Time Power: The Philosophy of Time Management

03/03/2023by dang tin0

The Philosophy of Time Management

‘‘It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy.’’ GEORGE HORACE LORIMER

To be fully rounded as a person, you need a philosophy of time management. You require a worldview recognizing time as the invaluable, indispensable, irreplaceable ingredient of a successful, happy, highly productive life. You need an attitude toward time as something more than the clock or the calendar.

How do you go about developing a philosophy of time management? First of all, you take a long view. Look as far into the future as you can. All truly successful people are those who have long time horizons. Sociologist Dr. Edward Banfleld from Harvard University wrote a groundbreaking book in 1965 called The Unheavenly City. In it, he explains the results of his many years of research into the reasons for upward social and economic mobility in our society and other societies.

The Best Predictor of Success

Banfleld’s research was devoted to uncovering the reasons for financial success and the predictors of social class in America. He wanted to know what behaviors would most likely lead to increases in wealth from one generation to another. As part of his work, he studied factors such as education, intelligence, family background, race, occupation, and personal attributes. He found that none of these were accurate predictors of upward social mobility.

Many people ranked high in one or more of these factors, but they still failed to move up during their working lifetimes. Many of them actually experienced downward social mobility. They ended up earning less than their parents did at the same ages, and sometimes considerably less.

Banfleld flnally concluded that there was only one factor that could accurately predict whether you were going to move up ward and onward flnancially and socially. He called it time perspective. He deflned time perspective as the period of time that you take into consideration when making your day-to-day deci- sions and planning your life.

Think Into the Future

Banfleld found that successful people were those who had a long time perspective. They planned their lives in terms of five, ten, and even twenty years into the future. They evaluated and determined their choices and actions in the present in terms of how those choices might effect them in the distant future, and the consequences that might occur as a result of what they did right now. It is traditional among the British upper classes to register their children at Oxford or Cambridge as soon as they are born, even though they won’t be attending for eighteen to twenty years. They flll out the applications and go through the registration process for their children exactly as if they were going to attend in the next semester. This is an example of a long time perspective.

In America, many parents open a college savings account for their children as soon as they are born. They then add to this account regularly for many years to ensure that their children can get the very best education possible when they grow up. This is also an example of long time perspective.

The Common Attitude of Achievement

This attitude of taking the long view seems to be common among most men and women who achieve a great deal in the course of their lifetimes. The longer your sense of time perspective, the more likely it is that you will do the sort of things, and make the kind of sacriflces in the short term, that will lead to greater success in the long term. Your thoughtfulness about time today will tend to increase your income and your social standing in the future.

The reverse is also true. As you move down the social economic ladder, the time perspective at each level becomes shorter. When you arrive at the very bottom of the social pyramid, to the hopeless alcoholic or drug addict, you flnd a time perspective of less than an hour the time it takes to get one drink or one shot. Often the time perspective of people at the bottom of society is only a few minutes. They do not think beyond the moment.

The average hourly worker has a time perspective of about two pay periods. The salaried worker has a time perspective of about two months. As you proceed up the socioeconomic lad- der, the time perspective lengthens until you reach the most respected people in society, such as the family doctor.

The Most Respected Profession

In every study that asks individuals who they consider to be the most respected people in society, the family doctor ranks at the top. More people look up to and respect the family doctor than any other professional in our society. Why? It is probably because we recognize that these people spent eight, ten, or even twelve years of study, internship, residency, and practice to reach the point where they can become our doctors.

The average doctor in America earns $132,000 per year. He will enjoy high earnings and higher social standing for his entire life. He will have complete job security. His children will have advantages not enjoyed by most other children. But the average doctor has spent almost twelve years of hard work and sacriflce preparing himself to earn that kind of money and achieve that level of social status. This is an example of long time perspective that most people recognize and admire.

Long Time Perspective Predicts Social Class

Many immigrants arrive in America with no money and no lan- guage skills. They then go to work at menial jobs, doing whatever they can to support themselves. But even at low levels of income, they often save their money so that their children can get a good education and have a chance at the American dream. Even though they are poor, these are people with real class. They have long time perspective.

In a way, these people starting at the bottom have better characters than people who have had all the beneflts of an American upbringing but who spend every single penny they can get their hands on with little thought for the future. Their willing- ness to sacriflce in the short term so they can have better futures demonstrates the qualities of vision, courage, self-discipline, and persistence. They have real class, even though they have little money.

You begin to move yourself upward in society the day you begin to take the long view in your own life. People who consistently save 10 percent of their income and put it away toward flnancial independence are virtually guaranteeing a higher qual- ity of life for themselves and their children. They have long time perspective.

Plan Your Life for the Long Term

Ask yourself, ‘‘What time period do I take into consideration when I set my goals and make important decisions for my life?’’ Your answer to this question largely shapes your entire future.

