Where’s your time going?

“Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed.”

Peter Drucker

How much effort do you put into managing your time? Does it get the same effort and intensity that you use to manage money? If the answer is “no,” why not?  Unlike money, you can’t make more of it.

Time is finite. Spend it wisely, or you’ll get to the end of life and realize you gave up everything for nothing.

Improve your impact one minute at a time…

“In every day, there are 1,440 minutes. That means we have 1,440 daily opportunities to make a positive impact.”

Les Brown

How many of those minutes truly counted today? How many of them did you use in the service of others versus yourself? 

If you were to “keep score” by counting the minutes in others’ actual service versus yourself, how would you score your day? Oh, and the minutes spent on others but are really focused on what’s best for you don’t count.  

No matter what your score was today increase it by one minute tomorrow. Then do it again on Wednesday, and so on. You can change everything, one minute at a time.

You must choose to create the things you want to be grateful for…

“We pass through this world but once.”

Stephen Jay Gould

If you had the chance, what would you have told yourself to do differently one year ago today? One month ago today? One week? Yesterday at this exact time?  

Time is finite, and we don’t have the chance to go back and redo any of it. Each day is a precious journey that can’t and shouldn’t be taken for granted. Even though we all know this, it is still easy to make poor choices and live as though we have an infinite amount of time here on earth.  

Try this; think forward to this exact time tomorrow morning. What is the one thing you want to reflect on with gratitude tomorrow regarding how you spent the past twenty-four hours?  

Please write it down and then make it happen. You’ll thank yourself tomorrow…

A gift received and cherished…

“There’s no use doing a kindness if you do it a day too late.”

Charles Kingsley

As I reflected on today’s quote, I kept coming back to what I wrote on Christmas Eve in my journal since it captures the importance of taking nothing for granted, especially time. Even though this is intensely personal and not a typical posting for my self-leadership blog, I think the message is aligned and relevant. Thank you for letting me share it.  

I miss you, Gray. I honestly can’t believe you are gone. There were so many things that we were going to do in life. There were so many things that your kids were going to enjoy with you. There were so many things that we hadn’t done yet, but we were always going to do “one day.” If anything, Brother, this has been the most potent and impactful reminder to me that “one day” isn’t a promise; it is merely a hope or perhaps even a wish.

With our intense desire to control, we humans think of “one day” as a guarantee of what is to come, or at the very least, as an affirmation of what we want to come to pass. But it isn’t true; we aren’t in control and we never have been. I am sorry that you had to die for me to receive this education. I wish we could have learned this teaching together and thereby enjoyed the fruits of that experience collectively.  

Brother, I won’t waste this gift. As hard and painful as it is for everyone that loved you, your passing is a gift of awareness and meaning. With every fiber of my being, I can feel that my entire perception of life and what is important is evolving. I know I will have to fight a battle for the rest of my life to hang on to this new awareness of the preciousness of time and the prioritization of what is essential, but I promise you that I will fight that fight. Your death won’t be an event that gets lost in time as a moment of sadness and a bunch of fond memories. There are so many great memories, and yet there should be even more.  

That is the lesson here. We are all going to die. We don’t know when, where, or how but death is inevitable. When we all die, the only things that matter will have been our choices about how we lived when we were alive. The relationships we invested in will be what matters. The experiences we shared with others. The gifts we gave away. Death is a permanent end to our own lives’ active sharing but isn’t an end to those shared experiences. Those memories are to be cherished and reflected upon with joy. 

I am grateful that we have so many great memories, and while it breaks my heart to think that we will create no more together, I am so thankful to have had you as my brother. I promise you that I will celebrate you and that your death will carry significant meaning for the rest of my life, however long that may be.  

Brother, I love you. I miss you. Thank you for giving me this gift of awareness about what is important. On the Eve of our Savior’s birth, I am incredibly thankful to know that there will be a time when we are together again and will laugh together for all eternity.  

Grayson, you have left a mark on my life that can never be diminished. I love you, brother.  

Living for the big picture means being present in each moment…

“The trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close up.”

Chuck Palahniuk

If you only look at the big picture, you miss all the beauty buried in the nuances of life. You miss the sound of the owl’s call, the joy of a child seeing something for the first time, the temporal whisp of the present moment which is gone all too quickly like smoke in the wind.  

Joy lives in the present moment, and while the big picture matters, it is only in the immediate second that you can make choices that impact the big picture. Make those decisions wisely and intentionally. You never get the time back…

How are you spending your most precious gift?

