The secret to time management comes down to two realities.
The first reality is this: You can’t do it all. You can’t do everything you want to do. You can’t do everything you need to do. And you certainly can’t do everything everyone else wants you to do.
Once you embrace this truth, you can manage the time you do have with a little more confidence and a lot less guilt. Remember, your time is finite. You will always have to make choices—the key is in making the right choices.
Which brings me to the second reality: If it’s important enough to you, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.
Maybe that second reality seems a little harsh. Maybe you know what’s important to you, but you can’t seem to fit it into your busy schedule. Or maybe every waking minute is taken up with your kids, your job or one of your other many responsibilities.
I get it. I have the same dilemma.
But when I’m feeling stressed and frustrated because I’m not spending time on the things I most care about, I take a look at my schedule. It’s pretty eye-opening to see what gets my time. And if I’m honest, there are plenty of other motivations that creep to the top of my priority list:
- Pleasing people
- Chasing accomplishments
- Pursuing perfection
- Seeking approval
- Feeling needed
If your time isn’t going toward your true priorities, take a look at how you currently spend all those minutes and hours. They may reveal something deeper about you. Because whatever is most important to you will always make it to the top of the list.
Dave Ramsey says it best: “I can tell by looking at your bank account and your calendar what you care about. Because that’s where you spend your time and your money.”
The problem with managing our time (and our money) isn’t that we aren’t doing enough. And it isn’t that we’re doing too much. It’s that we’re doing the wrong things.
So start doing what’s right for you by realizing you can’t do it all and by focusing on what means the most to you. Once you embrace these two time-management realities, you can start to schedule your life differently. And the really important people, activities or goals can have the most limited, valuable gift you can give—your time.