How far into the future do you look when you make decisions on how to allocate your time and your resources? There is a rule that says, ‘‘Long time perspective improves short-term decision making.’’ The further ahead you look when contemplating a current decision, the better decisions you will make. Your long-term success will be determined by the quality of all the decisions you make in the short term. The cumulative result of good decisions is the assurance that your long-term goals will materialize exactly as you had planned.

Many years ago, I worked for a wealthy man who started with nothing and built a fortune worth more than $500 million in real estate. He taught me to think always of owning a piece of prop- erty for twenty years when I was considering buying it. He said that if you think about owning the property for twenty years, you will be much more alert to the strengths and weaknesses of the investment in the moment.

Keep Your Eye on the Summit

The long view sharpens the short view. This is one of the most valuable pieces of advice I ever received. In your life, think as if you were on a long hike climbing a mountain. Stop regularly and look up at the summit, your eventual goal, and then adjust your footsteps to ensure that every step is still taking you in that direction.

One way of determining your priorities in the short term is to analyze the future impact of present decisions. An important choice, or activity, is one that has a potential long-term impact on some part of your life. An action or decision that is unimportant is something that can have little or no effect on your life or future.

Reading a book, listening to an instructional audio program, or taking a course that teaches you something valuable are examples of activities with a high potential future impact on your ca- reer. On the other hand, watching television, reading the sports page, or taking a coffee break, no matter how well or how often you do them, will have no effect on your future. Remember, you are always free to choose.

Your Choices Determine Your Future

You see examples of this confusion over time perspective all around you. On the same street living in two houses of similar value will be two different families. Each family earns approximately the same amount of money. But one family has a twenty- year time perspective and the other family has little or no time perspective at all.

Over the years, the family with long time perspective will carefully save, invest, and accumulate an estate that will eventually enable them to retire in comfort. The other family, earning the same amount of money, perhaps even doing the same kind of work, but lacking time perspective, will spend everything they make, and a little bit more besides. They will end their working days with little or no money put aside.

If you were told today that unless you made some dramatic changes in the way you earn and spend, you were going to be penniless when you reached retirement, how would that affect your attitude toward your money? What would you do differently in your work and flnancial life with such a possibility hanging over your head? Well, the truth is that unless you begin to do something different with your money today, that is very likely the way you will end up. Because of limited time perspective, 95 percent of people working today will end up either broke, dependent on pensions, or still working when they reach the age of 65. Don’t let this happen to you.

Develop Your Own Character

The practice of thinking with long time perspective not only requires character, but it also develops character in the person who does it. Character is always the result of practicing self-discipline. Developing the habit of taking the long view in decisions concerning health, wealth, relationships, and reputations requires self-discipline at a high level.
Character comes from thinking continually of living with each of your decisions for the long term. Economists and sociol- ogists generally agree that the primary reason for economic fail- ure and underachievement is the inability to delay gratification. This is the tendency to spend everything you make, and a little bit more, with little thought for the future. It is a lack of time perspective with a regard to money. It virtually guarantees that you will have flnancial problems throughout your life and end up unable to retire when you reach the age of 65.

Decide today to plan and act for the long term. Practice short- term pain for long-term gain. Be willing to pay the price of suc- cess in advance, in terms of hard work, sacriflce, and delayed gratiflcation. Be prepared to sow before you reap, and often you will have to sow for a long time before you can bring in the harvest. Nowhere is this truer than in flnancial matters.

If you save and invest 10 percent of your income from the age of 21 to age 65, you will become a millionaire over the course of your working lifetime. Most self-made millionaires save 15 percent to 20 percent of their income and learn to live comfortably on the balance. You should resolve to do the same. Think long term. The quality of character that you will develop as a result of the self-discipline you impose on yourself to become flnancially independent will make you a truly exceptional human being.

Think Short Term as Well as Long Term

If the flrst part of developing a philosophy of time management is to take the long view, the second part is to take the short view. Treat your time like your life. Measure out your time in minutes, rather than in hours or days. In an article in Fortune magazine, several of the most successful and highest-paid executives in America were interviewed about their attitudes and practices toward time. Their average incomes were $1,380,000, and all of them had worked them- selves up from entry-level positions in business and industry.

It turned out that all of these highly paid, top performers treated their time as a scarce resource. They saw it as an indispensable ingredient of achievement. They looked upon it as an essential tool of accomplishment. They allocated their time very carefully.

They were very jealous of their time. They did not spend it, give it away, or use it thoughtlessly. While average employees and junior managers thought in terms of days and weeks, they planned out their days in terms of minutes and fractions of hours. It turns out that the smaller the unit of time in which you think when planning your day, the more successful you are likely to be. Unsuccessful people think in terms of whole days, or mornings and afternoons. Successful people think in terms of ten-minute blocks of time, like lawyers or accountants. They make every minute count.

