Time Management is one of those elusive phrases that seem like the key to everything might be found if we could only tap into the magic of time management. I have come leaps and bounds from where I was 2 or 3 years ago in the area of time management. I have read books, listened to multiple audio recordings, and took an audio class that lasted something like 10 weeks – all to learn more about managing my time.
What I am going to share with you today may come as a surprise to you. The key (the magic) of time management is simple. Quit wasting time. Or more importantly, quit wasting energy! After the hours of time that I have put into finding out how to manage my time, I recently discovered that it is more about managing how I spend my energy than how I manage my time.
I recommend that everyone do a personal time study. Write down everything you do every day for one week. Everything. Every 5 minutes of time that you spend for 1 week. Start now, start with today. Every cup of coffee you pour, every potty break, every email, every text message, every TV show, every everything. The first thing this does is holds you accountable to yourself for your time. The first time I did this I could not believe all of the inane crap that I was doing. Watching TV. Catching up on Facebook and other Social Media (Pinterest much?). Inane. So, I stopped doing much of that inane crap.
Here’s where the (magic) happens… I stumbled upon this within the last month and it has really changed how I think about MY time. It is not about time management, rather energy management. When you look at your time study, decide if the things that you spent your time doing are really worth your energy. As we get older our energy starts to diminish. Yes, I am still energetic. I’m sure you are, too. My mother, at her age, is still energetic. Compare that to a 15 year-old. Or a 2 year-old. Or, think back 10 years. We may have 24 hours in a day, but lose steam after only a few hours. I used to get 4 hours of sleep a night (in my 20’s) and function fabulously. I require 7 now. I need more time to re-charge my energy batteries. Even then, my energy levels aren’t quite as high consistently as they were 20 years ago.
So, use your diminished energy to do the things that really mean something and bring added value to your life. If you are trying to reach a goal spend your energy moving you toward that goal. Use all of your time effectively and efficiently. As we all know, the technology we have today is so portable we can work almost anywhere. I listen to educational and motivational CDs in the car, I take my iPhone with me if I have to take a potty break so that I can check my email during time that is otherwise wasted. Take note cards to the Doctors office so during the 2 hours that you have to wait in the waiting room to see the Doctor you can do something constructive or worthwhile, like write a handwritten note to a friend or loved one.
And what is a man without energy? Nothing. Nothing at all. ~Mark Twain