Becoming Aware of Time
Some are born into wealthy families, while others into poor ones. Some possess musical intelligence, while others excel in logical and mathematical intelligence. Some have the opportunity to pursue higher education, while others never set foot in a school. Despite all the differences that can characterize our lives, we all share a common denominator. And that common denominator is time.
Time is the only resource distributed completely equally across the face of the Earth. Whether you are in Sydney or Douala, Maputo or Shanghai, Washington or Harare, you have 24 hours each day. Not more, not less. You have the exact same number of hours per day as Warren Buffet, Clara Gaymard, Xavier Niel, Robert Kiyosaki, Marissa Mayer, or Jeff Bezos.
Beyond their talents and managerial abilities, one of the things that contributes to their success and sets them apart from you is their relationship with time. It’s their ability to make the most of their 24 hours to accomplish the most crucial activities in achieving their daily major goals. So, what are you doing with your 24 hours?
Do you realize that your time is a precious and scarce resource deserving your full attention? At first glance, calling time a scarce resource may seem paradoxical, as everyone has it every day. However, the scarcity of time should not be measured solely by its daily availability. It should also be seen in its irreversibility and irreplaceability.
Indeed, time is free, but you can’t save it for later use. You can’t speed it up or slow it down. Once time is gone, it’s gone and cannot be reclaimed. That’s why you must make a daily effort to use your time wisely.
Few people can focus on the essential and concentrate on the major tasks of their personal or professional activities. It’s clear that many people have lost control of their time, surrendering to distractions, interruptions, and procrastination. Many fail to realize that their time on Earth is limited.
At any moment, you can leave this Earth. What would you like people to say about you when you’re no longer here? It’s crucial to understand that all human beings are passing through this Earth, and everything they possess today doesn’t truly belong to them. You are merely stewards of all the resources you have, and you will one day be held accountable for how you’ve used these resources. And time is one of them!
Yes, you will be accountable to your children, your family, society, your generation for what you’ve done with your time. As Professor Randy Pausch said, “It’s not the things we did in our lives that we regret on our deathbed. It’s the things we didn’t do.”
Yes, you don’t have all the time in the world! If you don’t learn to manage your time effectively, you risk regretting not being able to achieve many things that could have significantly changed your life, your family’s life, your community, society, or even the world! 1440, 1439, 1438, 1437, 1436… tick-tock, tick-tock. That’s the sound of minutes passing during your day. Do you hear the silent ticking of time that won’t return? I invite you to take a moment to pause and reflect on your time and how you use it.
Everything you do each day happens within a defined time frame. When you eat, it’s for a specific duration. When you have an appointment, it doesn’t last indefinitely. Watching TV, too, takes a certain amount of time. Procrastination also consumes your time, sometimes far too much.
Time flows, second by second, minute by minute, and it doesn’t stop or wait for you. Are you truly aware of this? I’m not asking if you know it. I’m talking about consciousness, awareness… Until you fully grasp the real value of time, it will be challenging to understand why it’s essential to take or retake control of it.
Time wasn’t created for you to endure but for you to control it to achieve great things on Earth, because you didn’t come here to accompany anyone! Yes, you’re on this Earth to make a contribution and positively influence your family, your community, and future generations. But to do that, you must truly grasp the value of time.
Yes, time has value! This is undoubtedly what gave rise to the popular expression, “time is money.” Ask a self-employed worker who bills their services by the day or hour, and they will tell you the value of an hour!
Time is much more than hours, minutes, and seconds that pass and never return. In reality, mismanaging your time can lead to lost income in your professional activities and missed networking opportunities.
Darren Hardy, the editor of SUCCESS magazine, shares in his audio coaching program “Lessons of a Lifetime” the story of a young man in his thirties who had the opportunity to meet one of the wealthiest and brightest real estate investors in Southern California. The meeting was scheduled at a renowned restaurant. Seated at a table, sipping iced tea, the wealthy investor waited for the young man.
After fifteen minutes of waiting with no sign of the young man, the wealthy investor left the restaurant, leaving his half-empty glass with a $10 bill as a tip. A few minutes later, the young man arrived and approached a waiter to inform them about his meeting.
From the description given by the young man, the waiter understood that he had a meeting with the wealthy investor who had left the restaurant just a few minutes earlier. Unfortunately, due to fifteen “small” minutes of delay, the young man had missed a professional networking opportunity that would have undoubtedly changed his life forever.
Who hasn’t been late for a meeting due to traffic or public transportation issues? It has certainly happened to you and can happen to anyone. But this anecdote simply shows that the value of time should not be underestimated. Clearly, for this wealthy investor, time held significant value. In his world of investors, time was literally money.
You must learn to value every hour and every minute given to you because it’s an opportunity to accomplish something, no matter how small. Don’t we say that “little streams make big rivers“? Yes, the sum of your small achievements will eventually make up your great accomplishments. Achieving the most important goals in your life should be your constant concern.
To achieve this, you must take control or regain control of your time. Mastering your time is what will allow you to increase your efficiency and accomplish significant actions day after day. In the rest of this book, we will explore together five steps that will undoubtedly help you optimize your use of time, increase your productivity, and take or retake control of your time and your life.
We will uniquely explore these 5 steps through the acronym T.I.M.E:
- Always write down what you need to do.
- Evaluate the time required for your various activities.
- Allow buffer times to handle unforeseen events.
- Plan and prioritize your various activities.
- Monitor and adjust your schedule as needed.
Each letter of this acronym corresponds to a step and will be the subject of a chapter in which I will provide you with principles, keys, tools, and tips that will certainly help you change your relationship with time and take or retake control of your life.
Now that you’re about to turn the page to explore in detail, chapter by chapter, each of these 5 steps summarized in the acronym T.I.M.E, I wish you an excellent reading experience!
This text is an extract from the book “5 steps to (re)take control of your TIME and your life” written by Henri M. Missola