April 30, 2014

Stop Focusing on Time and Start Focusing on Choices

How often have you thought, “I don’t have enough time!” Where does the time go? We start the year with 365 days and each day we are given 24 hours. Amazing to think we get the same number of hours in a day the greatest achievers in all of history received. How did they accomplish so much?

They utilized a time management tip that is essential to successful living.

A year ago I thought I had received the gift of more time. I thought I gained so much time now that I no longer had to travel, drive to an office, attend meetings or participate in conference calls. The reality is each day has only 24 hours and new activities and commitments quickly fill in the gaps.

How much time do you have to accomplish your personal dreams and goals in a year? A mere 816 hours!

On average you have the equivalent of 34 days to invest in your most important roles, dreams and goals based on a recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Where do we spend our time? Days/Year Hours/Day
Personal Care (Sleeping, Eating & Drinking) 140 9.21
Household Activities (Housework/Food Prep/Cleanup/Lawn & Garden Care/Shopping/Personal care services/Caring for household members) 24 1.59
Working (less 19 days for vacations & holidays - 246 days) 84 8.22
Commuting & Driving 10 1.01
Leisure (TV/Internet/Social Media/Recreation) 73 4.85
Margin - Personal Aspiration Time 34

It may be as little as 11 days or 264 hours if you use the A.C. Nielsen survey that pins television viewing at 5.42 hours/day and another hour for internet usage. And if you are highly invested in your job/career, you will invest even more than 84 days a year.

“Lost one twenty four hour, twenty four caret golden day. Each hour studded with 60 diamond minutes, each minute studded with 60 ruby seconds. But don’t bother to look for it it is lost forever. That wonderful golden day I lost today.”  

— Horace Mann

How do you maximize the time you have to pursue your most important roles, goals, and dreams?

The Best Time Management Tip You Will Ever Receive

Frequently ask yourself this question,

“Is what I am doing right now contributing to my most important roles, dreams and goals?

Ask this questions frequently and you’ll find ways to increase your personal aspiration time. You’ll increase the time you spend with the most important people in your life and invest your time in pursuing your most important dreams and goals. Time is the one resource that is completely agnostic. The great British Statesman, John Lubbock said,

“In truth, people can generally make time for what they choose to do; it is not really the time but the will that is wanting.”

Great accomplishments are a reflection of choosing to spend our time on our most important roles, dreams and goals. The challenge is not how to manage your time but how you manage what is important. It is not genius but a reflection of personal resolve and character. Talent is rather common but the discipline to choose to spend time on highly valued activities and behaviors is rare.

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great and How the Mighty Fail, is one of the foremost business researchers in the world today. Collins research identified conclusively what is required for business success and sustained performance.

“Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.”  

Will what you are doing next contribute to your most important roles, dreams and goals?

Great achievements, building strong relationships, and making significant community impact is not a function of time, it is a function of choice. Choose well and start writing a great story, one day at a time.

What is your best time management tip?

2 comments on “Stop Focusing on Time and Start Focusing on Choices”

  1. Identify the time of the day where you are typically at your best and prioritize your most mentally demanding activities for the times when you are typically the most sharp

    1. Great advice Mike. I agree and have found through the years my most productive and creative time is late afternoon and into the evening. I know the early bird catches the worm but I would prefer to be catching a nap.

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