Time Management Is a Lie!

About 8 years ago I was at my first real estate seminar and the speaker asked, “Who thinks time is money?”  Well of course almost everyone in the room put their hands up because that is what we have been taught.  Then he made the point that has stuck with me ever since.  Time is not money, time is more valuable than money because you can always make more money but you can’t make more time.

There are 24 hours in a day and 7 days a week.  We all get the same 168 hours to use as we choose each week.  You cannot manage time, time is relentless.  John Maxwell says,  How you spend your time is more important than how you spend your money.  Money mistakes can be corrected.  But once time has passed, it’s gone forever.” 

The whole concept of time management is a lie!  We can’t manage something that is consistent and never changing, we can only manage how we use that thing, i.e. manage ourselves!  We have to become better managers of how we use the time we are given!

People often say, “I just didn’t have the time to get this or that thing done.”  That is not a factual statement.  We all have the same 24 hours each day.  A more accurate statement would be, “I chose to spend my time on other things.”  Once you accept this, then you are taking responsibility for how you spend every second.

Certainly there are many legitimate things we have to do every day and we have to make choices which ones will get done.  There are also many not so important things we do every day.

Can you see how much more precious time is than money?  It can slip away pretty fast and it is either used productively or not productively.

As a corporate leader when people would ask “How do I get ahead in the company and if they didn’t have a degree, I would let them know that a degree doesn’t guarantee success but it does open many more doors that can lead to success.   I would then often get a response similar to “It will take 5 years of night school to get a degree.”  My response was always something to the effect – you know you are going to be 5 years older whether you spend time getting the degree or not, but how will your life look if don’t pay the price and capture that degree versus how will it look if you do capture the degree.

Following is a book summary From Todd Duncan’s Book “Time Traps”

In Todd Duncan’s book “Time Traps” he says that “Despite working more days and longer hours, many Americans in the professional world find themselves falling behind.”  He offers the following to help us make better use of our time.  Some of these may not apply to all of your situations but the principles will apply.

Organization Trap – The Majority of Disorganization is spending time on meaningless tasks – therefore establish boundaries to keep unnecessary tasks from sapping your time.  The five boundaries he suggests are:

  1. Never give your personal phone numbers to customers or coworkers – ask yourself this – Would I rather be known as easily accessible or worth waiting for?
  2. Don’t give your work phone numbers to friends – the idea is to avoid taking non-emergency calls and emails from friends at work – get in the system of communicating only at lunch or on breaks.
  3. Turn off the instant email alert functions on your computer – the last thing you need is one liners and messages popping up on your screen all day – they are too tempting and will whittle away your time quicker than you realize
  4. Don’t answer the phone unless you are expecting a call – you don’t actually have to answer the phone every time it rings. People will find a way to get in touch with you if it is really important all other calls you can return when you are ready.
  5. Avoid checking your personal email during work hours – very few abide by this rule and it adds to your work hours – sometimes several hours a week – explain to your friends that you are organizing your work so you can have more free time, true friends will support you.

These five boundaries will help minimize interruptions, thus allowing you to concentrate on the task at hand thus forming a metaphorical damn that will control mounting and eventually overwhelming responsibilities.

Become aware of the Yes Trap Or wasting time saying yes.  Climbing the ladder generally means saying yes but saying yes too often can swamp you.  Say yes to the right tasks.  There are three kinds of tasks:

  1. Unnecessary tasks – represent activities that prohibit you from moving forward and therefore waste time – common examples watching TV, surfing the web, playing computer games – stop or limit these tasks
  2. Necessary Tasks – represent activities that have the potential of moving you forward toward your goals – examples are – goal setting, planning, networking, self-improvement, necessary communication, etc. – regulate your time in these tasks.
  3. Productive tasks – represent the activities that most effectively move you toward your goals – if you are in real estate it is evaluating properties and making offers, if you’re working at a JOB it will be turning out the best product you can.  As a self-employed person I always ask myself am I working on my business or in my business.  There is a huge difference.  Working on your business is about growth and vision, working in your business is about getting the day-to-day activities done.

The Control Trap – hording tasks – ask yourself can someone else help, can I reasonably pass this task off – for instance in the real estate investing world I no longer swing a hammer, I can, but my time is much better spent looking for deals that can make us and our partners money.

Employee Mindset Trap – Assume a CEO mindset and see your business or JOB as a company you must control and grow.  Understanding where you want to be in five years is essential.  Because if you don’t know this, chances are you will be right where you are today 5 years from now.

Technology Trap – we are gadget happy, sometimes we lose more time with technology than we intended to gain by using it – there are 5 ways to keep technology from impeding our progress

  1. Shorten your technology leash
  2. Substitute new gadgets don’t stockpile them
  3. Ask directions to maximize effectiveness of gadgets
  4. Test your gadgets efficiency
  5. Go backward to go forward – don’t use a gadget when an older method is more efficient

Failure Trap – if past failures slow you down then they are stealing time from you today – recognize that yesterday cannot be changed and that  only the moment you are in now can be controlled by you, so make the most of each of your moments.

We hope this article helps you understand that time management is a lie and it is self-management that will allow you to utilize your seconds, minutes, and hours more effectively.

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2 Responses to “Time Management Is a Lie!”

  1. Generally quite good ideas! You state:
    “Trap Number 1 =” …
    but then there are no numbers underneath!

    One presumes there are six (6) Traps, BUT that includes, “Assume a CEO mindset” is a Trap. Mmmm!

    Useful article nonetheless!