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IF YOU CAN’T MANAGE YOUR TIME, DON’T EXPECT TO MANAGE YOUR LIFE

by riley harrison

It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?

Henry David Thoreau

We often plead for sympathy feeling that others just don’t understand how overwhelmed, obligated and busy we are. That may be true and you may have more obligations and less choices than others. However the question still needs to be asked “Am I using and valuing my time properly?” As busy as we may be, we still  have flexibility in the sequencing of what we choose to do. Our productivity is increased or decreased by how we organize our day. Ask yourself if the way your day unfolds is  by unconscious, mindless default or is it consciously managed:

 

  • Do you do what you enjoy before you do what is necessary? Do you prioritize play before work? If I schedule play before work (I will read my mystery novel now and plan to mow the yard later, I will probably procrastinate by continuing to read and put off mowing the yard until the next day). Procrastination never feels good, it depletes energy, whereas accomplishment of a task is energizing.
  • Do you do what is easy, before you tackle what’s hard?
  • Do you prioritize on a first come, first served basis or do you prioritize by the importance of the task?
  •  Do you do what is familiar before tackling something new?
  •  Do you do what is requested by others, before what you have chosen or selected?

My high energy, most creative period is in the morning. I use this time do what’s most important – workout and write with no interruptions. My low energy state is early afternoon. this is when I do rote tasks that require less energy and creativity: answering mail, returning phones calls and running errands.  For me when energy is low, my creativity, originality and innovation are off the radar screen. It’s time to put on the cruise control and do the routine things that are necessary but don’t require me to be at top of my creative game.

Greater awareness of how you spend your time allows you to customize and tailor your schedule and priorities to be most effective in meeting your needs. The most productive time on a project is usually the last phase before a deadline. Deadlines trigger productivity; therefore reducing the amount of time for a project may increase productivity.

Who you are is a function of how you are using your time. Who you are is your identity. The almost desperate need to always project a certain image results in wasted time and energy. Many males are locked into a can-solve-any-problem identity  and fail to realize that unsolicited advice is usually neither appreciated nor heeded (my wife has told me many times – I just want to be heard not fixed). Carl Jung often said that people rarely integrate anything told to them by others and that includes even those that pay dearly for advice. “It is the things given them by their own unconscious that make a lasting impression.” You may sometimes act as a catalyst but people have to take responsibility for their lives and figure it out for themselves. People already know what their shortcomings are. Circumstances and people will be forever reminding them. A lot of critical feedback is  inaccurate ; it can be more of a reflection of the person dispensing the advice rather than being properly fitted to the needs of the person receiving it. People really need to hear about their strengths.

 

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Melody | Deliberate Receiving July 20, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Hi Riley,
I absolutely agree that giving unsolicited advice is not only a waste of time, but can really put a stressor on relationships. And it’s not only men that do this (but they do tend to be famous for it). When we try to fix others’ lives, we’re essentially saying “step aside, honey, I know how to run your life better than you do.” It’s arrogant and rude. What we really should be doing is focusing on their ability to solve the problem themselves. Just because we’ve caught them in the middle of the process, doesn’t mean they can’t figure it out. And yep. Women tend to figure things out by talking them through, so that would be our “process”. No need to do anything but listen. You’re very wise to listen to your wife. :)

Hugs,
Melody
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riley harrison July 20, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Hey Melody,
I work with incarcerated individuals who want to change their lives and my opening line is – you have to do the heavy lifting I’m merely a catalyst. BTW reading a book entitled TURN RIGHT AT MACHU PICCHU and thought of you (Melody has spent some time in Peru). I loved your video and would recommend it to all who serious about personal growth and living life fully.
Riley
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from blogspot.com' rel='external' class='url'>Betsy Cross July 20, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Hey Riley!
Great post. I use my early mornings to do the one thing I want to be sure I get done before days end. The rest of the day sort of flows. But it really feels good to finish a project whether it be writing, drawing, or daydreaming! But no work (straightening the house, doing laundry or dishes)!
And you’re right. ” People really need to hear about their strengths.” So simple. I guess in our mad rush to share who we are we need more reflecting on the gift of the person standing in front of us. Most of the time (I was talking to a friend 30 yrs. my jr. yesterday about this) we have negative talk going on in our heads that no one sees. So a kind word that reflects how you experience that person can, like you said, be just the “catalyst” they need, NOT your expertise ’cause you’re older and “wiser”, We’re all pretty wise I think! Have a fabulous day. You got me smiling!

