Time management – that’s like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall. We are trying to harness something we can’t touch of feel – only experience and see the results. We have a gazillion time saving devices. Just think for a moment of all the ‘things’ in your life now (microwave, speed dialing on your phone, high speed internet connections, TVs that can be programmed to watch 2 shows at once, etc.), all of which are designed to save time. And for those moment that are ‘saved’, well, saved for what? We are a hurried, frantic society with a pace that is on wide open from the moment our feet hit the floor.

A recent search on Google for “time management” yielded 700,000,000 hits! If you visit Amazon.com and search books on time management, there were more than 7,600 books on the topic. We are constantly look for THE system, key or process to manage that thing we can only experience. At some point in your life you have probably longed for a 36 hour day. Sometimes the “busy-ness” of our lives consumes our time. What if we switched our thinking from managing time to three building blocks that define our time?

Value Management

Look at a person’s calendar and checkbook and you’ll get a powerful snapshot of what they value. It’s a statement of what we think is important, what we value. That’s what we consider worthwhile or desirable. Take a moment (you know one you have saved!) and jot down what you value most in life. Jot down your top 5 values. Now, with the same paper, look at your calendar and think about the normal course of your life. Jot down the top 5 things that capture your time. How do the lists compare? If you are like most people there is a huge incongruence here. What they say they value and where their time is spent does not truly reflect their heart. Let’s start here. What do your truly value? In what ways does your life reflect those values? What changes are you willing to make to close the gap of incongruence?

Priority Management

What gets priority in your life? Typically, what you value. Priorities reflect what’s of greatest importance to us. Is there still a gap between priorities and our values? If you focus on what is truly of value to you (not your neighbor, co-worker, cultural/societal expectation) then it becomes easier to prioritize. If we focus on what we value, then prioritizing is easier. That change in focus will provide more options, more choices. Having choices is the “power, right, or liberty to choose, options.” We are faced with a multitude of choices in a day. How we make the choice is a statement of who we are based on our personality, environment, culture, preferences, comfort zones, etc. Your boss comes in your office and says “I need you in a meeting now” doesn’t seem to offer you many options. You value your job (and what that allows you to do in your life) so of course, you will respond a certain way – even if it is not preferable. Sometimes we can make a choice about which way we drive to work. That may be influenced by our mood, where we may want to stop off along the way, how quickly we need to get somewhere, etc. This is just one way to illustrate the number of choices we make in a day. But if we were to think about how those choices influences our time, well, hmm, why do I spend my time that way? What does that choice reflect about me, my values, and my legacy?

Decision Management

Did you know that not making a choice or decision is still a decision? After reading this article and you don’t make any changes in your life – you are making a decision – that the “same old” is preferable. You are actively deciding what you want your life and legacy to be like every day! To make a decision is to reach a conclusion, reflecting that you’ve made up your mind. Are those conclusions/decisions what you want your life to reflect? What you wear each day may not be that big of a decision, but how your time is spent can have huge ramifications. Are your decisions about time based on your values and priorities? What decision about time could you make today that would bring about a shift in your view of time management?

There are a plethora of time saving devices. The process, system or strategy is not THE answer – it’s just the conduit. The key to the success system is YOUR
answers and the actions you choose to take. By making an opportunity to review and evaluate our values, priorities, and the power of decisions we can then make choices that manage our time effectively.

Author's Bio: 

Jan Hinton is a coach, presenter, and humorist. She has been called the perfect blend of Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres. She is wildly passion about assisting individuals, teams, and business that are tired of the same old same old. She provides a variety of resources to help you stand out from the crowd at her website, www.stonesoupcoaching.com.