astronomical clockWhile sipping a quad-shot Americano at Starbucks today, I noticed a young woman reading a book on Time Management. She was thumbing slowly through the book, stopping every now and then to read a passage. While watching her, I wondered how successful she was going to be in her endeavor.

Managing Time. What a thought. Let me ask you a question, can time be managed? Believe it or not, the answer is…. no. Time cannot be managed. Time is a concept created by man to measure the passage of… well, time. I don’t want to get too ethereal, but time is relative. A day is measured by how fast the Earth turns around its axis. A year is determined by how long it takes the Earth to circle the Sun. A month is determined by the Moon’s rotation around the earth. Can you control or manage time? No. It is what it is. Based on how we calculate time, you have 1440 minutes in a day… just like everyone else.

So, why do we try to control it? To get more done? To be more efficient? To become happier? If anything, those that try to control time tend to be more driven to succeed and all this tends to do is create stress, not relieve it.

Your goal should not be to manage time. Your goal should be to do the things that are important to you first, and save the less important things for last. Think about it. That is all you have to do. You don’t have to buy a planning system, a calendar or a PDA. You don’t have to buy a book on time management. These things will help you get organized, but won’t help you manage time. All you have to do, is focus on what is most important to you first.

By trying to manage or control time, many of you are trying to become something you are not. You are probably struggling with getting things done around the house or at work. You can’t find enough time to get all the things done that you want to. I have a reality check here…

You are getting done…. exactly what you want to!

Say what?! Yes, you read correctly. If you REALLY wanted to get something done, you would. It would be at the top of your list, and it WOULD get done. It isn’t getting done, because you haven’t placed it at the top of your list for some reason. Case closed.

If at the end of the day you find yourself wishing you had more time, I want to know why? Why are you trying to cram 28 hours of work into a 24 hour day? Perhaps it isn’t time you should be trying to control, but your ambitions. Of course ambition is a great thing, but perhaps… just maybe… you are trying to do too much. There are a lot of statistics to back this up, especially if you have kids. Who says you have to have your kids in piano, soccer, dance and the girlscouts? Why do you have to have the house spotless before going to bed? I know several women who just can’t sit down until the house has been vacuumed and mopped every day. My point – some of our desire to manage time is self imposed. Perhaps the answer is to slow down just a tad and enjoy the ride.

Well… here we are. Bottom line. You can’t control time. All you can do is to do the important things first and ensure you aren’t biting off more than you can chew. Do these things… and life will become less stressful and you’ll find yourself much happier and content.

All the best,
All the time,
JT