Do you hear people complain about being busy as much as I do? Apparently everyone has issues with it! As a business coach 90% of my clients ask for my help with their time management skills. But what is time management? Unless you can slow down reality, you can’t manage time. (and if you can I hope you are making millions!)
We all have the same amount of time, so we can only manage the choices we make. But we need to make a massive amount of choices. We are bound to make mistakes. Here are the two problems I see:
We Do Not Like the Choices We Make.
Everything in life has a choice. You may say, “Paying my insurance is not a choice,” but it totally is. We choose to pay our bills because we need the services more than the money. We choose to work at a job we don’t like because we want the income, and everything the income provides.
Here are a few tools I use that help you determine what choices work for you and what doesn’t.
I like to use the tool called the Absolute Yes by Cheryl Richardson. Whenever you are confronted with a choice ask yourself, “Is this an absolute YES?”
This method helps you determine actions that you don’t want to do before they go on your schedule. For example when you receive an invitation to a wedding ask yourself “Is this an absolute YES?” Do you really want to go to the wedding, or do you think you should go?
Even if your answer is no, it doesn’t mean you won’t go. It’s asking the question that helps. It makes you more aware of the events that you want to participate in. You consciously choose.
This clears the slate. There is no regret later because the choice had intention.
I had a personal coaching client that used this technique. She was a talented, smart woman in the marketing field. She was amazed at the impact it made. She said, “I realized I should never be controlled by my situations, but rather working toward creating the situations I want.”
We also cloud our choices with the things we should be doing. I should volunteer because that’s what a good person does. I should be successful. I should exercise. Don’t should on yourself.
When we use the word should, it devalues our choices. If you think, “I should be making more money right now,” It devalues where you are right now, and the process you are going through.
If you only do what you should be doing instead of what you want to be doing, you will not like your choices. The reason? They are not your choices, they come from outside sources. The word should implies that someone else thinks the choice is right. Our to do lists are full of shoulds.
The best way to combat choices that are not your own is to set your priorities. Once you determine what you want to do, and put them first, the things you should do lessen.
We Do Not Know What To Choose.
If you ask yourself “Is this an absolute YES?” and do not know the answer, then you need to take time to figure out what you do want.
In Alice in Wonderland, Alice needed to choose a path. She asked the Cheshire Cat which direction to choose.
The cat asked where she was trying to go, but Alice replied, “Anywhere, as long as I go somewhere.” The cat replied, “If you don’t care where you’re going, it doesn’t make a difference which path you take.”
If you do not know your priorities and what you want to enjoy in life, then you end up with a life you do not enjoy. It’s a not a life that you control, it’s a life that controls you.
Take some time today to figure out what is truly important to you. Freedom? Experience? Giving value to the world? Write it down. Use that to help you determine what to put on your schedule. Once you start to shape your actions based on those priorities, you will be amazed at the enjoyment you receive from what you do. Every action matters.
You will no longer be doing something because you should do them, you will be doing things because they are important to you.
Time management is not something we can do, but choice management is. If we can consciously make our choices, we can take control over our busy schedules. Once we have control over our schedules, we gain control over our destination.
You only have one life, so make the best choices you can.
How do you feel about your choices? How do you handle the moment when you make a decision?