6 Steps to Take Control of Your Time and Your Life

There are many things in this world that are valuable … work, property, possessions, and so forth. But I would argue that the most valuable thing you’ll ever have in this world is time.

Think about it. You can always get another job and you can always get new possessions. But you can never get more time and you can never recapture the time you’ve wasted.

I’ve had the opportunity to work with hundreds of thousands of people … from the blue collar worker, to C-level execs, and the rich, famous, and powerful.  And in every case I can tell you that the happiest, most successful people in all those classes are the ones who use their time most wisely.

And wise time management includes these six steps.

=> 1. Take a good look at how you SPEND your time.

You see, there’s only one thing you can do with your time.  Spend it.  You can’t buy it, rent it, borrow it, store it, save it, renew it, or multiply it. All you can do is spend it.

As you go throughout your day, ask yourself one question every hour, before you spend that hour.  Will this upcoming task be worth an hour of my life?

If your answer is yes, go ahead and spend that hour.  If your answer is no, give it a few seconds of thought before you automatically proceed.  And ask yourself, “Could there be a better use of my time at this moment?”

A great use of your time would be to join my webinar on BODY LANGUAGE:  How To Read What Every BODY Is Saying. It will be this Wednesday, April 25, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.  Learn how to read the hidden messages that other people are sending.  And learn how to come across more powerfully and effectively in your communication. Click here to register. https://www.drzimmerman.com/body-language-webinar

=> 2. Spend more time on your values and less time on excuses. 

One of the quickest ways to lose your self-respect is to verbalize a set of values but not spend enough time living out those values.

For example, you can’t say your kids are important to you, but you’re too busy at work to spend any time with them.  It’s a value conflict.

You can’t say your career is important to you, but not spend any time on your own continuing education.   Deep down you know you’re a phony.

You can’t say your church or faith is important to you, but never spend any time growing in your faith.  That’s hypocrisy.

I’m often amused when I’m talking to a prospective client about a program they want me to deliver in their organization.  And then, somewhere in the conversation, someone on the committee will say, “This isn’t a good time for us.  We’re awfully busy right now.”

I respond by saying, “It’s never a good time for training. It’s always a bad time or a really bad time.  The question is … does this training line up with your stated values and where you want to go as a team or an organization?  If so, it’s worth spending some more time on this … now.”

=> 3. Do not confuse activity and accomplishment.

If you’re feeling stressed out, burned out, overwhelmed, and way too busy, chances are you’re spending your time inappropriately.  You may have an activity addiction where a part of your identity is tied into how busy you are.  You might even feel somewhat proud of yourself when you tell others about how busy you are.

Let me suggest a better approach.

Think about what you want out of life … not how much you can get done. Assess all your activities.  If they add to your life and the important things you’re trying to accomplish, keep them. If they don’t, eliminate them whenever possible.

=> 4. Use time effectively, then efficiently.

Effectiveness refers to doing the right job.  When you’re effective, you may or may not do the job in front of you. You do what most needs to be done at a particular point in time.

In other words, when you’re effective you make decisions.  You let go of some good things to spend your time on some better things.

(P.S.  You can apply this tip immediately.  Subtract one activity from your life or your To-Do List right now that does not add significant value to your life.)                                               

Then, after you’ve made your decision, you focus on efficiency, which refers to doing the job right. When you’re efficient, you perform your chosen task in the best possible way.

For example, it may take you an entire day to clean your house, but if an important dignitary was going to be at your house in an hour, you would get the house cleaned almost to the same point in an hour.  You just blended the efficient and effective use of time.

=> 5. Focus on one thing at a time. 

If you’ve ever gone to a circus and watched the lion tamer, you’ve seen him walk into the cage with a four-legged stool pointed at the lions. And perhaps you’ve wondered what that was all about.

Quite simple.  The lion tries to focus on all four legs at once, and in so doing, a kind of paralysis overwhelms him. He becomes weak and disabled because his attention is fragmented.

In a similar fashion, if you try to focus on too many things at once, if you try to spread your time across too many tasks, you hurt yourself.  You become a time waste, which is never good.

To make things worse, you make it impossible to feel good about yourself.  Indeed, you can’t feel good about yourself when you know … deep in your gut … that you are wasting time … which is just about the same thing as wasting your life.

Don’t do that to yourself.  Start by listing all the personal and professional tasks facing you. Rate the importance of each task as high, medium, or low, and do them in the order of their importance … if at all possible.

And finally…

=> 6. Give up your addiction to hurry.   

After all, you’re not a hamster.

I’m sure you’ve seen it … the poor little hamster running frantically on his carousel. No matter how hard he runs or how long he runs, he never seems to get anywhere.

And maybe you behave that way some of the time. If so, slow down.  Don’t be addicted to rushing. Ask yourself, “Why am I rushing?  What will happen if I don’t rush?”

You need to learn the difference between necessary haste and unnecessary impatience.  Some things are worth your rushing, but lots of other things are not.  If you automatically default towards unnecessary impatience, all you get is a greater chance of heart disease.

Final Thought:  It’s about TIME that you used your TIME better.

Dr. Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip, Issue 932 – 6 Steps to Take Control of Your Time and Your Life