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riley harrison July 20, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Well thank you Betsy. If I got you smiling I would say Mission Accomplished. Hope you have a great day and please visit again.
Riley
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Galen Pearl July 21, 2011 at 12:50 am

Your series of posts of how we use our time has been hugely helpful to me. I am really rethinking how I structure my day. Thank you!
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riley harrison July 21, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Hi Galen,
I too have been rethinking how I structure my day and my life. Actually the blogs are an outgrowth of journaling and I thought I would share. Writing really helps clarify murky issues for me. Glad the posts are helpful.
Riley
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Justin from Being Human July 21, 2011 at 1:45 am

Hey Riley,
Since I began shifting my attitude in regards to my time I have noticed that I have an abundance of it now. I don’t have a 9 to 5 and never will again. I have a garden maintenance business plus my blog and I make sure that I am able to be paid accordingly so that I don’t have to trade a lot of my time for money.

If I was to give someone some really solid advice I would have to spend days to weeks “shadowing” them. Even then it can still be hit or miss.

When people come to me for coaching/consulting I never ever tell them what to do per se. What I do is provide them some spiritual comfort why they get comfortable making decisions for themselves. It’s our road, our journey, we must learn how to navigate it ourselves.

No one knows me better than me and the same goes for everyone else.
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riley harrison July 21, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Hey Justin,
Well you have certainly nailed it when it comes to coaching. Took me a long time to understand and get that perspective.
Riley
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Kenya July 21, 2011 at 10:23 pm

I’m going to have to piggy back off of Justin on this one. Everyone does have their own journey and that we all have an intuitive side that clearly speaks to us if we choose to listen and feel it. In regards to “time”. I have actually been on an energetic/universal flow that allows me to actually FEEL what it is I need to do. And this has given me more time than I could have ever imagined when trying to adjust things outside the flow before. I may not feel like doing something on my list tomorrow that I set up for today (and it may be a very good synchronistic reason for it). So I really go off of how I feel. This has worked for me. :)
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riley harrison July 21, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Hi Kenya,
I’m a trying to weight my decision making heavily in favor of what truly makes me feel good . There are many allegedly positive actions that just leave me emotionally flat. And I think that the lesson is that they are just not for me. If a thought doesn’t evoke positive feelings why think it. I know that sound very pollyannish but I really think there is a lot of merit in that type of thinking.
Riley
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Lori Gosselin July 21, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Hi Riley,
I’ve just come to that point in my life where I know when my high energy time is (morning) and when my low energy time is (afternoon – same as YOU, how about that!?!) and organize my day accordingly! I should, therefore, save blog visiting until the afternoon, after the work is done – it takes less energy, but here I am :o I find it hard on posting day not to run out and visit other blogs in the morning. Ah well. I’m still learning! Delaying gratification (worst things first) isn’t an easy habit to acquire!
But you get me thinking – every time!
Lori
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riley harrison July 21, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Hi Lori,
You are preaching to the choir of that one. Discipline and delayed gratification are not my strong suits. I’m married to a very disciplined person who works hard and plays hard. Kathy amazes everyone with what she accomplishes in a day (luckily I’m not into shame LOL).
Riley
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Jk Allen July 21, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Great message! I told my brother, who is currently in jail – that if you can’t manage something in your life…then you can’t expect it to workout for you. It’s just that simple. That message was a little more broad and general…but still the premise had some similarity.

Hope life has been well sir!

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riley harrison July 21, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Hey Jk,
It is so frustrating to try to get others to see that they do have choices. Life is hard enough already, why add unnecessary suffering with poor decisions. Wish you the best my friend and good luck with your brother.
Riley
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Stacey Herbert July 21, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Time management is probably my biggest obstacle at the moment. I have been off the clock- work wise for sometime, travelling, having nothing to do, but exactly what I want. Except, I have things I want to achieve and I realise this, “manana manana” attitude actually achieves very little. Especially when I seam to be able to find more than enough time to do many things which are of actually no real value to my life. This is something I’m really having to pro actively work on. I work best when I have a list and work through it, but this list never seams to get any smaller, lol
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riley harrison July 21, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Hey Stacey,
Well like somebody said, if you want something done give it to a busy person. I’m at my worst (productively) when there is no structure in my daily routine. Hope you get it all sorted out.
Riley
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Adrienne July 22, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Wonderful post Riley and a great topic if I say so myself. Because I am a very organized person, I do organize my time. That’s not to say that I don’t fall down from time to time because I do. Maybe I put off things every once in awhile just because I don’t feel like doing them. But I do make sure that what needs to be done for the day, gets done.

