I went out for a run at 3:30 in the afternoon. I usually go at 9:30 in the morning but it was raining so I held off until 3:30.
Not too long ago I had a single time slot for a workout: 5 a.m. If I got up and went I was proud of myself, if I missed it there was no second chance and I’d berate myself all day.
Now, though, my days are much more fluid.
I eschew schedules. Always have.
I have a certain number of things that need to be accomplished and I will put them in logical order and work through them. I will work until they are done. But the same thing every day? No, thank you.
I didn’t used to have this freedom. I had to have my butt in a chair every day by 8:30 a.m. I was stuck in that chair until 5:30 p.m. That was me paying my dues.
But now I have control over my own destiny and I’m a little bit like the new pilot asking in mid-air, “where to?”
I know there are things that need to be done. My to do list stretches from my desk into the hall way. But now it is peppered with home stuff (clean bathrooms) and Hollie stuff (buy a new car seat) that can be accomplished in the middle of the day.
And the work outs, the runs, they come whenever I have time and whenever I feel like it.
So the dominant question in my life now is:
Is this the right use of my time?
I spend four hours a week traveling to visit my Nana. It’s time not building my business or my writing career, but it’s the right thing to do.
I grocery shop for the family so that we don’t have to do it on Sundays.
Today I’m playing golf with Charlie because it’s his day off.
So where’s the work? When am I earning a living? Building a business? Attracting clients and selling services?
There’s so much ground work going on these days it hardly looks like the kind of stuff I will ever get paid for. I am designing processes and programs and building the marketing machine as my coach calls it. I can’t bill for it but it will make execution a lot easier when the opportunities arrive.
And then there’s the networking. Tonight and again tomorrow, out into the world offering what I do to the City of Columbia, like a guy in a trench coat with a collection of fake Rolex watches.
You cannot manage time.
Time is the same no matter what. Just 24 hours, just 60 minutes per hour, just sixty second per minute. Even if Daylight Savings kicks our ass twice a year, time doesn’t really change.
Everyone has the same amount of it. Elite athletes, high-earning sales people, technology geniuses, we all work within the same parameters in one category: time.
You can only manage yourself.
The question “is this the right use of my time?” asks me to consider my balance and determine if the time I’m about to spend running, or writing, or grocery shopping will offer the highest payoff.
My time is valuable so I cannot afford to waste it.
On a day like today when I am subject to other people’s schedules (tee time, networking event time, book club time, Twitter chat time) I am even more challenged to spend the few moments I have undetermined in the right way.
I’m no longer being paid for my time as I once was. Even then I wasn’t being properly compensated for all that I was sacrificing. I don’t want to be paid for my time.
I want to be paid for what I know and what I can do. There’s a difference. I’m articulating it in my business methodology. I’ll let you know what I come up with.
How do you manage yourself? Do you have a time-related question you ask to help you stay on task?