Time Management: Determine Your Values

11/03/2023by dang tin0

Determine Your Values

SINCE TIME MANAGEMENT is really life management, improving your personal productivity begins with an exam- ination of your values. One of Murphy’s Laws says that before you do anything, you have to do something else first. It’s not possible to manage your time properly unless you know exactly what your values are.
Good time management requires that you bring your control over a sequence of events into harmony with what is most important to you. If it is not important to you, then you will never feel motivated and determined to get control of your time. Ask yourself this: “Why am I doing what I am doing?” Why do you get up in the morning? Why do you do the job you do? What is your reason for working where you work?

Meaning and Purpose

Each person has a deep need for meaning and purpose in life. One of the major reasons for personal stress and unhap- piness is the feeling that what you are doing has no meaning and purpose as it applies to you and your innermost values and convictions. You must always start off by asking the question “Why?”
You can become more efficient with time management techniques, but it won’t do you any good if you just become more efficient at doing something that is meaningless to you. Greater efficiency will simply increase your sense of alienation, frustration, and anxiety.

What Do You Value Most?

The next question you need to ask is, “What do you value most in life?” What do you really care about and stand for? What will you not stand for?

You will only feel really happy, valuable, and worthwhile to the degree to which your day-to-day activities are in har- mony with your values. Almost all stress, tension, anxiety, and frustration, both in life and in work, comes from doing one thing while you believe and value something completely different.

There are many reports about executives experiencing burnout as the result of the stress of their work. But people who love what they are doing, and put their whole heart into their work because it is a reflection of their values, seldom experience stress or burnout of any kind. When you are living consistent with your values, you seem to experience a continuous flow of energy, enthusiasm, and creativity. Stress comes from working at things that are not consistent with your highest values. Examine your values, your innermost beliefs and convic- tions, and ask yourself what changes you could make to bring your activities, on the outside, and your life priorities, on the inside, more into alignment with each other.

You Are Extraordinary

Realize and accept that you are a unique and wonderful per- son. Your values have grown and evolved over the course of your entire lifetime. They have emerged as the result of countless influences and experiences. They are part of your psychological and emotional DNA. They are part of your character and personality. They seldom change over time. Your job is to determine what your innermost values really are, and then to organize your life so that you are living and working consistent with those values.

Analyze Yourself

Here are four sentence completion exercises that you can use to gain better insight into the person you really are inside. Complete each sentence:

1. “I am . . .” If a stranger were to ask you, “Who are you, really?” what would be your answer? What are the first words that you would use to describe yourself? Would you describe yourself in terms of your work, your qualities as a person, your hopes, dreams, and aspirations? Select three to five words to complete the sentence, “I am . . .”
If you were to interview the people around you, the peo- ple you live with and work with, and ask them the same question about yourself, what would they say? How would other people describe you in terms of your values and the person you really are? Based on the way you behave and treat other people, what conclusions would they come to about the person you are inside?

2. “People are . . .” Think of people in general, in the world around you. How would you describe the human race? Are people good, warm, and loving? Are people lazy, devious, or untrustworthy?
Your answer will have a major influence on how you treat other people in every part of your life. It will determine just about everything you will accomplish as an executive and as a person with family and friends.

3. “Life is . . .” Your response here may seem simple, but it speaks to your entire philosophy of life. Positive, healthy, happy people see life as a wonderful experience, full of ups and downs, but certainly a great adventure overall.
One of my favorite stories is about a young man who goes to an old philosopher and says, “Life is hard.”
The philosopher replies, “As compared with what?”
As Helen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” What is life to you?

4. “My biggest goal in life is . . .” If you could wave a magic wand and accomplish a single big goal in life, what one goal, either short or long term, would have the greatest positive impact on your life? Now, complete these sentences:
“My biggest goal in my career is . . .” “My biggest goal for my family is . . .”
These are some of the most profound and important questions you can ever ask and answer for yourself. When you become clear about your answers—which will not be easy—you can then ask yourself what changes you would need to make to bring your time usage and your life priorities more into alignment with each other.
Napoleon Hill observed that life only begins to become great when we decide clearly upon our most important goal in life. What are your most important goals?

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