Three Life-Changing Time Principles
Why not wake up on Monday morning and read about three life-changing time principles?! It would be the best day to implement new habits. The subject of time management is honestly fascinating to me. I’ve spent eight weeks researching to prepare for these blogs, which sets a new precedent!
Luckily for me, I would do my job as a hobby so it’s not like college. I can remember staying up late researching physics theories (Is that a thing? Science was never my strongest subject).
From podcasts and Ted Talks to websites and library books, there are infinite resources on the matter of time. (Pun intended.) The perspectives are wide-ranging and I was intrigued to learn how people spend and save it.
Time management has a strong correlation to professional organization. What we achieve in our work with clients aims to free their time so they can focus on the things that really matter. At the end of our time here on this beautiful planet, I promise you how much laundry was done will not be one of those things.
So is there a secret to mastering time?
My belief is the only Master of Time is the big G-O-D. I’m convinced the only one that left this earth having completed ALL of his to-do’s was Jesus. And don’t forget, that guy had twelve assistants.
For the rest of us mere mortals, we need a little help. I am positive if you adopt even one of these principles, your life will be changed. More than one? Big things will shift in your world for the better.
First Principle – The more stuff you have the less time you have.
Say that out loud. The more stuff I have the less time I have. This is powerful. It’s something I want all of my clients to consider when we work together. The more stuff you have, the more time it will take to manage the stuff and the less time you will have for other things. Imagine your laundry situation if you had two towels per person?
During my research, I dived into Minimalism. Don’t worry, this is not an endorsement to dump all your stuff in the trash. I watched the Minimalism documentary which I highly recommend, including the book, Minimalism: Living a Meaningful Life .
Many of the principles of minimalism show us how to pursue a meaningful life. Those with less things to handle have more time to experience life. Simply put, they don’t own books they never intend to read.
Whether you are changing religions and becoming a Minimalist or just seeking more simplicity in your life. The basic thought holds true: Time > Things
The end of the Minimalism documentary leaves you with this eloquent thought
Love people, use things. The opposite never works.
Second Principle – The early bird really does catch the worm.
Ah, the wonder of early risers. I am no stranger to a 5 AM wake up call. In college, I opened a bank at 5:30 every morning for almost three years. While training for my first half marathon, I ran at 5:45 when the summer weather in Houston was most palatable.
Fast forward to life with a two-year old and I can’t seem to find my rhythm. My daughter has been a terrible sleeper since the womb. Going to bed is like punishment to her, whether a nap or for the night. She wakes up frequently and never wants to stay in her toddler bed. Feel sorry for me yet?
Needless to say, I have yet to witness more than two nights in a row of a similar sleep schedule. There is hope for my future (teenagers sleep a lot right??) However, for those of you not in this stage of life, I recommend a couple motivating reads to consider the early riser lifestyle.
Laura Vanderkam not only has a really great Ted Talk that I refer to later but I read one of her books a few years ago that I still refer back to, What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast.
Her writing has a well-rounded approach. She avoids a preaching attitude while offering the benefits of her research points. It covers precisely what the title implies, accounting the morning routines of several socially successful icons. I mean, if Oprah does it… I’m in!
One of my very cool clients shared the book The Miracle Morning with me a few months back. This is a more direct approach and offers a step by step process on how to wake up early. While I’m pretty sure most really just need an air horn and a Drill Sargent, he does offer some valuable tips.
He recommends placing your alarm in a spot that requires you to GET UP to turn it off. I recommend taking it one step further and changing the spot often to keep you guessing in the morning. Actually you should probably just hide it and add a lock box that requires a code! A hundred bucks says you don’t fall back asleep after that!
Perhaps an easier option would be adding The Ruggie – an alarm rug (yes, that’s thing) next to your bedside!
One of the staples in my bedroom has been the Philips Wake Up Light which is a game changer when you need an alarm before the sun. I have had mine for 6 years. Hopefully your spouse is on board because everyone in the room will wake up with this thing!
And if you’re a total sleep cycle geek, the Withings Aura Smart Sleep System could be your calling. I love that it marries your sound machine, alarm clock, and sleep tracker while adding ambient light! Basically that eliminates three of your apps in one system.
Third Principle – Plan today what you want to accomplish tomorrow.
Goal setting is another favorite subject of mine. (Why weren’t these the classes I could take in college?!) I enjoy the conversation of setting goals, really digging into the why and breaking down into attainable steps.
Achieving any goal requires you to prioritize your time.
Setting goals is the easy part but as we know well, the hard part is the work in progress. The chances of a genie appearing to make it happen overnight are slim to none.
In the Ted Talk by Laura Vanderkam: How to gain control of your free time, Laura gives an awesome simplified approach to evaluating your priorities and keeping the big picture in mind. She guides you to imagine that it’s December 2017 and you are writing your own ‘Performance Review’ for the year.
What would it take to make it a great year?
On a personal level, pretend you are writing the Family Holiday Letter. (Which I’m sure is a dying art anyway with the over sharing on Facebook.) What do you want to be able to write in that letter? Which memories do you want to create with the ones you love most?
Another valuable lesson from the talk is learning how to take “I don’t have time” out of our responses. Instead of saying that, let’s try “It’s just not a priority right now.” Something more guilt releasing about the latter statement, isn’t there?
The last piece of the puzzle is to make actual appointments with yourself that correspond with your goals. Your calendar should be filled with “dates” to write, read, exercise and maybe even, organize.