Time Is Your Most Valuable Resource

Because time is your scarcest resource, you must use your intelli- gence to preserve it in every way possible and to acquire more time whenever you can. Whenever possible, you should trade money for time. The money is replaceable, but the time is not. This brings us back to David Ricardo’s Law of Comparative Advantage, which was discussed in Chapter 10. Whenever you can, you should hire people to do tasks of lower value so that you can create more time for yourself, your family, and your work. If you aspire to earn $50,000 per year, which translates into about $25 per hour, you must never do work that does not pay $25 an hour or more. If you can hire someone for $5 or $6 an hour to mow your lawn or clean your house, you should pay the money willingly to free up your time for higher value activities.

Apply this same principle to your spouse. Many of the suc- cessful executives and entrepreneurs who come through our advanced coaching and mentoring program take the lessons home and change their spouse’s lifestyle. They encourage them to hire housekeepers, gardeners, and personal assistants to do errands and go shopping. They ‘‘buy their freedom’’ so that they can enjoy a higher quality of life and spend more time with the family and in personal pursuits. The payoff for both parties is often extraordinary.

Track Your Time Usage Carefully

Keep track of how efflciently you use your time. The more you think about how you are spending your minutes and hours, the better and more precise you will become at time management. Because most people do not monitor their time usage, they are not even aware of the amount of time they waste each hour.

Get a wristwatch with an alarm that beeps every flfteen minutes. Each time the alarm sounds, stop and observe yourself. Look at what you are doing at that moment. If possible, keep a time log and make a note of what you are doing each time the alarm rings. Ask yourself regularly, ‘‘Is what I am doing right now making the very best use of my time?’’ All of life is the study of attention. The more attention you pay to the way you are using your time, the more efflcient and productive you are likely to be. The more aware you are of the fleeting nature of time, the better you will use it.

Spend Your Time Like Money

When you take the short view, you look upon every request for your time as taking away from the amount of time you have left on earth. Continually ask yourself, ‘‘How much of my life am I willing to donate or spend on this particular person, situation, or activity?

Your time is at least equal to your hourly rate. If your hourly rate is $25, that person is, in effect, asking you for a gift of $25 for an hour of your time. If someone asks you to donate your time to a particular cause or activity, you have to ask yourself, ‘‘How important is that cause or activity to me, and how much of my time and money am I willing to donate to it?’’

If a person or activity is not important enough for you to open your wallet and peel off $20 bills to give to it, you must discipline yourself not to do it. Just say ‘‘No!’’

The Wrong Job Is a Major Time Waster

Chapter 7 talked about the major time wasters in the world of work, including personal and telephone interruptions, unexpected emergencies, drop-in visitors, and unplanned meetings. However, working at the wrong job is a bigger time waster than all of these put together.
Many people are working at jobs that they are not suited for or are not suitable for them. They would rather be doing some- thing else, somewhere else, using different skills and abilities. The majority of working people, by their own admission, do not feel fully challenged by their current jobs. Getting into or staying at a job for which you are not ideally suited is one of the greatest wastes of time in life. It can rob you of some of your most pro- ductive years.
Here is a question for you: If you received $1 million in cash, tax free, would you continue to work at your current job?
To put it another way, if you were independently wealthy, is there anything that you would change about your job, your

work, or your career? If you think you would quit, or change your job, if you had enough money, this is a good indicator that you are working at the wrong job for you. You may only be work- ing at your current job because of your flnancial situation and your monthly bills and expenses.

Do the Work You Love

Here is another question: Do you love what you are doing? Only a small percentage of people love what they do, and these people are always the happiest, the most satisfled, and usually, the highest paid in every fleld.

You can tell if you are spending your time and your life at the right job by examining your attitude toward your job and your future. Do you like what you are doing enough to want to be the very best at it? If the job is right or you, not only do you want to get better and better at that job, but you very much admire those people who are at the top of your fleld. If you flnd that you have no desire to excel in your fleld, this is a good sign that it’s proba- bly not the right job for you.

Would you like to continue doing your job for the next twenty years? Do you flnd your job challenging and fulfllling? Can you hardly wait to get to work on Monday morning, and do you hate to leave on Friday evening? All successful people can answer ‘‘yes’’ to these questions. Unsuccessful people invariably answer ‘‘no.’’

There Are No Limits

There are more than 100,000 different jobs available in our economy today. There are an endless number of jobs that you could do successfully, and make a good living doing them. You never have to feel stuck in a particular position, company, or industry. There is never a job shortage for good people.

One of your primary responsibilities to yourself is to select the kind of work that you enjoy and are best suited to do. It is to flnd a job where you can use your natural talents and abilities at a high level. Your duty to yourself is to work at something that gives you joy and satisfaction. You must flnd a job that brings out the very best in you, and that inspires you to want to become excellent at what you’re doing.

