There is no such thing as time management. There is only “me management.”
You have exactly the same time as anyone—and everyone—else in this world. Your day contains 24 hours, just like everyone else’s day. Your week contains seven days, just like everyone else. There is nothing you can do to have more time. It isn’t possible.
If there are things that you would like to do but can’t, it isn’t because you don’t have enough time, it is because you are making different choices about how to invest—or spend—your time. If other people are producing results that you would like to produce, it isn’t because you aren’t capable of producing the same results. It’s because you aren’t dedicating the same time and energy to producing those results.
Time is the constant. You are the variable.
Time management doesn’t work. To produce better results, you need to work on “me management.”
What do you truly value? How do the investments in your time line up with what you truly value, what you truly want?
Here’s one example from my own life. I am a writer. So, every morning I wake up at 5:30 AM, rush to my beloved coffee pot, and I sit down to write. I value ideas. I like to explore them. I like to share them. I like to do so through writing, speaking, and through discussions with smart people. People often ask me how I “find the time” to write every day. There is no hidden, special reserve time to which I only I have access. I don’t have to find the time. I choose to invest my time writing, instead of spending it in bed (or hitting the snooze button).
It’s “me management,” not time management. It’s about choices.
Whatever it is that you want to do, I promise you that you have the time. That is never the question. The real question is whether you value it enough to exercise the self-discipline to achieve it. This is true whether you want to get in better shape, gain more business acumen, learn a foreign language, learn to play the guitar, or spend more time with your kids.
You have to answer the call when the alarm rings. That’s “me management.”
The Calendar and Trade-Offs
The calendar is about making trade-offs. Because you have the same time as everyone else, you have to make the same trade-offs as everyone else. Time spent doing one things can’t be invested in something else. Once it is spent, it’s spent. This is why you have to be thoughtful about how you manage yourself. If you choose mind-numbing television, then you have traded that for something you value more dearly.
The best way I know to become a better “me manager” is to sit down with a calendar and schedule the most important things first. Your calendar is your life.
If it is important to you to spend time with your kids, get it on the calendar.
If it is important for you to prospect and gain new clients, put it on the calendar.
If it is important for you to improve your health, schedule the time on your calendar.
And then live on your calendar. And know that if someone else is producing better results than you are, it isn’t because they have more time than you. It’s because they are a better “me manager” than you are.
Do you wish you had more time?
Where do you spend your time now? Where should the poorly spent time be invested instead?
Does your calendar reflect your deepest values?
Look at your calendar. What’s missing? What belongs in the empty space?
Subscribe to my weekly podcast In the Arena.