You either master time or it masters you - it comes down to that. Fortunately, you do have the upper-hand for the first move is yours. But if you surrender this initiative much more than time is lost. What exactly is time? Dictionaries define it as `every moment there ever has or ever will be,` but that doesn't really help us understand that elusive object that seems to slip out of our grasp each time we think we have it under control. Many insist that `time is money.` Actually, time is more than money: time is life! It's totally perishable! It's irreversible! It's irreplaceable! We can't store time; we can't borrow it; we can't lengthen it; we can't even work hard to earn more. About the only thing left for us to do with time is invest it wisely and hope to receive a high return on our investment. When we waste time, not only are we wasting money, but we're also, quite literally, wasting our lives. Every day we're alive we're given a new, fresh 24-hour supply of time to do with as we wish. No one rates a larger time gift than anyone else for any given day; everyone is allocated precisely 86,400 seconds in that day. Now that puts equality into perspective! We become the sovereign of that precious gift, and we alone determine who and what will receive either a token donation or a considerable grant. To determine the dollar value of your time, divide your average yearly earnings by the average productive hours you work each week. You may be surprised to see that your work time is worth $30, $40, $50 or even more per hour. If your professional time is worth this much, where you apply it to get the highest possible return becomes a weighty question indeed. Since we're our own judge and jury, we're the only ones who can answer this question truthfully. This introspection is what works for us. For example, when asked by `the crew` to join them for coffee at the restaurant next door, one successful agent reached into his pocket and handed a $5 dollar bill to a member of the group. `I won't join you,` the agent said, `but I'd like to buy coffee and thank you for helping me find an extra twenty dollars today.` When asked how they helped him find that extra money, the agent replied, `My time is worth fifty dollars an hour to me. I would be wasting a half-hour of it if I went for coffee. The money I just invested has added at least twenty dollars to my paycheck because I'll use the time to build my listing inventory.` This story provides an excellent example of a man who knows the value of his time and thinks carefully about where he will allocate it. What effective time management is all about is not working harder, but working smarter and enjoying life more. It's a simple matter of investing our precious time in areas that will give us the highest possible return of things we want: more money, more time with the family, more time to spend on ourselves, and so forth. Whatever our priorities may be, we are the only ones who can determine how to spend our time.

Who's In Control?

Are you in control of your life, or are events in control of you? Controlling your time and your life starts by reaching into the future and bringing it into the present where you can manage it better by planning it better. Planning is what allows people to get more done with better results in less time. How many times have we all heard (and said), `I'm just too busy and I can't find the time to plan.` Or, `Whenever I plan anything, there always seems to be a crisis or something that comes along and wipes out my plans.` Conclusive studies by time management effectiveness experts have proved the direct relationship between the amounts of planning time and execution time. As planning time increased, execution time decreased; conversely, if planning time decreased, then execution time increased. In-depth planning covers the `what- ifs.` Planning is what changes firefighting into fire prevention. Having events last twice as long as they should because of poor planning is a bitter pill to swallow. We may sugarcoat it by `chalking it up to experience,` but once we start tasting the sweetness of effective planning, we are less likely to accept anything else. When you schedule your time, you control you life! Effective time management is a habit and a discipline, and we all know how difficult it is to change or add habits and disciplines. We can decide to either navigate a specific course or drift about aimlessly. If we're in control and have all the proper monitoring devices, we can avoid the storms or at least ride them out until we reach our destination quickly and safely. If we're not in control, we could drown on our way to nowhere. All planning starts with two questions: Where am I now? And where am I going?

Where Am I Now?

Analyzing how you are spending your time will give you immense insight into making some decisions on where you may want to spend it. Try keeping a log of everything you do for a `typical week.` Record daily, and honestly, all the time spent to the nearest quarter-hour, and then analyze the results. You may be shocked to find out where your time really goes. This exercise will help you locate unproductive time and redirect it to productive endeavors. One hour a day saved is equivalent to two full months in the course of a year. Think of it! You could have a 14-month year! Wouldn't two extra months each year help you accomplish more and enjoy life to a greater extent?

Where Am I Going

The absolute key to success, achievement, and motivation is goal setting. It's difficult to set goals because no one has ever really shown us how to do it or explained why we should do it, and because of the natural fear of failing. No one can determine your goals, or course, but effective time management enables you to focus on and execute the most important tasks associated with these goals. If you can't pre-determine where the various aspects of your life are headed, floundering and frustration are inevitable. And remember, quitting is final! The more disciplined we are in allocating time for daily events, the easier it will be to establish priorities.
  • To get the highest possible return on your tine investment, make up a `To Do` list every day. Rank the items by their order of importance - urgent, routine, low priority - and then allocate the time to do everything. Next, block out in your planning book or on your calendar the time needed to accomplish each particular activity. By spending this daily time in planning, you can locate the lower priority items, move them out of your field of concentration, and focus on those things that will help you reach your goals. Try to be objective and flexible when prioritizing. Don't be afraid to reprioritize, especially within your importance groupings, but avoid the temptation to try to do everything in one day.
  • Try to find quiet time to plan. To avoid interruptions, it's a good idea to do your planning at night because that day is fresh in your mind and you know what priorities should be set for the next day; you will awake refreshed, with a clear mind, and have a direction already carved out for you.

Acquiring `Found` Time

Finding time requires introspection and honesty concerning personal habits that might be causing an inner utilization of time: over-committing yourself, being afraid to say `no,` overtiring yourself by feeding on negative stress or ignoring your physical well being, wallowing in disorganization, and being indecisive. And once you've `found` time, use it effectively by planning for the really important events you wish to take place in your life; reach out into the future and bring it into the present where you can control it and do something about it now. Remember, you'll never have this moment again. 25 Time Management Objectives
  1. Plan every day in writing.
  2. Increase preparation time to assure the job is done right the first time.
  3. Do difficult tasks first to alleviate procrastination.
  4. Be on time for all appointments and events.
  5. Listen to motivational tapes while getting ready for work and driving.
  6. Read material that's vital to your field daily.
  7. Handle each piece of paper once.
  8. Reduce non-vital telephone usage.
  9. Reduce chitchat during work hours.
  10. Eat well, get enough rest, and exercise.
  11. Work on short-, medium-, and long-range goals every day.
  12. Avoid time-wasting meetings; establish an agenda, stick to it, and control duration.
  13. Keep your work area neat.
  14. Convert drawers to `in` and `out: baskets to avoid distractions and stress.
  15. Keep a list of `accomplishments.`
  16. Use 15-30 minutes of quiet time daily for planning.
  17. Avoid `prime time` lines at banks and supermarkets.
  18. Learn to say `no` to anything that doesn't give you the highest return for your time investment.
  19. Avoid wasting time, but use it constructively to read, plan, write, and so forth.
  20. Don't try to change the unchangeable.
  21. Limit television watching.
  22. Enjoy what you're doing while you're doing it.
  23. Relax and do nothing as a personal reward for accomplishing a goal.
  24. Do whatever you decide is the most productive thing possible at every given moment.
  25. Do it now! Be persistent! Don't give up! Be relentless! See your objective through to the end! Never quit!

The Planning Payback

The payback you receive from taking a few minutes each day to schedule your time and plan your life is considerable. To mention just a few:
  • Better productivity
  • Better organization
  • Identification of high return activities
  • Better memory
  • Focused concentration
  • Better decisions
  • Commitment to goals and aspirations
  • Better working relationships through organization
Copyright © 1987, Vic Marcus • 508.435.0220 • Toll-Free 866.231.0100
© 2008 Vortex Advisory Group, All Rights Reserved.