No Sorry There Isn’t Any

Time.

Everyone wants it. No one has enough of it.

We all want to manage it.

But here’s the problem: Time can’t be managed. Time is just an idea, a construct. Time just is.

Einstein said that time is relative. He talked about a space-time continuum.

More recently physicists have hypothesized that time is all laid out on a palette, on a landscape before us: past, present and future.

I think time is more like the wind. We can feel it blow across our face. We can see its ravages in the mirror and in the faded photos in our drawer. We can perceive its impact on the lives around us and upon the world we live in.

But you can’t grab hold of it. You can’t contain it. You can’t wrestle it to the ground.

You can’t command it to stop. You can’t get more of it.

And you certainly can’t ever hope to manage it.

That’s the bad news.

But there is a sliver of good news.

The good news is that you can manage you. And when you do that, you will become a master of your time.

Becoming a master of your time means getting clear on what you value most and then choosing – consciously choosing – continually, courageously relentlessly choosing – to devote your time to what matters most. And saying no to all the rest.

I’m not suggesting that this is easy. Of all the issues that challenge our private coaching clients, and all of the business leaders and professionals with whom we work, this ‘time management’ thing is the most challenging of all.

But getting it ‘right’ is crucial.

Because the sands run quickly through the glass.

Because there is no time.

Because at the end of our lives, none of us is going to wish that we had ‘spent’ more time in the office, billed more hours, accumulated more miles, closed more deals, seen more clients, sold more products, networked more, Tweeted more, or updated our Facebook status more frequently. What will matter will be the experiences we have had, the lives that we have touched, and the love that we have shared. What will matter will be whether we have fulfilled the deepest longings of our hearts, whether we have spent ourselves, not on the urgent, but on the important; whether we have lived without regret.

I want you to become a time master.

In the next few days, I am releasing my second book, The Power Principles of Time Mastery: Do Less. Make More. Have Fun. It’s chock full of tools, tips, strategies, exercises and templates that will engage you and empower you to take charge, to choose well, and to become a master of your time.

I have a special pre-publication offer. Go here to order your signed copy today. (Put the word INTRO in the Promo Code box)

While there’s time.

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Time Management for Losers

I’m working feverishly this week to complete a draft of my book on time management; so I have no time to write! Here is a great guest post on the topic from the inestimable Ann Sheybani:

A long time ago, when I was selling photo copiers for a living, I met an older woman who gave me a piece of advice I will never forget.

“Darling,” she said, smoothing back her hair with steady hands, “there’s a time and a place for everything.  You can’t do it all at once, no matter what they say.

My husband at that time was working at the University of Connecticut as a temporary professor. One of the perks as his spouse was the ability to take free classes, which I thought I should avail myself of.   I was feeling a thousand years behind the curve because I’d just returned from living in Iran, and I was beginning all over again.  I was banging on doors from 9 to 5 in a 70-mile territory; I had two small children at home, a marriage on the rocks; and I was convinced that I should drive an hour each way, maybe three times a week, to further educate myself.

So, there I was at a print shop, waiting for my sales appointment, when I ran into the elegant older woman who gave me that advice, who told me I should give myself a break and forget the classes until my kids were older.

What she’d done after her children had grown made her words memorable. She and her husband sold their house, moved to Switzerland, and studied together at the Carl Jung InstituteAt 60, they moved back to the U.S. and opened a booming psychiatry practice. In each of the stages of her life, including the one as a Mom and housewife, she’d felt happy and fulfilled.

I think our generation struggles so with the Super Woman mindset: This notion that we should be able to do it all, have it all, be it all, then balance it all, NOW, NOW, NOW, in order to be enough.  

We consider ourselves fucking losers lazy if our house isn’t spotless. If our children aren’t adorably talented, our career impressive, our abs six-pack-alicious, our sex-life worthy of Penthouse.  If we don’t have a couple of side businesses, a book on the bestseller list, and a circle of hilarious friends who meet for brunch on Sunday mornings wearing Gucci.

It’s why we keep looking for THAT ONE time management secret that will help us pack it all in.

I believe we can have it all, just not all at once.

This coming from someone who operates a couple of businesses, climbs big mountains, runs ultra-marathons, writes, speaks, coaches, and travels the world like it’s my job.

We’re human beings AND there are only 24 hours in a day. Something has got to give. Let me be more precise: Something WILL give.

I’m highly suspect of people who claim to have all aspects of their life totally under control. I tend to chalk up much of that bullshit to spin. I wonder how they managed to cover up their stint in rehab, or their gruesome 3rd divorce, or the fact that their kids haven’t spoken to them since 1996, that sort of thing. But that’s probably just me being bitter.

I do believe that you can have a lot more, and that there are some really valuable tricks of the trade when it comes to having it all—secrets that are worth bending an ear for: drawing boundaries, saying no, asking for help, delegating, repurposing, drop kicking perfectionism, and so on, and so forth.  (I mean, I coach on this topic.)

