Time Management 101: Time Isn’t Money

Time Management 101: Time Isn’t Money

Let me guess. You’re busy. There aren’t enough hours in the day for you to do what you need to do. Your to-do list is out of control. E-mail is burying you and wasting your time—you’ve got hundreds, maybe thousands, in your inbox. Your office is a mess of piles.

Any of this sound familiar?

You might call it time management, administrative management, or simply getting organized. By any name, effectively managing time and energy is one of the top 3 topics my clients ask to address with me.

We’ll go into this subject further in the future and unearth some really helpful tools. But first off, I’d like to re-think a paradigm you may have—one familiar to us all: “time is money.”

Um, no. No it’s not. Not even close.

What if I called you up this afternoon to tell you that all of your bank and investment accounts had been hacked into and every dime removed? All of your money—every liquid asset—is gone. And it’s irretrievable. Hopelessly lost forever. In this story, you have no legal recourse. You’ve been left with what’s in your wallet, and nothing else.

So what will you do tomorrow? The rest of this week?

When I ask my clients this question, most respond that they’d go to work tomorrow, work like they do now, and get started on the process of rebuilding. A pretty logical choice.

Now, consider another scenario: What if I called you this afternoon to tell you that your medical tests just came back and you’re terminally ill? You have 1 week to live.

Similar reaction? Not likely.

All the people I’ve ever asked have told me that they would rather lose all their money than all their time. Money can be replenished. Time, on the other hand, is irreplaceable. So the old adage that time is money is a farce. Time is far, far more valuable.

Tiger Time

Despite the fact that deep down, we value time much more than money, most of us guard our money carefully yet squander our time.

One cause for this may be that we overlook the nuances of time’s value. The ancient Greeks had 2 words for time:

  • Chronos: schedules, appointments, calendars—chronological time (what most of us are talking about when we feel so busy and out of control)
  • Kairos: significant moments, valued experiences (the stuff most of us put off and delay while we bury ourselves in chronos events)

What a shame that we’ve let this essential distinction get all muddled up.

Tiger FaceSo how do we make the most of the minutes we have? As you open your mind to a new view of time—as you begin this key process of re-conceptualizing the way you value each day—think of the tiger.

What comes to mind when I mention a tiger? Strength, speed, ferocity. The top of the food chain.

In addition to all this, the tiger is about to become our time-management mascot. Why? Because this great predator spends 90% of his time at rest. Not stalking. Not pouncing. Not climbing or charging or even eating. Just resting, watching, gathering, sensing.

And when he does make a move, it’s a sight to behold. A vision of power, focus, and efficiency.

Of course, I’m not suggesting that you only spend 10% of your time in motion, but I am encouraging you to realign your thinking around time: just doing something for the sake of doing something isn’t often the right answer.

Think of a high diver: She doesn’t just climb the ladder and jump in the pool. In fact, she spends much more time standing on the platform visualizing the dive than she does performing her aerial acrobatics. And that visualization is key to her success.

Pro golfers are another great example: think about how much time they spend planning and preparing compared to the actual swing.

Let’s try this ourselves. Before we start spinning our wheels, trying to catch up with the e-mails, the do-list, the piles, let’s take a step back and envision ourselves doing it perfectly.

What would that look like? Time-management homework assignment #1: get that vision in your head before you pounce.

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