Category: Blog

The Secret to Time Management – HYPE

Don’t do what you sincerely don’t want to do. – Ernest Hemingway

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There are all sorts of opinions, and myths, about Millennials (the generation born between 1980 and 2000)  and work. Yes, it’s true that Millennials have different professional values, but certain things don’t change. There are timeless principles that apply to every generation.

As a young professional or entrepreneur you need to make intelligent decisions about how to best allocate your most precious resources: time and energy. This post is about the non-renewable of the two. (A future post will discuss the other key personal (and renewable) resource we all have: energy).

The challenge that everyone (and every generation) faces is how to understand and allocate time.

The fundamental truth is that time just is and cannot be managed (only you and your priorities can be managed), this is the essence of effective self- and priority-management. If you can understand this, and make daily choices that respect this truth, you will get more of what matters done and be healthier, happier and more effective – and who doesn’t want that?

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The simple fact is: you’re too busy, or overwhelmed, because 1) you’ve said “Yes” too much; 2) you don’t know know what you (really) want; 3) you want to be and 4) you don’t know how to manage yourself effectively.

Let’s take them in order:

#1 – If you have have too much to do it’s because you taken too much on. Everyone has the same amount of time; smart people learn to say “No” to things that aren’t truly a priority. Of course, they do it in a nice and respectful way, but they have clear and strong boundaries.

#2 – If you don’t know what you want, you’ll likely do all sorts of things; some you to do, many you don’t. When you get clear about what you want you can easily make decisions about what to do and what not to do.

#3 – You’re in charge of you. Whatever you have is a result of what you’ve done and haven’t done. If you’re (too) busy it’s because – some how, some way – you want to be.

#4 – Most people who are overwhelmed don’t have good habits. Their systems-of-life either suck or are hidden to them. So much of what we do is habit. Therefore, if our life is crap it’s largely because our habits are crap.

Jump (Because You Have Wings)

If there is a fear of falling, the only safety consists in deliberately jumping – Carl Jung

So often we don’t take risks because we’re afraid things won’t work out. We may not have that conscious thought, but the truth of not taking action or a risk that fear keeps us stuck.

There’s a very good explanation for this (our emotional brain values self-preservation over all else, and we rarely undertake voluntary change), but I want to offer a thought that just might help. This thought will be in the form of a personal story.

I’m not a good networker. Or at least I’m not good at approaching people I don’t know. I’m also not good at small talk.

I recently read something that gave me an idea (Chapter Five of Steve Chandler’s new book): what if my reluctance to “show up” and “network” was 1) based on need and 2) was framed non-resourcefully?

What if I could understand my motive better, and look at the situation differently, more resourcefully?

Well, guess what!? I can. And I am.

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My insight has to do with the quote above. One issue I was having was that I was afraid to jump because I wasn’t sure anyone would catch me. I was basing my decision to “jump” (i.e. network . . . ) on whether people would like me, or be interested in my services.

That’s a needy place. And needy is yucky. Desperation — in any form — stinks.

The truth is I have wings and can jump without fear. My wings are my ability to serve and be useful. I don’t need to be “caught” if fly on my wings of service.

The item bit is reframing what I am there to do at a “networking” event. When I go there with the intention to serve, to be curious and learn about other people, then I can shed all the anxieties and shame that come any expectations I may have about being good enough, or clever enough or smooth enough. I don’t have to worry about “small talk” because I there to connect and learn about people.

I am there to be open and of service. How can I be of service?

Just by being friendly and curious.

Anyone can do that.

Because everyone has wings.

Be Anti-Status-Quo

Any regular reader of this blog knows I am a big Seth Godin fan. I just read another great post on his blog (you can read it here).

In the post he talks about the resistance of (certain factions in) business to important changes. One example being the elimination of child labor and the complaint that doing so would eliminate profit and ruin businesses. It didn’t happen, nor did it happen any of the other times “business” faced important challenges to their status quo.

I want to put this idea on a personal development context.

We as individuals often do the same thing. We resist making changes that promise growth and advancement and justify that resistance by saying that “making that change would change things too much,” that it would “be too disruptive, even ruin things.”

Of course, some changes are ill-advised.

Most are not.

As a coach I help my clients to tell the difference. And I help them navigate the gap between where they are now and where they want to go.

Key to this journey is knowing your Self.

When you have clarity about who you are, what you want and why you want it, you can discern between the things that merely frighten you and those changes which are truly wrong for you.

Without that clarity, without having done that work (and continuing to do that work, over the course of your life), you’ll be stuck in “safety” which is often not safe at all.

Be A One-Footer

Huh? What’s Matt on about now? A “one-footer?”

I was watching a Brendon Burchard video where he was talking about limiting beliefs and how they don’t really limit us, unless we focus on them to the exclusion of other thoughts. It got to me to thinking.

There are people that drive their cars with one foot on the brake and one on the accelerator, all the time. Even when they are not braking, they rest their foot on the brake. If you’ve ever been behind someone and thought their brake light was stuck on, this is likely what’s happening.

The problem is: 1) they are always activating the brakes (because they are actuated by hydraulics) to some degree and 2) they are stuck in a mode of having to modulate two disparate acts whenever they want to slow down or speed up (mentally this is taxing, even if they don’t realize it).

It’s much better to just use one foot. I drive a standard and the only thing I use my left foot for is the clutch. My right foot is either on the accelerator or the brake (or neither, like when I have the cruise control on). So, I’m either accelerating or I’m braking. There’s no ambiguity.

So it can be with our thoughts, especially our beliefs.

If you’re always driving around with your foot on the brake you’re likely creating (some measure of) constant drag. But if you only use the one foot for both braking and accelerating you’re doing one or the other. And that’s the critical bit.

In life we need both the accelerator and the brake, but mostly the accelerator. When we largely focus on moving forward, our lives work. Yes, sometimes we need to slow down, maybe even stop, but then we always get going again.

Needless drag is just that. When you drive, just use the one foot (it’s safer too!) and do the same in life: brake when you need to, don’t when you don’t.

Be Where You Are: Savor

Whether or not we realize it, when we’re in an enjoyable, positive situation, that is about to end, we have a choice: to either be present and savor the time left or jump to the future, prematurely lamenting the end of the wonderfulness.

Choose to be present.

Choose to savor.