When my alarm clock goes off each morning, I remember a very interesting analogy: “Imagine you wake up each morning and receive a direct deposit of $86,400. The only rules are you must spend it, and whatever is not used during that 24-hour period is gone forever. What would you do with all that money every single day?” I think about this often and feel the opportunities are endless. I also reflect on the statement “time is more valuable than money.”
Growing up, I didn’t give much thought to time. Now, as a busy professional, post-graduate Rapport Leadership student, I recognize that time is my most precious resource. It cannot be saved, and once it is spent, it cannot be recovered.
The most successful and effective people have the same amount of time as I do, and they manage to write books, run businesses and have a family. When I feel there are not enough hours in the day, I focus on the people who inspire me because they take personal responsibility for their actions and are leaders of their time.
To become a leader of my time and create life balance, I implemented a simple solution to effective time planning.
First, I conducted comprehensive research on work-life balance and discovered the following:
1) Stress-related health problems have increased steadily in workers compensation claims over the past decade.
2) The new economic climate has increased employees’ workload leading to burnout and employee turnover.
3) The issue is not work, which provides sustainability for life; the issue is the belief system that working harder and longer is the solution.
4) The solution to becoming more efficient and achieving balance and peace of mind comes from developing a clear focus and determining one’s highest priorities.
Armed with this information, I put a six-month-old idea into action. The idea was to develop a time planning tool to create balance in all areas of my life by prioritizing and choosing which activities to engage in on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Since I was unclear about my priorities and didn’t know how to balance more than a few areas of my life at once, this tool would provide clarity and direction.
During Rapport Leadership’s Life Mastery course, I learned to set goals in all areas of my life: spiritual, personal, career, recreation, relationship, family, and finances. These seven areas became the foundation for my time planning tool.
Time Leadership in Two Simple Steps
Step One: I create a chart of the seven areas of my life and rank each area based on current priorities. (This may change weekly depending on different circumstances or commitments.) I write down my goals for each area and list the action steps that will help me achieve those goals.
|Area of Priority:||Ranking high to low:||Goals:||Actions:|
Step Two: I plan the upcoming week based on my priorities. After entering all my commitments and activities, based on my priorities list, I am aware of just how much time I have.
Time Leadership Outcomes
In those weeks that I choose to invest a short amount of time to plan my activities, I achieve the following outcomes.
1) Improved follow-through when I commit to a specific action during a specific time.
2) Enhanced accountability via my weekly planning sheet.
3) Increased productivity professionally and personally.
4) Balance between my regular working hours, volunteer and professional activities, and academic projects.
Since I have begun planning my time based on priorities and goals, I am much more proactive with investing my time. My awareness of how I choose to spend or invest my time has significantly impacted which activities I commit to. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I feel empowered when I invest a few minutes at the beginning of each week to plan my time based on my priorities.
Planning my time based on my priorities, and setting specific goals is helping me transform my dreams into reality. One of my personal goals is to cross the finish line in a sprint-distance triathlon. Using my time leadership tools, I have chosen an event, committed to a date, and have planned my weekly training sessions to condition my body in time for the race. I am becoming a leader of my time by planning my activities based on my priorities.
I continue to remind myself of the direct deposit analogy of $86,400 and make a daily choice and commitment to invest the 86,400 seconds I have each day, so every day counts. Since implementing this time planning strategy and treating my time as my most valuable resource, I realize the possibilities are endless!