But I really think the only way to forgive ourselves for not winning the Master of the Universe Award is to set some priorities, priorities based on our highest values, and let the other stuff go to hell, at least for the time being.

Otherwise you walk around in ratty pajamas all day feeling totally defeated, and hopeless, which is so not how you want to do this gig.

My kids are grown and out of the house.  I’ve done the heavy lifting there. And it’s true, what that wonderful stranger said, I have time, now, to pursue all those things I was chomping on the bit to do.  All those things that would have felt unbelievably overwhelming way back when.

I still have to choose, EVERY SINGLE DAY, what I’m going to focus my time and attention on, and what will get waaayyyyy short shrift.   So, sorry, if you’re looking for balance, it ain’t here.

  • Today I’m writing, and my house looks like looters have ransacked it.
  • I’ve been focusing on building a business or two, and my memoir is gathering dust in the bottom drawer.
  • I bought a house in Ireland, and my marathon training is spotty at best.
  • I’ve conducted some great on-line writing courses, and my friends can’t remember the color of my hair.

But that’s OK.  Because I know that the in-basket is always full, and that there’s a season for everything.

And that it’s not a crime to use cliches. Thank God.

 

This is my garage.  It needs help.

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Ann Sheybani is a success coach, author and speaker. Visit her popular website at: www.annsheybani.com

Huckle Buckle Beanstalk

How do you know if you’re getting close to finding something you seem to have lost… or locating something that seems to be hidden?

Well, when you were little, maybe you played huckle buckle beanstalk (or perhaps you called it ‘hot & cold’).  You played it like this: If you were getting close to finding the missing object, the person who knew where it was would say ‘you’re getting warmer;’ and when you were moving away they’d say, ‘you’re getting colder.’ And if you were right next to it… nearly on top of it, there would be a scream of delight and the exclamation, ‘you’re getting hot… you’re really hot.’

Well if you’ve lost your way, if you’re feeling off the path, and floundering for a sense of purpose, you can do the same thing.

Stop and ask yourself:

  • What excites me?
  • What makes me happy?
  • What would I do even if I weren’t being paid?
  • Where do I lose track of time?
  • Where does it feel like pure flow?

Where is it that I feel the heat, the pull, the draw?

THAT’S what you should be doing. THAT’S your purpose.

That’s where you are on fire. That’s where you’re HOT.

This past week, I had the opportunity to share an hour with a coaching colleague of mine, Tara Baldwin, for a webinar entitled: “Living Your Life On Purpose: The Key To Abundance, Prosperity & Freedom.”  When you have a chance, check it out:

Purpose matters. When we lose our sense of purpose, we become dispirited and unresourceful.  With a clear purpose, anything is possible. We become unstoppable.

Howard Thurman once said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Be alive.

Why Wrong Is Right

Mistakes, wrong turns, blind alleys: they are part of the adventure.

I thought about this as I paddled on into the driving rain…and darkening sky.

Hours earlier we had ventured out onto the Killarney Lakes in kayaks. Even with a map in hand, the exit from one lake to another – the route to our pick-up destination – was ‘discreet’ and difficult to find. Two or three times we missed it… paddling windward into blind cul-de-sacs, only to turn around and try again…and again.

What started out as lighthearted fun turned into a bit of an epic… as adventures sometimes do. But it was difficult to feel too sorry for ourselves wandering around as we were in the magnificence of the National Park, surrounded by mossy forests and dramatic hillsides. We were beat for sure by the time we were done. But the wrong turns had allowed us to see more and experience more and enjoy more of this incomparable beauty.

Would that we could take this perspective into other areas of our lives! We (you can read this as ‘I’ or ‘you’ or ‘someone else not me’) often get pissed off when we make mistakes that take us off our intended course, that require extra time, that take us down paths that don’t appear to lead us to our destinations straightaway. They seem to ‘cost’ us; they appear unnecessary; we consider them ‘wasteful.’

But maybe they’re just part of the adventure. Maybe they allow us a fuller experience of this wondrous journey of our lives. Maybe we might discover something new along the way… if only we might see it differently.

‘Mistakes,’ ‘and wrong turns’ led to the discovery of penicillin, the invention of the pacemaker, and the ubiquitous post-it note… to name just a few life-altering ‘ah-has’ down what might have appeared to be blind alleys. DSC_0640

Maybe the delay at the airport will lead to a chance meeting with your next business partner or boss. Maybe the wrong turn will lead you to the site of your new home. Maybe getting stuck in traffic will give you that rare chance to connect with your daughter, listen to a beautiful piece of music, or just be still.

Maybe these things that look like errors or wastes are really opportunities.

Yes, let’s go with that frame this week.