Old time management joke (and to paraphrase George Carlin):
To the person who has lost something: “Well, where did you have it last?”
The answer: “If I knew that, I would still have it!”
But, there is one thing, that if lost, you can never find again. And unlike your car keys, will not magically show up. What is it?
Time, of course.
Where Do You Lose Time?
We all get the same amount of time in each day. No one gets more, no one gets less. We are all equal in this regard. It is how we choose to spend our time that differs.
Yet, many people complain that they do not have enough time. In that case, it might be a good idea to see where your time is going.
So, where are you losing time? Or maybe, a better question, when are you wasting time?
You could do a time study and track your time. However, at a high level, let’s consider where you are losing your extra time…
- Letting Others Steal It – We place a premium on our time, yet we let others take it without much of a second thought. If you never say no or let others interrupt you without hesitation, then you will find yourself constantly wondering where your time went.
- Slacker Activities – We all get to choose how we spend out time, but some activities are more valuable than others. Do you spend too much time watching TV? Endlessly surfing the Internet? Playing video games? Gossiping? Consider how much you could get done if you reallocated this time.
- Life Friction – Life Friction is what I refer to as “self-inflicted time management.” Do you create extra work for yourself by forgetting things? By being late? Self-inflicted crises unnecessarily waste time.
- Wasting the In-between – Do you sit around in the extra moments you have during the day simply because you do not know what you need to get done? It amazes me when people waste the “in-between” moments in life. Want to see time being squandered? Go observe any doctor’s waiting room.
Let’s take some simple actions to not lose our time…
- Protect It – Defend your time from others like you would protect your money. After all, time is our life’s currency. Don’t give it away without thought.
- Stop Slacking – Develop the discipline to stop watching TV for hours on end or gossiping away the day. If you took the 2 hours a day that you watch TV and spent them on a new skill, you would have invested over 30 full days of time within one year. Impressive.
- Have a Plan – Avoid life friction by planning ahead. You will reduce multiple trips, last minute fire drills, and extra work. You might avoid going the grocery store 3x in one week.
- Know What You Need To Do – Too many people waste their time because they are not aware of what they need to get done. Keep a todo list and keep it visible. Knowing what you need to get done is half the battle. You will be surprised how much “extra stuff” you get done.
It’s Your Time
You cannot get more time in the day. No one can give you more either. So, don’t lose yours.
Make a conscious choice in how you use it. Because whether used or lost, it is gone.
And even if those car keys show up… your time is not coming back.
Where do you lose time?
The 5 Best Ways to Defend Your Time
Why Do We Let People Steal Our Time?
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...Lost and Found It’s a story that many people have lived through, from one side or the other. You’re a child in a busy department store, tethered to your mother’s side by her firm grip on your hand, your eyes constantly drawn left and right by the colorful displays. She lets go to grab something or talk to a salesperson, and you see an exciting toy or stuffed animal and run to it. After playing with it for a few minutes you try to walk back, but your mother is gone. First a wave of confusion hits you, but it is quickly overcome by dread. You are alone and lost in a sea of noise and people. When great philosophers or authors talk or write of being “lost” they can mean all sorts of things, but few are as visceral as the feeling of being lost that a child in a situation like that can experience. Even if there’s a good chance the child is in no danger at all, the feeling of dread that accompanies feeling alone and lost in a crowded department store can be terrifying. Most people will have their first feeling of being lost as being literally, physically lost as children, whether it is in a department store, or in a large park, or simply down the next street. It makes sense, then, to start defining what it means to be “lost” with the experience of a child. What about that deep, philosophical “lost,” though? When people say they feel...