If you could control time, would you go back to change the past so you could revisit a memory or redo a mistake? How awesome it would be to freeze that moment and have all the minutes to do everything you want with hours to spare! Managing your time and staying productive would not be a problem for you.
A 60 Minutes/ Vanity Fair poll in 2015 found that people would like to go back in time to prevent catastrophes such as the sinking of the Titanic and the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Some people would like to witness firsthand events such as the opening of King Tut’s tomb and the first landing on the moon. Overall of those polled, 53% were more interested in their future than in what went wrong in the past.
It’s possible to experience time travel vicariously. Stephen Hawking, H.G. Wells, and Charles Dickens are all associated with time travel theories and stories. Fantasies about visiting yesterday and tomorrow abound. However, for the average person, is it possible to hold power over time?
As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned that time management is an important skill. Employees have set work hours, such as 9 to 5; after that, they can forget about work for a while. In contrast, entrepreneurs have to set their work hours, and sometimes work time can easily seep into personal time.
Staying busy versus productive
“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is IMPORTANT.” – Stephen Covey, businessman & author
We all have the same amount of time every day. If every minute of your day was worth a dollar, would you waste it? Stephen Covey says that we should invest time, not spend it. You need to prioritize your tasks and decide what you absolutely must finish and what you don’t need to do each day. Keeping busy is not the same as being productive.
One key to time management is finding blocks of time in your day that could become investments. Author Scott Turow wrote a book during his long commutes in New York.
What could you be doing while you take the train or the bus? A friend of mine used to do sit ups and push ups while we were talking. That amounted to a 20-minute workout. Similarly, if someone were late for a one-to-one meeting with me, I would send follow-up texts to clients while waiting at the coffee shop.
Knowing the difference between being productive and being busy is a way to manage time. The key is identifying what your long-term goals are. Checking your phone for messages and news updates over a quick lunch break isn’t necessarily productive. What messages are you looking for? Confirmation of your meeting tomorrow? Or a reply from your friend to say that she did buy a pet dog?
Time is a resource to invest in
“Either run the day or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn, entrepreneur & author
Managing time as a precious resource means prioritizing your day. You won’t have the energy to do everything you ideally want to. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to others. Everyone has their special skills. Ask a business associate or a family member for a favor. Don’t wear yourself out attempting to do everything on your to-do list. And don’t forget to thank those who assist you.
You can also use a timer and set office hours. It is easy to spend hours on social media promotion. I am guilty of this because social media is one way to promote your business, so I tell myself I am being productive, but I need to keep track of how much time I am spending on it.
Setting office hours is also critical to your health and well being. If you can work from anywhere, it is all too easy to fit in some work time before or during a family dinner. Instead, draw boundaries on when you are devoting time to work, and when you are devoting time to family and friends, and set aside enough time for yourself.
It’s not yet possible to jump into a time machine and set a date to which we can jump forward or backward, but we can prioritize time. Stay productive, and you will look back on your life and see fewer regrets. Too many people wish they’d had the energy to fit in a 30-minute jog before the day’s end. But no one regrets not watching a TV show by the end of the day.
Tick tock! What will you achieve when the clock strikes midnight tonight?
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