Breaking Free – October 2014 – You Don’t Need Time Management



You Don’t Need Time Management

You Can’t Manage Time

Have you ever been told “You need a time management course.“? Or maybe you’ve said to yourself, “I need to manage my time better.

My friend, Evan, was preparing to run his first marathon. He was saying how it has helped him stay focused on the things that really mattered to him. He said it was easier to say “No” to the things he didn’t really want to do. Why? Because he had an excuse. He could say, “Sorry, I can’t do that this weekend because I’m training for a marathon.” or “Sorry. I’m training for a marathon so I’m not going to eat that huge meal and drink all of that alcohol.” (Not that Evan does do those things regularly, of course.) The point is that his focus made it easy for him to avoid making extra commitments and “manage his time”.

I noticed the same thing when I played college basketball. (Ok, no laughing there. I know I’m only 5’4″ tall but I have a mean cross-over dribble… ok, had a mean cross-over. 😉 I always ‘achieved’ my worse grades in the fall semester when we didn’t have regularly scheduled practices. In-season, my grades were almost a point higher!! That doesn’t seem to make sense if you look at the extra work I had to do in-season. I had much less free time. However, when my focus was on basketball, it was so much easier for me to say “No. I’m not going to that frat party. I have a game tomorrow.” or “No. I can’t go to that concert. I have practice.” It was easier for me to “manage my time.”

However, were Evan and I really “managing our time?” Now this may simply sound like semantics but words are important. Words are the basis of our thoughts. Words are powerful. We think using words. They can build us up and tear us down.

If you continue to tell yourself that you need to manage time better… If you tell others that they need to manage time better… I believe you are asking for the impossible. And as we’ve talked about before, asking for the impossible leads to frustration, discouragement, disappointment, and yes, even disaster.

Working Longer & Harder

Studies have shown that we are working longer and harder than ever. In our fast-paced, rapidly changing world, “managing time” and increasing productivity has never been more critical and more challenging. You and those around you have been given the same amount of time as everyone else. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, JK Rowling, and Oprah Winfrey all have the same amount of time in their day that you do. The difference between their outcomes in productivity and yours is found in whatyou do with your time. We all have 24 hours per day and seven days per week. You can’t really manage time. Time is going to tick on no matter what you do. You can’t manage your time. You can only manage you and what you choose to do with your time.

So the truth is that the only thing you can manage is you. You control your behaviors, actions, and choices about how you spend your time… your 24 hours per day. You do this each moment of each day either by conscious decision or by habit.

Your Focus

In the end, Brendon Burchard, author of The Charge, says that we’re going to ask ourselves three questions in life:

  • Did I live?
  • Did I love?
  • Did I matter?

Look at your day-to-day.

  • Do your choices and habits align with your values?
  • Do you ever think about who you will become if you continue to allow your current habits to run your life?

If you continue to do all of the things you are doing on a daily basis, who will you become? Look around you. Is there someone who has already arrived at the destination to which you are headed?

My friend, you really can’t manage time. You can only manage you. To manage yourself better, you need to have a constant focus in your life… a lens or framework through which you can view your options for “doing” and make the best choice. You need to think better. Is there an easy way to do that? Well, yes!
It’s NOT by focusing on DOING;
It’s by focusing on BECOMING!!

We focus so much of our attention on DOING and we try to decide, should I do this or should I do that? There’s should all over the place. In most instances you either don’t have or don’t use a framework to make that decision. It’s based on how you feel at the time which usually changes like the tide.

So, here is a 3-step framework that you can focus on TODAY:

  1. Decide who you want to become. What are your defining attributes? What do you want folks at your memorial service to say about you?
    Do you want them to say “YOU were awesome with P&L statements.” “You can’t find anyone better than YOU at Gantt and PERT charts.” “Boy, YOU really knew how to get around Facebook.”
    Would you prefer that they say something like “I’m a better person today because of YOU. I’m so glad that YOU came into my life. YOU were so loving, compassionate, inspiring, generous, genuine, encouraging, _________, _________, _________ [you can fill in the blanks here].”
    If you want the latter, plan for it TODAY. Write down 6 of your defining attributes… your to-be list. Seriously, WRITE IT DOWN now. I’ll wait…

    Just six characteristics that you want others to associate with you… that you want to BECOME. (Don’t worry. These aren’t going to be carved in stone. You can change ’em up later. Just get a start right now.)

    1. ______________________________
    2. ______________________________
    3. ______________________________
    4. ______________________________
    5. ______________________________
    6. ______________________________
  2. Now take a look at your calendar. Look at how you spend your time. Does your next activity or task support you in gaining one or more of those 6 attributes? Yes? Then keep it on the list. No? Then get it off of the list.
  3. Work on prioritizing your to-do list based upon your to-be list and what generates the greatest net value for you and the world.
    a. Do the things that help you to become the person you want to become!!
    b. Stop doing the things that don’t.

If you use this framework to “manage your time” you will find more peace and more joy (and yes, less stress). You will generate more value than you ever imagined possible. You will be able to stand at the end of your life, look back, and say
“I lived. I loved. I made a difference in the world.”

Wouldn’t that be a great ending?

Remember there is no such thing as time management; there is only you-management. Start managing YOURSELF better today by taking a close look at how you are investing your time. Once you have that focus and framework through which to view your choices, you’ll see that it is ok to say “I’m sorry I can’t do that. I have practice tonight.” or “No. I can’t go. I’m in training.”

… training and practicing to become the person you truly and deeply want to become.

If you’d like to leave a comment, click here. I’d love to hear from you.


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 I would love to hear what you think about this edition of Breaking Free.  Please leave your comments below.