Setting Yourself Up for Success: Manage Your Time

Ah … time. Einstein said, “All time is now.” And so it is. Today we are each given the gift of twenty-four hours to spend as we will. We can spend it doing things that enrich our lives and the lives of those around us, or we can fritter it away in meaningless pursuits.

Making a conscious decision on how you will spend your time involves:

  • Developing a clear understanding of how you currently spend your time
  • Comparing how you spend your time to your personal and professional goals
  • Deciding if you need to make adjusts to how you currently spend your time
  • Determining whether you’re will to change how you currently spend your time
  • Making the changes

In the companion course to $1,000 Start-Ups, students are advised to do this incrementally. After developing their SMART goals they’re asked to review those goals every morning as they go over their schedule for the day. Then they’re assigned to record how they spent their time in their journal each day.

At the end of each day they review how they spent their time against their goals, to celebrate what they accomplished, and make their plan for the next day.

This simple practice, if followed, even for a week, helps not only to help you spend your time more consciously, it helps you to balance your life. We’ve all heard it said that no one on their death bed ever said, “I wish I’d spent more time at work.”   The implication is that most of us don’t spend enough time with our families or with the people we care about.

However, spending time with those people when your mind is full of “what you should be doing” or while you’re distracted because you’re concerned about how you’re going to support yourself or your family is not necessarily the right thing to do. Planning the time you’ll spend on you other activities so the time you spend with people who are important to you is actually spent with them allows you to be present in those moments.

More often than not when I start to feel stressed because I’m wondering “how I’ll get it all done” or guilty because “I’m spending too much time working and not enough time with the people who are important to me”, or “money’s coming in faster than it’s going out”, I repeat the process of comparing how I’m spending my time against my goals and I find that I’m:

  • Spending time in meaningless activities such as: watching drivel on television, attending an obligatory business or social function where I derive no pleasure or add no value, or surfing the web.
  • Spending time churning, such as: I could do this, no I could do that, no I should do this first.
  • Spending time doing one thing while I’m thinking about another.

Mr. Einstein was right, “All time IS now.” Make today count.

Published by Leah Ward-Lee

Leah Ward-Lee, the author of "$1,000 Start-Ups", is a serial micro-entrepreneur. She opened her first business at ten after lobbying for and receiving a shoe shine kit for Christmas. She pulled her wagon through the neighborhood, going door-to-door, offering to shine her neighbor’s shoes for twenty-five cents a pair. Once her wagon was full, she took the shoes home and polished them. Unfortunately that business was short-lived. She hadn’t tagged the shoes and couldn’t remember whose shoes were whose, so her dad went with her to retrace the route until every pair was returned. Since then she’s had businesses developing and teaching college courses, instructing aerobic classes, owning half a plane that was rented to a flight and maintenance school, and renting homes. She’s also owned a consignment store, a gift shop, a gift basket business, a consulting firm, hosted The Executive Toolbox (a weekly radio show), and a publishing company. She also spent twenty years in the US Army, served as the Chief Information and Technical Officer for two major insurance companies, and has a second career as a management consultant. Leah resides in Dallas, TX and on Amelia Island with Sammy and Goliath, her two rescue dogs.


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