Ask any entrepreneur or business owner what one of their biggest struggles is, and no doubt it will have something to do with TIME…
- Not enough time to get everything done
- Things taking too much time to complete
- A feeling of running out of time when things haven't gone to plan!
This 'too little time' phenomenon sees endless blogs, books, podcasts and courses teaching time management. It's a lucrative industry, no doubt!
There's soo many people searching for the answer to 'more time'…
But somewhere along the line, something was missed. Skipped over…
We all nod our heads in unison through the power of collective agreement about how important time management is.
But there is, unfortunately, a flaw in our thinking…
But before we get to that, let's first ask the age-old question – what is time?
Google this question, and you'll find many answers to what is quite a tricky question! But before we go down the rabbit hole of physics and time-space theory… good old Wikipedia will suffice for today:
"Time is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in an apparently irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the future. It is a component quantity of various measurements used to sequence events, to compare the duration of events or the intervals between them, and to quantify rates of change of quantities in material reality or in the conscious experience. "
Bit of a mouthful, right!?
Here are the three key things to take from this:
1. Time doesn't stop
2. It allows us to order existence and events from past, present and future
3. Time is a measure of change
Now, this is all well and good until you ask the question – is time something you can actually manage?
Because as the definition shows, time isn't a 'THING'.
You can't touch it. Hold it. Tie a rope around it and tell it to speed up or slow down, or correct course! Management means to be in charge of something and to control it.
Unfortunately, this is the fundamental flaw when it comes to using the phrase' time management'…
Because as it turns out – you can't actually manage time!
And the more people propose that you can, the more it creates feelings of guilt, overwhelm, and frustration in people out there IN time building and growing businesses.
You can only ever manage YOURSELF in time.
Believing you can manage time leads to constantly feeling you've failed or that you're not 'good enough' because you're not 'managing your time' correctly and ticking that 'to do' list off fast enough!
Here's where I believe the discussion on Time Management needs to head, especially for business.
When you let go of the concept of time management and instead focus on self-management, things can really start to change for the better. But it does, of course, require the ability to increase your self-awareness so you can 'see' what behaviours or habits you need to change, evolve, or let go of to manage yourself better IN time.
Something I see many people struggle with is unrealistic time expectations. Scheduling and lists 'don't work' only creates endless stress and anxiety because they believe they should always do things FAST. And if they're not completed in the allocated time, their cortisol goes through the roof!
How can you become better at managing realistic time expectations?
Surround yourself with others already achieving what you want – and ask them how they do it, how they learned a new skill. How long it takes them to complete the task? You may be surprised that all that extra pressure you've put on yourself is entirely unnecessary!
2. Impact Of Tasks
You probably already know about listing tasks in order of urgency and priority. But what most will miss is a third aspect that is vital to consider when it comes to exceptional achievement.
And that's IMPACT.
The impact or significance of each thing on your list compared to your end goal. For entrepreneurs, that could be financial freedom or creating generational wealth. For business owners that could be winning awards or expanding into new areas. Whatever that big goal is, it's super important that you assess everything on your list for its significance to this outcome. And put those tasks to the top of the list that has the MOST impact on making that dream happen!
Ranking by impact and significance can give you the power to say NO things on your list leading you in the wrong direction! Helping you stay focused and more successful in the long run.
Once you know what you need to manage – yourself.
And once you know your most significant tasks – to ensure you get what you want!
It then becomes a commitment to focus on these two things.
Something that is talked a lot about in marketing and business is consistency. Consistency in your message. Consistency in content creation. Consistency in showing up and giving value.
It's crucial to realise committing to being consistent is self-management. Not time management.
Time is going to pass, no matter what you do…
It's all about managing yourself (or your 'selves', as Hal & Sidra Stone would say) in time.
More about managing your 'selves' in a future article…
Till then, if you catch yourself using the phrase ' time management,' remember – there's more to it than making a list or schedule and then 'failing' to stick to it when it comes to Exceptional Achievement!
Those who are genuinely successful understand the profit-power of self-management within time.