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You can't manage time. - by TimC

Time Management, what a contradiction in terms.

The idea of time management has misled millions of well meaning hard working, salespeople, managers, executives and generally everyone who is trying to get more done in less time. in a sense to "Manage Time".

You cannot manage time.  Time passes regardless of your futile attempts to harness this illusive commodity.

Let me give you a simple example.  Stop reading this article and manage the next five minutes.  Some of you will try others will question my sanity. Others still will pull out what ever time management tool you use and do something.  

Can't do it can you.

I repeat Time cannot be managed, manipulated, stopped, sped up or any other adjective you choose to use.  Time passes.  Period.

What we can do in a framework of time is manage resources, decisions, people, ideas, money, success, failure, problems, activities, attitudes, circumstances, events, opportunities and a host of other elements.  But you can't manage time.

I am not trying to be cute or profound but simply state what I believe is obvious.

Time as a concept is both illusive and curious.  There are times when time seems to fly, when you are involved with a person or activity that you love.  And time seems to crawl by slowly when you are working at a job, project or activity that you dislike.  I am sure you have said at least once in your life, where has the time gone.  As well as, how the clock or calendar appears to be creeping with no regard for your impatience or boredom.

There are hundreds of speakers teaching "Time Management".  There are dozens of books,  audio and video products claiming to teach time management.  There are any number of time management tools on the market today.  All of these presuppose that we can manage time.

Now I know what some of you are thinking.  You know that you can't manage time, that the idea of time management can't be taken literally.    But this is just my point.  Why don't we call it what it is and stop deluding and frustrating ourselves.

What we can do as time passes is "Manage Ourselves".  

The purpose of this article is not to attempt to change the semantics by which we define how we spend, use or misuse this resource, but to ask you to look at the idea from a different perspective.

The idea of time management is "out there" while the concept of self management is "in here", meaning in our inner world of opinions, attitudes, prejudices, values, beliefs, thoughts, feelings and philosophies.

You may be of the opinion that it really doesn't matter what we call it.  But I will submit to you that what we call things or people does impact on how we react or respond to those things or people.  I could give you hundreds of examples of how what we call something determines how we deal with it, but in the essence of space I will offer you just one.

Criticism is simply a concept.  It is neutral.  It is neither positive or negative.  Most people perceive that criticism is negative and whenever they hear it, they react defensively or negatively.  Once we understand that we can not control how criticism is given, that we can only control how it is taken, do we realize that the power is not in the word but what we give it in our consciousness.

What we call (or how we identify) things does matter.

Years ago one of my first sales managers told me that everyone gets up each morning with the same 24 hours at their disposal.  That both failure's and successful people have the same amount of this precious resource to use with care or squander.  This didn't really register with me until years later.  I was young and assumed that there was plenty of time to accomplish all that would cross my path or enter my mind.

Now I know better.  Now I am fully aware of the passage of time both the hours and the days.  The minutes and the years.  

There is time enough to do what is important in life.  There is time to build relationships, contribute to society, make money, learn new skills, love, laugh and grow.  But there will never be enough as long as we chose to live either in the future or the past.  There won't be enough if we continue to believe that we are not responsible for our use of time and not its control.

I have read hundreds of surveys and articles on how people use and waste their time.

We all have choices each day as to how we will "spend" our time.  We all have choices as to what we will focus on and what we will ignore.  We all have choices on who we will spend our time with as our time passes. And we all have the choice as to where we will work, play and live as we travel through our 70 or 80 years in this life.

Time is not the ultimate issue here, but who we are becoming, what we are sharing, what we are learning and how we manage ourselves as we pass through the gates of each passing minute.  

Once lost, the current hour, day or year can not be regained.  

I would urge you to honestly reflect on what you give your time to and what doesn't get any of your precious moments.  We are talking here about choices, attitudes, values, beliefs, awareness and focus.

What you focus on determines what you get in life but it also determines what you will miss as you travel through life.  








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