The Past Is a ‘‘Sunk Cost’’

In accounting, a sunk cost is an amount of money that has been spent in the past and has no further value. It may be a piece of equipment that is broken and irreparable, obsolete, or completely useless. It could be advertising dollars just spent last year. The money spent on these items is gone forever. It can never be retrieved.

One of the flrst rules with regard to a sunk cost is that you never spend additional money to retrieve or extract some value out of it. You write it off as a loss and focus on the future. You get on with the rest of your business life.

In your career, you have sunk costs as well. These are jobs that may have taken weeks, months, or even years to learn, from which you gained considerable experience, but which are no longer of value in today’s market. You may have a sunk cost in college education or in courses of instruction and training that you have taken to develop knowledge and skills that are no longer of any use. Much of what you have done in the past in your career is a sunk cost of some kind. It has no current or future value.

One of the worst wastes of time is for you to attempt to re- cover a sunk cost. Many people take a university degree in a subject that turns out to have no market value when they leave school. They spend months, and even years, plodding from door to door, trying to flnd someone to hire them and pay them a salary for knowledge acquired that has no economic value. Sooner or later, they realize that they took the wrong courses or learned the wrong skills. Now, they have no choice but to learn new skills that have a value in the marketplace.

Be Prepared to Cut Your Losses

One of the reasons for massive time wastage, and failure in life, is the inability or unwillingness to cut your losses. Instead, you should continually remind yourself: It doesn’t matter where you’re coming from; all that really matters is where you’re going.

A major time waster is an investment in your ego. You make a decision, or a commitment of time, money, or emotion, that is not successful. Then, because of your ego, you are unwilling to admit that you made a mistake, that you were wrong, and that your decision has turned out to be in error. You then invest an enormous amount of time, emotion, and often money to cover up the fact that you made a mistake. You justify and rationalize, refuse to face the facts, and you often make yourself physically ill.

Learn to take control of your ego, rather than letting your ego take control of you. Accept that you are not perfect. Most things you try in life won’t succeed the flrst time in any case. Just say the words, ‘‘I made a mistake.’’ Admit that you made a poor choice. Admit that, if you had to do it over again, you would do it very differently. The unwillingness to admit error keeps people locked in unhappy and unsatisfying situations year after year.

Once you have admitted a mistake, you no longer need to explain or justify yourself. You can then get on with the rest of your life. You can make new decisions and choose new direc- tions. You can focus your special talents and abilities on doing things that can have a great future for you.

Take Your Whole Life Into Consideration

Put your current life, your past investments, and your sunk costs in your education and career into perspective. Ask this question: How long do I intend to live? Asking and answering this question immediately lengthens your time perspective.

Most people have never decided upon exactly how long they intend to live. They say, ‘‘I am going to live to be a hundred.’’ But they are really not serious because they have no deflnite plans to get to that age.

The average life expectancy today is age 76 for men and age 79 for women. This means that half of the population will die after they reach those ages, and half of the population will die before reaching them. Because you are reading this book, you are probably better educated, more intelligent about your health habits, earn a higher income, and much more likely to beat the averages. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to assume that you will live to age 90 or older.

The formula that insurance companies use to predict your age is to take two-thirds of the number of years between your current age and 100, and then add that to your current age. This will estimate your average life expectancy for actuarial and insur- ance purposes. If you are age 40, then 2/3 X (100 — 40) = 40. Therefore, your calculated age or life expectancy is 80 years. The big companies write insurance policies based on these projec- tions all day long, and they are seldom wrong.

Add Ten Years to Your Life

Many people are still stuck in the twentieth-century paradigm of retiring at age 65. This age for retirement was set in 1935, when Social Security and old-age pensions were flrst introduced. At that time, the life expectancy of the average working American was 62 years. Most people worked jobs requiring physical labor in those days, making and moving things and objects. By the time working people reached age 62 or 65, they would be like worn- out pieces of machinery. The average life expectancy was approx- imately 2.7 years after retirement.

Today, however, everything has changed. Most people are knowledge workers. They work with their minds, rather than with their muscles. They become sharper and smarter with age and experience. They get older and better. Simultaneously, an explosion of invention, innovation, and discovery in medicine and medical procedures has boosted the life expectancy of people in the industrialized world by almost thirty years in the last century alone.

What this means, in the simplest terms, is that the equivalent of age 65 for retirement in 1935 is age 75 for retirement in the twenty-flrst century. When you reach age 60 or 65, you will still be at the top of your game. You will be sharp and alert and possessed of all your faculties. You will be bright, creative, and enjoy high levels of physical, mental, and emotional energy. There is no way that you will want to retire to a rocking chair and just laze around for twenty or twenty-flve years.