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

Our time is a gift. It is a gift that we are given without charge and without instructions on how to use it. However, much like a gift that you receive and don’t appreciate because you didn’t earn it, so much of our lives are spent wasting the precious and limited time we have. 

Strip away everything that isn’t a valuable investment of your finite life. Spend your time like it is the most precious thing you possess; because it is.

In order to put the puzzle together you need patience, time and faith…

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”

Leo Tolstoy

In many ways, life is like a puzzle with 10,000 pieces and no instructions and no picture to reference. The pieces fit together, but sometimes you don’t know exactly what they are building towards. The beauty is that we all have the opportunity to create the picture we want to show when our puzzle is completed. All we need is vision and the patience and time to see our vision through to fruition.

I fully admit patience is not one of my virtues. Life feels so short and compressed and I want to accomplish everything now. However, it is amazing how pieces of the puzzle you can’t see in a current moment can become so clear when viewed through the lens of time. Having the patience to accept that you might not know how everything is going to fit together but knowing with the passage of time it will call become clear is an expression of faith.

I might argue there are three powerful warriors. Patience, time, and faith. With those things, everything is possible….

brown puzzle piecesshallow focus photography of hourglass

We only get one…

“Time can be an ally or an enemy. What it becomes depends entirely upon you, your goals, and your determination to use every available minute.”

Zig Ziglar

How many hours do you need in your day?

How many lifetimes do you get to live?

Is one enough?

One life is all we get, what do you need to do differently to make yours count?

What is your treasure?

 “The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.”

Stephen R. Covey

How much of life do we spend in the pursuit of some thing without regard for the time that is exchanged in the chase? Do we view how we spend our time with the same alacrity as we do the pursuit of wealth?

Time is a much tougher investment to manage than money. There is never enough, and for many, the realization of the importance, or lack thereof, of one over the other comes too late in life to rectify.

As I think about the importance of intentionally managing time this verse from the book of Proverbs comes to mind. “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5 Specifically, what comes to mind here is the definition of “profit.” How do you define “profit” as it comes to the investment of your time? Is this profit a conversion into wealth, or is it something else? Something more?

Take a moment to play with the slider on the picture below. Move the slider left or right to show highlight which picture is more important to you. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

Then take some time to reflect on your answer, the one that is truly important to you. How are you going to invest your time to make your dreams come true? What is it that you treasure? Where is your heart?

silver and gold coinspeople s feet near mugs

Addition through subtraction…

“Every time you subtract negative from your life, you make room for more positive.”

Author Unknown

There are 525,600 minutes in a year. How do you want to spend them?

How many of your minutes create a positive return on investment through service to others and therefore create joy for yourself?

It is an absolute fact that the number of minutes we have on this earth is finite. None of us know when and were we will cease to have an opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of others. Why would we waste a single minute of our precious lives on anything negative?

If you think about it, every time you remove something negative from your life you take an asset which is losing value and create an opportunity to replace it with something that will gain value. Seems like a pretty good deal to me…

Dream bigger…

“Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!”

Anthony Robbins

I can’t remember an individual year where I looked back and was satisfied that I had achieved all my goals and all that was possible for a given year. But when looking back over a decade, now that’s a different story. Over a 10-year period so much will have changed and there are so many things that perhaps I wouldn’t have been able to dream big enough about 10 years ago.

That’s the lesson for me. Dream bigger than you think possible when looking over a 10-year horizon. When you look back, you will realize you didn’t dream big enough…

Quicksand…

“The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.”

Jean Paul

How is it that you only start to really understand the value of life and time when you have gained some experiences and taken a few knocks? As the sand in our hourglass slides past are we focused on maximizing the value of each grain? Or are we lost because we are focusing on the next big thing that may or may not be important at all?

Don’t let a single grain of sand slip through unappreciated and unvalued. This is our one and only life. Why would you waste any of it?

The best question…

“Perhaps the very best question that you can memorize and repeat, over and over, is, ‘what is the most valuable use of my time right now?'”

Brian Tracy

How often do you ask yourself this question? How often do you answer it honestly…? What would you need to change to make the answers to the question easier to actually do? How many times does it happen where you get to the end of the day and wonder if you actually accomplished anything?

The answers to these questions might not be easy or answers that you like. But changing them to ones that you do like could change your world…

Will it matter in 10 years?

“In ten years’ time will you look back at your past week and be glad how you chose to spend it?”

Freequill

Ten years is a long time! Think about that in regards to your choices for this coming week? Will they be impactful and matter ten years from now? If you wanted the week to matter what would have to be different? What about one year from now?

What are you willing to quit doing?

