Time can be an ally or the enemy in our everyday lives. How we use it can be the determining factor as to how successful we are. Use time wisely, proficiently, and it works for you, use it slovenly, wastefully and it works against you.
When it comes to using time, while we all have the same 24 hours in a day we do not all have the same means to use the 24 hours. Herein lays the difficulty in making the most out of the time we have. So, how can you make the most out of the time you have? Many people suggest prioritizing your time will greatly increase your sufficiency. At least two factors must be looked at when prioritizing time; the importance and the urgency of the events.
The importance of the events can be rated on a scale of least important to most important. For example, if you are going to have guests coming over to your house, you may have to clean the house, prepare a meal, shop for food for the meal, go to the store, and while you are at it, put gas in the car. You have to decide to clean the whole house, our just the rooms your guests will see. Do you have time to stop and put gas in the car, or can it wait another day.
At work your boss may give you a job and a deadline to complete the work among the many other tasks on your work plate. You have to determine what tasks are most important, and what are least important. You have to chair a meeting, call a contractor, check schedule of an incoming job, and meet with an employee who has not adjusted to his new job role. Usually, but not always the importance of the order of doing something is determined by a deadline. And there may be times when items on our list of things to do get pushed back. When the boss says, “I want this now,” that is a signal that that it is important. However, that also can determine the urgency of the event, or job.
Urgency almost always trumps importance. You are pregnant at work and your water breaks, it does not matter what else you are doing, and you must drop everything and attend to the baby. If you are the husband, you may have to drop everything and attend to your wife. These are matters of urgencies. When your boss says, “I need it now,” you can be sure by the tone of his/her voice the matter has a sense of urgency. So, in your everyday life how can you keep your wits about you, and complete everything on your plate.
The first thing to do is keep focused. As noted by the famous Zig Ziglar, “lack of direction, not lack of time is the problem we all have 24 hours a day.” The last thing before going to bed at night, or the first thing in the morning make a list prioritizing by importance the thing to be done, even those tasks that seem mundane and obvious. Steven Covey, in the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People puts this as habit 3 stating put first things first.
Stay in control that is keep your wits about you. Do not try to control those around you, even if you are the boss. As noted by William J. H. Boetcker, “If you wish to succeed in controlling and managing others-learn to manage and control yourself (Boetcker, 2015) By staying in control of yourself, you keep yourself in balance, and when you are in balance things don’t get out of kilter.
There are literally hundreds, maybe even thousands of books and articles on how to be successful. Most, if not all address the issue of time and how to make the most of it. Time can be friend or foe. As much as we would like to think other people have more time than we have, the reality is we all have the same time. So, make time your ally. Take a page from Michael Alshuler’s book, “The bad news is, time flies, the good news is, you’re the pilot.” (Alshuler, 2015) Be the pilot.