From this day forward, think of yourself working produc- tively to the age of 75. Of course, once you become flnancially independent, you will not work because you have to, but be- cause you want to. You will work at different jobs, doing differ- ent things that allow you to specialize in those tasks and activities that you most enjoy. But it is not likely that you will ever retire. Even if you do, you will have ten extra years of active work before you stop.

Most of Your Life Lies Ahead

From the perspective of your current job, and the sunk costs of the past, what would you really like to do with your life in the coming years? Look forward and imagine that you have several decades of productive work life ahead of you. If you could work at any job at all, what would it be? If you could work in any industry, or in any part of the country, performing any particular function, and you were free to choose, what would you choose for yourself? All these options are open to you today.

Here’s a wonderful story I read in the newspaper recently. It was about a woman who had come from a limited family background and only flnished high school. Her flrst job was as a nurse’s aide. But she was both ambitious and determined. By working hard and studying evenings and weekends, she eventu- ally became a registered nurse. She took additional courses, and she was promoted. Eventually, she became a head nurse in her hospital. Meanwhile, she married and had two children.

When she was forty years old, it dawned on her that she could be a doctor, if she put her mind to it. Her exposure to other doctors had convinced her that they were no smarter than she was. She sat down with her family and told them of her dream. Her husband and teenage children supported her com- pletely. From that day forward, they took care of all the family work responsibilities so that she could return to school, com- plete the necessary courses, and become a doctor.

At age 48, she graduated with honors with a degree in pediat- ric medicine. By the time she was age 50, she was established in a medical practice working with children. She was deriving more joy and satisfaction out of her life and work than she ever thought possible.

Think About Your Future

Today, it is not uncommon to see men and women going back to college or university in their forties and flfties. They spend several years earning advanced degrees and then settle in to practice their specialty for the next ten to twenty years. This is possible for you, as well.

No matter what you have done, or failed to do, in the past, your future can be unlimited. You can decide, right now, that you are going to go to work on yourself and prepare yourself to do the kind of job that you love to do. You are going to do work that fllls you with the greatest joy and satisfaction possible. You then set it as a goal, make a plan, and start to work. You do something every day to increase your knowledge and upgrade your skills, which moves you faster toward doing the work that you were meant to do in the fleld that is ideal for you.

Sometimes, people complain that it may take several years to achieve the level of knowledge and skill that will allow them to do what they love to do. But, as I said earlier, ‘‘The time is going to pass anyway!’’ Five years from now, you will be five years older. Ten years from now, you will be ten years older. If there is something that you would really like to do that requires years of advance preparation, the best time to get started is right now. The time is going to pass anyway.

Because of the dynamic nature of the job market, the average person in America will have ten major full-time jobs lasting two years or more, and as many as four or flve different careers over the course of her working lifetime. Look at your current job and ask yourself if this is what you would like to do for the rest of your life. If it is not, then sit down and decide what it is that you would like to do, and what you would have to do to get into that position.
Working in the wrong job wastes not only your time, but your life. Working at the right job for you is one of the very best ways of living a long life of happiness and fulflllment. It is a way of ensuring that you get the greatest possible value out of your time and your life.

Perhaps the Greatest Time Waster of All

Perhaps the greatest time waster of all in life is getting into and staying in the wrong relationship. It is absolutely amazing how many people get married early in life, or begin living with some- one in their twenties, and then stay in a situation where they are unhappy year after year. They don’t stop to think that these years are gone forever. They can never be recaptured.

What is the purpose of a relationship? The simplest answer is so you’ll be happier than you would be if you were not in that relationship at all. This is so obvious that it is overlooked by many people.

Every human act is aimed at improving your life in some way, at increasing your level of happiness beyond what it might have been if you had not taken that act or made that decision. The choice of a relationship is, therefore, one of the most important choices that you make in life. The choice of the right relationship can have more of an impact on your happiness than any other choice you make. The choice of a wrong relationship can do more to destroy your hopes and dreams than any other choice.

Be Honest with Yourself

Apply the zero-based thinking question: If I had not gotten into this relationship or marriage, knowing what I know now, would I get into it again today if I had to do it over? Asking and answer- ing this question is one of the hardest yet most important things you will ever do.

If you flnd that you are unhappier inside the relationship than you would be outside the relationship, you owe it to your- self to seriously consider making some changes. Think about how long you are going to live. If you are unhappy in your relationship today, are you prepared to live with this level of unhap- piness and dissatisfaction for the rest of your life?

People Don’t Change

There is a basic rule in human relationships. It is that ‘‘people don’t change.’’ Both you and every person you meet are products of their entire lives. Starting in infancy and early childhood, people are exposed to influences that shape their behaviors. By the late teens, their values and their personalities are largely flxed. If you ever attend a ten, twenty, or thirty-year high school reunion, you will be amazed to see that, aside from the signs of aging, the people you grew up with are very much the same decades later.

