Friday, June 21, 2013

Time Management, Vision and Purpose

“One love,
 One blood,
One life,
You got to do what you should.”

Bono – One

“Make use of time, let not advantage slip.”

William Shakespeare

“I recommend you take care of the minutes and the hours will take care of themselves.”

Earl of Chesterfield

It’s interesting how I almost didn’t write last night because a voice in my head said that I should take a break from all the writing and watch a movie while the house was quiet.  The voice assured me that I would have time in the morning to write.  Maybe the voice knew that this morning would be filled with unexpected events and that I wouldn’t get a chance to write this morning.  Maybe the voice didn’t know what would happen but was hoping I would be interrupted.   Maybe it was all a coincidence.  Whatever it was, I’m glad I wrote last night.
Sometimes when I’m writing or speaking I get an insight.  A recent insight was this:
  1. Time management is crucial. 
  2. I find using every moment I can to be in Purpose is the best time-management plan.

This understanding affects me by helping me realize that having Purpose goes beyond time management.  T.D. Jakes, talking about money management said, “You don’t need a budget; you need a vision.”  I think the same is true for time management.  I don’t need a time management system; I need a vision.  More accurately, I need a time management system that complements my vision.  Without a vision for my life, time management might make my days more efficient, but not necessarily more effective.  Without a time management system, I fear that my vision won’t be realized.  I don’t want to manage just my time, but the time given to me, the time I have left.
So here are some time management systems that work for me:
1.              I write a list of things I need to accomplish that day or week.  Writing things down almost always guarantees that I will get things done.  This works in both my professional and personal life.  Sometimes if I’m short on time I write a list of things I want to get done in the next ten minutes.  That is always fun.
2.              I keep my 3x5 cards near and read them often.  Whenever I do this, I know, automatically, what I need to do in the next moment. 
3.              I get present.  I look around and I see what needs to be done in that moment. I get off my phone, off my computer, out of my book and I see what’s happening around me.  I see who needs attention.  I take my kids and/or my dogs outside or clean my car or write a blog or prepare for a radio show or wash the dishes.  I listen to music and I sing along.  I breathe.  I rejoice.  I am.
4.              I respond to someone’s deadline.  Very few things are more motivational than having an agenda set by someone else, such as my boss, the IRS or my daughter’s little league coach.   The only problem with this is that, unless I align other people’s purpose with my own, I often feel stressed and out of integrity.
5.               I respond to my own deadlines.  This is what I’m doing with my blogs.  I have a goal to have 150 written by July 1, my birthday.  No one imposed this on me.   This is my choice.  It creates some stress, but it’s also fun. I’m glad I’m doing it.  I’ve raised my own bar.  I may not even make it, but I’m having fun trying.  It keeps me focused. 

All of these work alone, or together in any combination.  They all allow me to be in Purpose.  They allow me to be present.
So there’s the time management.  Now what’s the vision?  What do I want for my life?  I’ve written this several times, but I can’t be reminded too often.  I put my vision in the present tense in order to be more present with it
1.     I am peaceful and joyful as long as and as often as possible.
2.     I am in a healthy relationship with God.
3.     All my relationships are healthy and mutually loving.
4.     My children are spiritually and emotionally healthy.
5.     I have enough money to provide for my children and grandchildren.
6.     I write, teach and speak in order to inspire as many people as possible.
7.     I study and learn in order to grow intellectually, emotionally, spiritually and professionally.

There it is then – a time management system and a vision.   A constant and consistent eye on these should create a successful life.  They should help me to Get Started and Keep Going.