A majority of the people that I work with struggle trying to manage their time strategically. Read to learn how to better manage your time.
One evening, I received a phone call from Joe Connolly with the Wall Street Journal and WCBS Radio. He told me he had just finished reading an article in the Wall Street Journal about me and my approach to prospecting and cold calling, claiming it was very interesting stuff. He continued to invite me to the Small Business Breakfast and asked if I would be willing to sit on their panel of experts. I graciously accepted. When he told me the details of the conference, I told him I would check my availability and let him know if I could come or not. Luckily, I was free on the day of the conference and I told Joe I would be able to come.
The next time Joe and I spoke was the day of the event. The panelists took their position and Joe began the job of moderating and facilitating. He introduced the panelists. When it came to me, he added, “After speaking with Keith, I knew he was the real deal, especially when I asked him if he could commit to the date. Instead of saying, ‘Yes’ on the spot which, according to Keith can mean you’re a ‘Yes-aholic’ he responded with, ‘Thanks Joe, let me check my schedule and I’ll call you back.’ So, not only did he write the book on time management, here’s a guy who practices what he preaches.”
A question came my way. It was on how to best manage your time. “Hi Keith,” the gentleman in the audience began. “What strategies would you suggest to better manage your time?”
My first response was to say this, “Stop trying to manage something that you cannot manage in the first place.”
Blank stares. “Let me explain,” I said. “But first, let me tee it up with a question I have for all of you. How many of you are familiar with the expression, time is money?”
About everyone raise their hand.
Then I asked, “By a show of hands, how many of you manage your money in some way? Whether you use a stock broker, financial advisor, accountant, bank or just do it yourself, raise your hand if you manage your money in some way.”
A few seconds later, several hundred people raised their hand; a good 90% of the audience.
Finally the point blank coaching question: “How many of you manage your time as diligently as you manage your money? In other words, raise your hand if you have a consistent, weekly routine that you follow from the time you wake up in the morning up until the time you end your day, that contains the specific, measurable activities and tasks you engage in that move you closer to your goals, while keeping your life in a happy balance?”
A few seconds later, I thought I might have to repeat the question. Not a hand went up. I wasn’t surprised. After all, it was my clients who inspired me to write a book on time management in the first place.
In a room filled with highly successful professionals, there wasn’t one person in the room who could confidently raise their hand and say, “Yes! I have that!” And yet these people were still successful.
“Is that some irony,” I continued after my question. “Here we are, on the surface believing that time is money, yet when it comes down to it, we’re not managing our time and ourselves the way we manage our money. We don’t give our time the same respect, diligence and planning it deserves the way we do money.”
“And the kicker is, once you invest your time, you don’t get it back. You can’t double it, invest it or save it for a rainy day or slow it down. That’s why it’s important to shift the focus from trying to manage your ‘time’ to managing what you can control, which is yourself and the actions you take each day. You can control where you invest your time, rather than other people or situations doing it for you.
The foundation to living your potential is to first upgrade your relationship with time so that time becomes your ally not your adversary or something you try to beat out each day. Then you can begin the process of developing a routine.”
The universal law certainly applies; we resist what we need to learn the most.
Photo credit: Moyan Brenn