People don’t change. You should never hang your hopes for happiness on the possibility that someone is going to change and become a different person. You have not changed in your entire life. It is not realistic to expect that others might change, even if they want to, or if they promise to. In fact, not only do people not change, but under pressure, they go from bad to worse. They become even more of what they already are.

Evaluate Your Options

If you decide that you would not get into this relationship again, knowing what you now know, your next question is: How do I get out of this situation, and how fast?

Remember, your main goal in life is to achieve your own happiness and to fulflll your potential as a human being. Anything that stands in the way of your becoming the very best person you can possibly be needs to be carefully examined and, if necessary, changed.

One of the most popular plays ever written and performed is Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. Toward the end of the play, Cyrano is asked why he has been so intensely individualistic his whole life, not caring about the opinions and criticisms of others. He replies with these words: ‘‘At an early age, I decided that in life I would choose the line of least resistance, and please at least myself in all things.’’

This is a profound observation. Throughout our lives, be- cause of the desire for approval and the fear of rejection, we bend our personalities and adjust our behaviors so that others will like us and approve of us. We constantly think about what we need to do to be liked and accepted. If we are not careful, we can lose our own personalities and become preoccupied with pleasing other people.

Please at Least Yourself

But this kind of behavior is a dead end. The likes and dislikes of others change continuously, and often momentarily. It is not possible for you to ever do, be, or say all of the right things neces- sary to get people to like, respect, and accept you. No matter how hard you try to conform to their wishes, you will always make mistakes, trigger their disapproval, and end up feeling foolish.

The key to happiness is to ‘‘please at least yourself in all things.’’ In this way, you can be sure that at least one person is happy with what you do and the way things turn out. Since you can never predict what will please others, please at least yourself. One of the marks of the ‘‘fully functioning person,’’ as de- flned by psychologist Carl Rogers, is that he is not unduly influ- enced by the opinions of others. A fully mature, fully functioning adult takes the likes, dislikes, and the opinions of others into consideration, but then makes his own decisions and goes his own way. If others do not like or approve of his course of action, he ignores it and carries on regardless.

The key is for you not to worry about what people think of you. The fact is that people are not really thinking about you at all. Most people are so preoccupied with their own problems and concerns that they don’t have time to think about the lives or actions of others. Set your own sails. Play your own game. Determine your own destiny. Do whatever seems to you to be the right thing to do at the moment. Please yourself. Ignore the rest.

Your Time and Your Life Are Precious

Be selflsh with your time. Remember, your time is your life, and this life is not a rehearsal for something else. Say ‘‘no’’ to requests for your time that don’t move you toward your own goals and personal aspirations. When you say ‘‘no,’’ people will often express a little disappointment or even try to make you feel guilty. Nonetheless, you should stick to your guns. Their shallow disapproval will only last for a few seconds, and then they will be off to ask someone else to donate their time or money. And you will be free.

In developing a philosophy of time management, treat your time like money. Allocate your time at your hourly rate. Use this hourly rate as a measuring tool for everything you do.

Concentrate your efforts on high-value tasks—tasks that can pay you what you want to earn. If you want to earn $25 per hour, continually ask yourself, ‘‘Is what I am doing right now the sort of work that pays $25 an hour or more?’’ If it is not, discipline yourself to stop doing it. Discipline yourself to only do work that pays what you really want to earn.

What Makes You Special

You are your most valuable asset. The part of you that makes you distinct and unique is your mind. It is your ability to think and act. Throughout your life, you should work at upgrading the quality of your thinking and improving your skills for doing the most important things you do in your work and in your life.
Invest regularly in self-improvement and in personal and professional development. Continually look for ways to increase the value of your contribution to the people who depend on you. Dedicate yourself to lifelong learning. The development of your expertise and skills through hard work and study can do more to multiply your value, and your earning ability, than al- most anything else you can do.
Personal and professional development is an extremely high- value use of your time. The future impact of self-study can be immeasurable. By developing an additional skill at the right time, you can often catapult your career to much higher levels. You can jump ahead flve years by becoming extremely good at a key skill that is very much in demand at the moment.

See Yourself as a Role Model

In developing your philosophy of time and life management, see yourself as a role model for others. Discipline yourself to set a positive example of personal efflciency for your staff, your co- workers, and your boss, as well as your family and children.

Imagine that others are looking up to you as a model of per- sonal efflciency. Imagine that you are the one who is setting the standards for time management and personal effectiveness in your organization. In everything you do, act as if you are being carefully observed by others. This will force you to be far more disciplined and controlled in your daily actions than if you thought that no one was watching.

Keep Your Life in Balance

Perhaps the most important part of both the psychology and phi- losophy of time management is your willingness and ability to keep your life in balance. Use your increased efflciency and pro- ductivity to create more time that you can spend with the people you care about the most.

The major sources of life’s joys are loving relationships with other people. The great aim of Time Power is to enable you to get more happiness and joy with the people you care about the most. Keep your life in balance by regularly asking yourself, ‘‘How would I spend my time if I only had six months left to live?’’

