It's not your friend nor is it your enemy. It's the one constant that we have in this world. It's the one notion created by man and gauged by the sun and moon. It's the one thing we cannot escape. We cannot buy it, sell it or trade it. No matter how much financial stability you may have, you cannot afford it. You can, however, manage how you use it, where you spend it and who deserves your collection of it.
Time makes for a pretty vulnerable relationship and leaves us with no control.
If you're like me, you measure your productivity on the valuable action steps taken in a period of time, respectively. It's easy. You were taught to work hard for everything that you have. That's not just material items that you make money for, it's relationships you hold, it's the job you have or the business you're growing. It's the sheer reason that, if you're lucky to open your eyes in the morning, you stretch it out and start your day. Hard work is the journey you take to keep healthy all of the important things and people in your life. This is how we value our time.
If I ask you exactly how you've spent the last seven days of your life, what would you do? Sit back and try to remember where you ate, who you saw, and what you did? Or would you pull out your phone calendar to tell me, chronologically, how you spent the last 168 hours? I would do the latter of the two and in the back of my mind, I may or may not remember some tasks I forgot to do in that time frame. There's so much that goes into the love and attention we put into our time and there is no one that will value your time as much as you will.
So, how can we measure your time and its use? I am not training you to be a time-freak. I just propose a more formal way of measuring your limited and out of control constant; your time.
1. Write out your specific objectives for the week. Not objectives of chance; objectives of task. For example, "finish my Huffington post write up" or "outline media plan for new clients" or "call mom and check on grandma."
2. Give each task a deadline. Whether it's time sensitive or not, give the task a life. Your goal here is check off as much as you can so that you can free up your mind space for new and better ideas to move you forward. For example, "contact editor of NY Times by Wednesday," or "book Miami travel by Monday at 3:00 pm" or "stop by my mother-in-law's house just to say hi on her day off tomorrow."
3. Eat well in between tasks. I am VERY guilty of working all day and "forgetting to eat." Not good for your mind or body. Build your nutrition and physical activity into your schedule and you won't feel so rushed to make unhealthy decisions at all the wrong hours.
4. Stay organized and track your performance. Create a habit of checking in with yourself to make sure you are on the right track. Ask yourself, "Self, by the end of this week and at this pace, will I have moved myself closer to my monthly and annual goal?" No matter what that goal is, you must do a self-check to make sure you haven't lost focus.
Life is like a business plan, you can't control everything that happens but you can map out a safe point map and be willing to adjust, nominally, along the way. Time can be your friend and it's up to you to foster that relationship by following Steps 1-4, as well as choosing the company you keep and keep clear goals in mind.
Tick, tock, tick... tock.