My recent health concerns have caused me to rethink my humanity. For the longest time I thought I could work through almost anything. I lived for deadlines. I was confident that I could get anything done in the amount of time that was allotted no matter what.
Then it happened. My health failed. I have a legitimate physical concern, but I had a habitual overload issue as well.
I used to (privately) laugh at people who would whine about time management at my seminars. I was sure they just didn’t know how to say no and even worse couldn’t tell themselves to go. I know that’s a rather arrogant place to be.
Everything I have ever seen about time management took more time than it saved and always resulted in a frustrated user. So adding another tool to the toolkit wasn’t anything I was going to be open to doing.
But the last three years have been a struggle. I started noticing I was slowing down. The long hours of focus were no longer as easy as they once were. I knew that time would come, but could it come when I didn’t have so much I wanted to accomplish?
I’ve never been a fan of planning tools (insert time management tools). I have developed a system that works very well for me. A system that I described for a friend in this audio file:
A system that will serve you well to practice yourself. I’ve done the same thing over the span of three very different careers.
However, the older I got, I found that I needed more. I didn’t need a planner. I didn’t need a time management system. I didn’t need an app. I needed a paradigm shift.
The most powerful thing you have is what goes on inside your head. Once I get that figured out the process becomes simple and becomes reproducible.
I’ve learned that you start with the things you tell yourself. No body is a greater influence on my life than me. What I tell me matters. If I can get me right then everything else will fall inline.
I realized I was looking at time management from the wrong perspective. Yes, I could add another hour to my day. I would just start when everyone else was still asleep. That had always been my solution. I could function very well on a few hours of sleep. That allowed me to get more done than most. I was winning at the time game. At least I was…
I can’t do that anymore. Now I have to adjust my schedule and my workload around my health. That doesn’t fit my lifestyle.
Change Your Thinking - Change Your Life
But it starts earlier than that. To change your thinking you have to change the way you see things. For me, I do that by changing what I call them.
When I stopped calling the decision-maker a decision-maker and started calling them the person who can tell me YES, my efforts got more focused. When I stopped calling a prospect a prospect and started calling them a prospective buyer I started treating them differently.
To see time management in a new light, it needs a new title.
Old Title - Time Management
New Title - Energy Management
I would begin to see time as energy to be consumed rather than a commodity to be spent.
The one form of energy I’m most familiar with is gasoline. I could see time as energy that has a limited volume. My car only holds so much gasoline and that will only get me so far. That reframing of time management will work.
When I started thinking about time like gasoline in my car instead of minutes in my day, things began to change.
Stick with me in this illustration.
Each day is like a tank of gas in my car. I have a trip to make. That tank of gas is all I have to get me there. It will be enough if I use it wisely. I really need some rules for that tank of gas:
- I'm not going to run around in circles burning up gas that doesn't get me any closer to my destination. I have a limited resource. Is this going to be the best usage of that resource...if I go here (when I should be going there) am I going to run out of gas before I get to my destination?
I'm only going to attend meetings that help me with shortcuts to my destination. Sometimes a few moments spent figuring out a short cut can result in getting to your destination or running out of gas on the road. Is this meeting about a shortcut or is it like being stuck in a traffic jam?
- I'm not going to take side roads that consume gas that I need for my trip.
- I'm going to avoid dead ends.
- I'm going to shut the car off when I stop.
- Extra loads reduce the efficiency of the trip.