Once you have decided how you would spend your last six months on earth, you can then ask yourself, ‘‘How would I spend my time if I only had six weeks left to live?’’

How you would spend your time if you only had six days to live? Or six hours? Finally what would you do, who would you want to talk to, and what would you want to say if you found that you only had sixty minutes left to live?

If you only had a short time to live, the only thing you would think about would be the most important people in your life. If you only had a short time left to live, there is nothing that would be more important to you than to reach out and communicate with them in some way. Whatever you would do if you only had a short time left, be sure to include those words and activities into your daily life. You never know.

Think About Your Values

To keep your life in balance, continually review your values and what is most important to you. You will always feel the happiest, and enjoy the highest levels of self-esteem, when your goals and day-to-day activities are congruent with your values. When what you are doing on the outside is perfectly aligned with the very best person you could possibly be on the inside, you will always feel better than at any other time.

Deflne and determine your ideal lifestyle. If you were flnan- cially independent and you could organize your life in any way you wanted, what would you want to do differently from today? Imagine creating your perfect calendar, week by week, and month by month. If you could design your year from January 1 to December 31, how would you want to spend each day and each week? Where would you like to go? What sort of vacations would you like to take with your family? If your life were ideal, what time would you go to bed and what time would you rise? If you were completely free to choose, what changes would you make in your lifestyle starting today?

The greater clarity you have regarding your ideal lifestyle, the easier it is for you to make the decisions in the short term that will ensure that you create that lifestyle sometime in the future. Clarity is everything.

Four Ways to Change Your Life

There are only four ways that you can change your life. First, you can do more of some things, the things that are working well for you. Second, you can do less of other things, those things that are not working in your work and personal life. Third, you can start doing something that you are not doing today. And fourth, you can stop something altogether.

In bringing your life into better balance, the flrst questions you ask are, ‘‘What should I be doing more of—or less of—to improve the quality of my life?’’ Almost invariably, you will de- cide that you need to work more efflciently so that you can spend more time, face to face, with people you care about the most.

Then ask yourself, ‘‘What should I start doing that I am not doing today, if I want to improve the quality of my life?’’ Finally, you should ask, ‘‘What should I stop doing altogether, if I want to have more time to do more of the things that are most impor- tant to my life and goals?’’

Sit down with your spouse and children and ask them, ‘‘What would you like me to do more of, or less of? What would you like me to start doing, or stop doing?’’ They will give you ideas and opinions that can have a profound effect on the quality of your family relationships.

Divide Your Life Into Two Parts

Divide your life into two main parts, work and family. Prioritize almost all other activities as secondary to these two primary con- cerns. Instead of doing your work, plus a whole series of other activities, and then giving your family the crumbs that are left over, put your family and your relationships in the center of your life. Organize your work and all your other activities around them.

When you work, work all the time you work. Don’t waste time. Don’t chat with coworkers or sit around drinking coffee and reading the newspaper. Don’t surf the Internet. Don’t take long lunches and coffee breaks. Don’t start late and flnish early. When you work, work! Keep repeating to yourself, ‘‘Back to work! Back to work! Back to work!’’
When you are with your family, be there 100 percent of the time. Do not read the newspaper, channel surf the television, talk on the phone, or play with your computer. Instead, spend more time face to face with the most important people in your life.

Time Is the Measure of Value

The quality of a relationship is largely determined by the amount of time you invest in that relationship. You can only increase the value of a relationship to you, and the value of yourself in that relationship, by spending more time with that person. This is as true at work and with customers as it is with your spouse and your children. The more time you invest in them, the deeper and richer will be the quality of your relationship. There is no substitute for time.

Your Highest Goal

Peace of mind is the greatest human good, and the goal of all human activity. You should select peace of mind as your highest goal and organize your entire life around it. It is only possible when your life is perfectly in balance. You experience peace when you are doing what you were meant to do, with the people with whom you were meant to do it. You experience peace of mind when you are able to feel that your whole life is under your control and consistent with your own values and goals.

To achieve greater peace of mind, listen to your intuition. Trust your inner voice. The more you listen to the ‘‘still, small voice’’ within, the better and more accurate guidance you will receive. As you follow the guidance of this inner voice and this higher power, you will be directed and prompted to do and say the right things in the right way at the right time. Men and women begin to become great when they begin to trust their inner voices.

Two Types of Time

Work and family require two different types of time. Work re- quires quality time. This is where you set priorities and disci- pline yourself to focus on the most valuable use of your time. Work is aimed at achieving concrete, measurable results for your- self and other people.

Relationships, however, require quantity time. They require long, unbroken periods of time, in thirty-, sixty-, and ninety- minute chunks, or even longer, where you allow ample space for the relationship to unfold and develop. You cannot rush an important relationship. There is no such thing as an efflcient family life.

