There’s one thing that most of us would love to have more of. No, not money. That would be nice too, but that’s not it.
When you think about it, you can get more of almost anything you want in life. If you want more money, you can earn it. If you want more stuff, you can buy it. If you want more friends, you can find them. Heck, even hair can be substituted with implants, wigs, or extensions!
But no matter who you are or how much money you have, you can’t get more time. You and I and everyone else on this planet have the exact same amount of time—24 hours in a day. So how we manage it becomes a major factor in our ability to be successful. And while success is defined differently for everyone, there are really only three types of people when it comes to time management:
The Busy Person With No Time
Being busy isn’t a bad thing. This type of person has a lot going on. They have many wonderful responsibilities, relationships, and commitments that are important but, unfortunately, no time for anything else. As the saying goes, they’re stretched a mile wide and an inch deep. The problem comes when they don’t have any free time for rest, creativity, or strategic thinking. And because they’re busy all the time, they can only be moderately successful. Eventually, they’ll become frazzled, stressed, and exhausted.
The Person That’s Not Busy
This type of person has a ton of time, which is great for new possibilities, but they don’t have much else going on. Most high-achieving people enjoy having many irons in the fire and would rather be slammed than slow. Having time is a good thing, but only up to a point. Not having anything going on is an indicator that they’re missing out on many of the responsibilities, relationships, and commitments that would add value to their life.
The Busy Person With More Time
The person in this group is represented by the small, purple overlap between the two extremes. It’s the smallest section because it’s the hardest to achieve. This person is both busy with important commitments and strategically saves time for recovery and new possibilities. Extremely successful people often fall into this category.
So How Do They Do It?
Successful people make it into this last category because they control their time on purpose. They are proactive instead of reactive, and they manage their time and commitments instead of their time and commitments managing them. They are the most successful because they maximize their limited time by efficiently filling it with things that they decide are important and by not letting themselves become maxed out with no room to spare. They intentionally leave room in their schedule for new options and new possibilities to enter.
Make no mistake, this doesn’t happen by accident. Every decision this type of person makes is strategic. Every time they say yes to a commitment or no to an invitation, it’s intentional.
So How Can You Do It?
If you want to be successful at managing your time this year, you have to begin by carefully choosing what fills your time and what defines your version of busy. What are your most important priorities? If you establish them at the beginning of each week, you can schedule your week around your priorities versus the other way around.
Often we get to plan what we really care about when we have some time left over, but that never happens. To ensure that your time is being spent on activities that are most important to you, make them a priority by scheduling them first. And you can create even more space by cutting some activities out that aren’t as important. This is easier said than done, but when you do it, you will actually begin to feel like you have more time.
Lastly, once you’ve aligned your schedule with your most important priorities, you have to be willing and ready to protect it. If you aren’t willing to set some boundaries like saying “no” to requests that pop up or invitations that creep in, everyone else will just push you around. There will always be something more deserving of your time if you don’t intentionally put your values at the top of your priority list. It’s ultimately up to you to protect your priorities because if you don’t protect what matters to you, no one else will.
When you look around you, you will see that the most successful people manage their time on purpose. Because at the end of the day, when time is the only thing you can’t get more of, it’s the most valuable thing you’ve got.
An inspiring and enthusiastic presenter, Christy Wright has spoken at corporate events, women’s conferences, and some of the country’s top universities. Christy is also a Certified Business Coach. You can follow Christy on Twitter at @ChristyBWright, online at christywright.com or at facebook.com/OfficialChristyWright.