“You will never find time for anything. If you want the time, you must make it.”

Charles Buxton

What do you wish you had time for? How long have you been wishing for it? What is it going to take for you to be able to do it? What are you willing to quit doing in order to make the thing you want to do happen?

I often wish that there were 36 hours in a day. But there still wouldn’t be enough time do do all the things I want to do. Since I can’t conjure up more hours in the day I guess I’ll focus on answering the questions written above. I think the last one is the most important…

Make your hours count…

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
 
H. Jackson Brown Jr.
This one hits right between the eyes doesn’t it?  As I read it though it occurred to me that all of these great people accomplished their incredible feats over the course of their lives.  They are measured on the totality of their contributions, not a single event or action.
Sometimes we get so caught up living in the here and now that we forget that our greatest impact might not have happened yet.  It might be a current work in progress or it might be the thing we do tomorrow.  We should work to make all our hours count, but we shouldn’t spend all our time counting the hours and measuring our success based on what we get in return for each of those hours.
As Andy Stanley has said “Your greatest accomplishment may not be something you do, but someone you raise.”  And I believe this applies whether you have children of your own or not. You can replace “raise” with “serve” and the meaning and impact is the same.  Use your hours to impact others and you’ll make a difference.

No do overs…

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
 
John Wooden

I don’t know about you but there just never seem to be enough hours in the day.  The world today is busier than ever and the distractions are relentless.  

I really love this quote because it makes you sit back and thing about the work you are doing.  If you are doing something to check the box, achieve the minimum standard, etc, then why are you doing it all all?  If it is something that needs to be done right, what needs to go in order for you to have the time to accomplish the task at hand?

Part of the challenge in today’s hyper busy world is that it is easier, and more acceptable unfortunately, to do more things, at the bare minimum level.  That doesn’t create long-term sustainable success.  Focusing on the few things that really matter, and then executing them to a degree of completion that ensures they won’t have to be redone is a guaranteed way to stand out from the crowd.  

Besides, if you are so busy, how can taking the time to redo anything be a palatable option!  Get it right, get it done, move on to the next important thing.

Spend your time wisely…

“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.”

Bruce Lee

How much time do we waste every day?  It seems that in todays world everyone is busier than ever.  But being busy does not mean that we aren’t wasting our time.  How many hours do we spend doing things, being extremely busy, but when we look back we can’t see that any value was derived from the time we spent? 

Do we tell ourselves that we are “busy” because that is an easier pill to swallow than to take a hard look at our time and see if we are being effective in how we spend it?   Are we busy doing the right things?  

Time wasted = life wasted…

“The longer you wait, the harder it is to produce outstanding customer service.”

William H. Davidow

All we have is time.  Time is more valuable than money because no matter what, you can’t buy more of it.  Time wasted is life wasted.

As a customer when does waiting longer for something make it better?  I can’t think of one time where I, as a customer, wanted to wait longer for something than absolutely necessary.  In fact, and especially in today’s world, we should live by the mantra, “when in doubt do it faster.”  Sure, there are experiences where time isn’t a primary concern, such as a great meal at a phenomenal restaurant.  But the minute the time spent is no longer valuable to the customer, it is wasted.  The great meal becomes burdensome if you have to wait for your food longer than you should or if your drink glass sits empty.

Companies that get it right make the customer’s time their top priority.  Starbucks, Chick-Fil-A, Amazon, Apple, etc. They make it easy to do business with them because they know that they are simply enabling something that I, as the customer, desire to accomplish.  The longer it takes, the harder it is for them to serve my need.  They get that customers are trusting them with their most valuable asset, their time, and they do everything they can to make that time spent worthwhile.

So if an experience takes longer than it should, given that a customer will never be able to get that time back, we are failing our customer.  Period.  Find a way to do it faster.  If you don’t someone else will and do you really want your customer experience to be known as a “life wasting experience?”

Make the seconds count…

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say ‘thank you?’”

William A. Ward

Two of the most powerful worlds in the English language are “thank you.”  Recognizing the efforts or contributions of another person and expressing your sincere appreciation can have impact and meaning far beyond the moment that you say the words.  Simply saying “thank you” to another person can be a beacon of light and hope in their entire day.  It shows others that they matter, that their work matters, that their efforts matter.  

How many of those seconds are spent in the aforementioned most powerful way?  God gives us the precious gift of time.  How do we spend it on others?  It reminds me of this verse from Romans 14:12: “So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.”  How are you going to account for the 86,400 seconds you have today?  Who’s life will you touch by simply saying “thank you?”

 

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dusty

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