To get the most done at work, you must set clear goals and objectives, organize clear priorities, overcome procrastination, work on your most valuable tasks, and press forward to comple- tion and closure.

To get the very most out of your family and relationships, you must create large periods of unhurried time, where the most pleasurable and enjoyable moments can occur unbidden and un- expectedly.

Take Care of Yourself

Keep your life in balance by investing time in physical fltness, whether it is walking, running, swimming, or playing golf. Every joint in your body should be exercised and engaged every day. Every muscle should be flexed and stretched every day. You should engage in aerobic exercise three times a week to maintain maximum levels of physical fltness and to perform at your best.

If ever you feel that you are too busy to exercise, it means that your life is out of balance. Whenever you feel that you are on a treadmill that you cannot get off because you have too much to do, it means that you are approaching the breaking point. Whenever you feel that you cannot stop, nature is telling you that you must stop as soon as possible.
During the working day, take frequent breaks to stretch, go for a walk, and change your position. Going for a walk during the day will do more to ensure that you are alert and productive in the afternoon than almost any other activity.

Maintain High Levels of Mental Energy

In Texas they say, ‘‘It is not the size of the dog in the flght, but the size of the flght in the dog.’’ In keeping your life in balance, a paraphrase of this statement would be, ‘‘It is not the number of hours you put in, but the quality of thoughtfulness and alert- ness that you put into those hours.’’

Decisions that you make, like going to bed early and getting a good night’s sleep, have an inordinate impact on the quality of your day. When you are fully rested, you produce higher-quality work than when you are tired because you have not slept enough. When you are fully rested, you make better decisions, which lead to better results. When you are tired, you often make poor decisions, which lead to mistakes and misunderstandings that have to be dealt with or remedied, often at great cost. Fa- tigue is an enormous time waster.

Eat Well for High Energy

What you eat, and when you eat, can have a major impact on your levels of energy. When you eat a high-quality breakfast and lunch, you will be brighter and more alert throughout the day. You will be sharper and have more energy. You will be more creative and confldent. You will make better decisions and get better results when you are properly nourished. The practice of eating lightly, and avoiding sugars, salts, and fatty foods, will en- sure that you have more brain energy, and are more effective, than if you consume foods that are not particularly good for you.

Teach Your Children Time Power

Make good time management a part of your family life. Teach your children good work habits by helping them with their homework and insisting that it be done promptly, before they do anything else. In more than 8,000 studies of men and women who became high achievers early in life, one of the consistent factors disclosed was that their parents were concerned about and involved in their homework. The more children think that their parents care about them completing homework on time, the more committed the children become to doing good school- work. This habit of doing good work, and getting it done promptly, then extends into adult life.

Take Time Off to Rest and Relax

In keeping your life in balance, relaxing is often the most valu- able use of your time. Sometimes, the most important thing you can do is nothing. Take at least one or two days off from work each week, and resolve to do nothing work-related on those days. Take the time to smell the roses.

Go for a walk with your spouse, your children, or your friends. Take time to sit back, to think, reflect, and adjust your goals and priorities. Make sure that your daily activities are con- sistent with your deepest convictions. Be sure that your goals and priorities are congruent with your values.

Take time regularly to think about what is really important to you, and to make sure that the outer aspects of your life are consistent and harmonious with the inner aspects.

You Can Only Manage Yourself

Finally, in developing your philosophy of time management, continually remind yourself that you cannot manage time. You can only manage yourself. Time management is life management. Time management requires self-control, self-mastery, and self-discipline. Time management behaviors and disciplines are skills that you can learn through practice and repetition. Eventually, your ability to manage yourself and your life will become automatic and easy.

Time management is a lifestyle that must be practiced every hour, every day, all the days of your life. It is the one habit, the one discipline that is essential to everything else you want to achieve. With excellent time management skills and practices, there are no limits.

‘‘Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this something, at whatever cost, must be attained.’’

Action Exercises

1. Think long term; project forward flve and ten years and design your perfect life in every respect. What does it look like?

2. Make a detailed plan today to achieve flnancial indepen- dence by a speciflc time in the future. How much will you need?

3. Do what you love to do; determine the kind of work that would make you the happiest, then organize your life to do it in an excellent fashion. What is it?

4. Examine your relationships; make sure that you would be happy where you are for the rest of your life. If not, what changes are you going to make?

5. Take excellent care of your physical health; eat, exercise, rest, and behave in such a way that you live to be age 90 or older. What changes should you make in your lifestyle?

6. Change your life by doing more, less, starting, or stopping things in your life to improve your results, and increase your overall satisfaction. What changes are you going to make immediately?

7. Keep your life in balance by placing your family at the center of every decision and organizing everything around them. What could you do, or stop doing, immedi- ately to improve the quality of your family life?

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