin with myself because I cannot treat other people as if their time is important unless I believe that my time is equally important. Why should it not be? In addition, how can I expect other people to ever treat me as if my time is important if I do not believe or act like it is?
My time is important because I have specific capabilities as an individual that I have the responsibility to utilize for the good of every other individual that I have the power to affect. Progressing from me, to my closest friend/partner Sarah, to my son Axel, and continuing to every living individual. Step one accomplished.
2.) Conquer my time-devouring bad habits.
I’ve begun this step by deciding which bad habits are holding me back the most and list them in order. After listing them, I’ll begin to tackle them one at a time. Only when I am satisfied with the distance that I have put between myself and the previous bad habit, will I move on to tackle the next. I have chosen three for my list so I do not become overwhelmed by a huge list of depressing reminder that my life is one giant bad habit. (I wish this was a joke)
– Not getting an adequate amount of sleep. (My time is 100% more effectively utilized when I am well rested. This makes for double time.)
– Being indecisive and irresponsible with diet choices. (There are so many theories of what the proper diet is out there. While I am not hoping from one to another, I am busy eating the things that I am certain are not giving me the energy and brain power to become successful. I must decide, stick to it, and move on)
– Worrying about the things that I cannot immediately change about myself. (I spend a lot of time thinking about the fact that I have been trying to change certain aspects of my personality for a very long time. I need to be patient and grateful for the change that has come.)
3.) Share my opinions more frequently.
I waste a good deal of time by not being straight forward with people about my initial reaction to a subject or situation. This leads to a lot of beating around the bush, or doing things in a less efficient way than I think they could be done. My mindset here will be to fight for my opinion, and not step down unless my opponent has a reasonable and sensible explanation for theirs.
Focusing on these three things is simple, and doable. It will, however, be difficult…..of this I am sure. More importantly though, I know it will change my life in a drastic way.
What simple, fundamental steps can you take to start reclaiming authority over your time? Or have you already taken them and experienced success? Whatever the case, please leave a comment. I would love to hear if someone has had a similar experience with building a foundation to take control of their time.