I wish it were as easy as telling someone that the choice they need to make is so and so. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work like that. But maybe over time when they read enough or listen to enough people they will also start to realize that everything they do in life is a choice. Even the excuses they make for why things don’t get done are their choices, their responsibilities. Wouldn’t this be a beautiful place if everyone realized that and then did something about it!
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riley harrison July 22, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Hi Adrienne,
I have no doubt that you are a highly organized person. I’m married to one and continue to be amazed at how much Kathy gets done. I suspect you are a high energy person and that helps. Also having the tenacity to stick with something for the long haul is a wonderful trait. Wish you the best.
Riley
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Robert Miras July 23, 2011 at 7:06 am

For more than three years now, I keep on saying that “I am busy I can’t go”. Then after I have read your article, no actually even at the beginning riley, I discovered that yeah I’m busy but in not so important things. Mostly, my time is wasted and very small amount of it goes to necessity.
This I remember my grandfather once said, ” in order to achieve your goals in a specific time, one must purchase time”. He doesn’t mean it literally, its an idiomatic expression meaning to set aside time strictly in schedule.

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riley harrison July 23, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Hi Robert,
Sounds like you had a break through moment. We don’t want important things to be held hostage by inconsequential things. Good luck and wish you the best.
Riley
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raverture from wedding favors July 23, 2011 at 10:34 am

I was really struck with your article. It is because I do not know how to manage my time at times especially that I have a part time job. It feels like I need to give up in order for me to get back on track. Well, I want to challenge myself but it seems here that I could not make it.. I am trying so hard to set a goal for me everyday, yet I am still a failure. However, it made me realize that never stop trying until you fulfill it. One lesson learned.

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riley harrison July 23, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Hi Raverture (what a beautiful and unusual name),
Goal achievement is a learned skill. Start with small goals and once you get a few victories under your belt (victories are a real confidence builder) try some larger goals. And remember failure is part of the formula for success; we have all had them. Good luck and let me know how you progress.
Riley
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Timo Kiander July 24, 2011 at 9:18 am

Riley,

Solid advice!

I also like to work during the morning hours. In fact, when I look at my task list through 80/20 rule, I want to tackle as many 20% (important) tasks before hitting the office. That way the most of the important things get done – no matter what the rest of the day will turn out to be.

Timo
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elpidio July 25, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Your article is very interesting, God give us 24 hours in a day both rich and poor, non working or working has have equal time. It’s up to us if we can manage this wisely. Honestly I’m struggling in this portion.
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riley harrison July 25, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Hi Elpidio,
Good luck on managing your time more wisely. It’s one of the keys to greater success.
Riley

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Anjana from Online Casinos July 26, 2011 at 10:49 am

It is said that time is even more valuable than gold and it even more valuable in the modern society. If we study the character of every successful person it is obvious that he has managed his time very well. You have explained all this in a wonderful manner.

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Samantha from Teeth grinding August 10, 2011 at 4:21 am

I must agree. Time is something that can’t be replaced by anything we have in this world. So the mere fact that a person can’t manage his/her time wisely, the high chances of missing those opportunity. I can personally say that sometimes I’m guilty of not managing my time properly but I see myself improving.
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Tim Ryan from naples park mls August 25, 2011 at 5:57 am

Hi Riley,
It depends on the situation, there might be things that are too important to hold off and there are things that you can delay for a few so you can finish what came first. Managing time is easy when you do it for others, but when it comes to yours, good luck.
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Scott McCurdy from vehicle tracking products September 30, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Love it Riley! How you use your time describes who you are. I am an organized person myself and I organize my time with my tasks. The problem in me is that once my task schedule is not anymore followed, my whole day is ruin. I cannot keep on track and I tend to procrastinate, which is not good. Thanks for the post!

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