As a performance and leadership speaker and coach I often ask people why they are not doing the things they know they should do to make them more successful. The answers I receive have convinced me that it usually comes down to the way they choose to invest (yes, invest, not use) their time. One statement I hear more than any other is, “You’re right, I need to make time for that.”
You Vote With Your Time
For the last 25 years I have been conducting a worldwide survey of my audiences, and I can confirm with 100% certainty that there are 24 hours in a day no matter where you live. Someone living in Singapore does not have more time than someone living in Seattle. No matter where you live there are 24 hours in a day, so what we are really left with is not the need to “make” more time but to focus on how we choose to use the time we already have. You cast a vote for what is important in your life by how you invest your time. In fact, show me your checkbook and your calendar and I will tell you what your top priorities are.
My biggest learning in this struggle with how I use time is that I need to move away from reacting to what is happening around me and move toward living a more proactive or intentional life. Instead of getting up each day when I “have to”, I get up at the same time every day and then use the first hour to do intentional things like read, write, think, and exercise. Instead of watching TV until I fall asleep, go to bed at the same time every day and use the last hour to do intentional things like read, write, think and pray.
Another big learning for me is to… schedule my day so my day doesn’t schedule me. I have noticed that we are all busy (also part of my global survey), so the question I ask myself is, “busy doing what?” If I leave my schedule open for others to access, they always do and I end up doing my biggest priorities when I have time. Instead, I now schedule my biggest priorities and leave others to pick over what small amounts of time remain available.
"Either you run the day or the day runs you." - Jim Rohn