If You Can Manage Your Life, Why Is “Time” Such a Headache?

Poor time; always taking the rap for your frustrations and disappointments at the end of the day. So you try to poke and pull at it with time management tricks that basically say 'Work faster! Re-arrange your day! Get more done! ' Is this what time management 'has felt like to you? This has never…

Poor time; always taking the rap for your frustrations and disappointments at the end of the day. So you try to poke and pull at it with time management tricks that basically say 'Work faster! Re-arrange your day! Get more done! '

Is this what time management 'has felt like to you? This has never made much sense to me; why give control of your time to a clock that races you to the end of every over-stuffed day? The clock always wins, does not it?

Time management is a myth and a diversion; I know you know what really needs management for this relationship to work out in your favor. Self-management will get the job done if you focus on priorities and these 3 options: either dump, delay, or delegate all else. Once you've allocated properly to those categories, the 4th choice is 'do'. In its purest form, it would consist of those activities that advance your big goals in an efficient, bang-for-the-buck way (and sometimes, a meandering way, but you get the point: forward!)

Yet, your business is filled with minefields: other people's emergencies, one-time-only 'opportunities', shiny objects, unexpected ideas – all these show up every day and can easily shred your schedule, turning your focus away from the main event: what you'd decided was the priority for the day; the 'MUST get done' activity. This is a form of 'business balance', like 'life balance'. The real success with that concept is not to give equal amounts of attention to each facet of life (health, finances, love, family, friends, spiritual pursuits, personal development, fun, etc.) Balance comes from giving each its due amount; that level of attention that avoids a sense of regret or stress that “I'm not handling X well.”

When you sacrifice any one element of your typical week – business / job, health, finance, love, friends, good health, family, spirit, etc. – your life is compromised and you feel it in the form of stress. That shows up all kinds of ways: headaches, stomach ache, sleepless nights, anxiety. You feel the imbalance keenly and will typically work towards finding a solution: attend to the ignored part of your life, reduce your focus elsewhere.

Correct the imbalance and, not only does the source of anxiety lessen, you discover an increased satisfaction from the other life wheel wedges that were ignored. The same can be true in your business: while you're focused on so many and diverse activities in your business that are NOT among those you bought to advance, you're actually reducing your ability to be effective with any of them. Your thought process – do you need to be creative now? Analytical? Nurturing? Visionary? – is spinning from one to another so that no one gets your full attention. The result? Trying to handle more means each activity is done with less focus and care.

Ironic, no? You've waved away from what was most important to you and you're less productive with the alternate choices. There really is a better way; really:

– Learn to say 'no to others' needs and 'yes' more often to your own.

– Help your team learn to solve their problems and take relevant action.

– Be aware of your priorities at all time and honor them.

– Do not assume an 'expert' has expertise in your life and business; you're probably the true 'expert' there.

– Periodically assess your actions and measure: are they advancing your priorities or are they distracting you? Have your priorities changed?

– Learn the strength and smarts in asking for help; build this muscle daily!

Let the poor clock do its job and you do yours; it will become your ally and no longer the hated thief of time!