Either you run the day or the day runs you;
either you run the business or the business runs you.
Although self-bossers are quick to realize that having control of their own time is one of the great rewards of self-employment, using time wisely may be a new skill we need to acquire since most of us have spent a fair amount of time following schedules set by others who told us when to arrive at class, the office or the dinner table.
Go For Balance
Travel writer Rick Steves says, “When you let your time become money you cheapen your life. One measure of a culture is its treatment of time. In the United States time is money: we save it, spend it, invest it and waste it.”
This can be a difficult attitude to get over, but the key may not be to manage our time, but to balance our lives.
“Whenever our schedules become disproportionate, our energy drops,” Doreen Virtue points out. “Lowered energy creates the illusion that there isn’t enough time in the day, so a vicious cycle of time limitation ensues….Balancing your life between work, play, spirituality, exercise, and relationships helps you to grow and feel joy.”
Being self-employed gives us a head start in creating the balance Virtue talks about.
Check Your Priorities
It’s only with regular and frequent reviewing of our priorities that we can create a life that reflects what we value most. Otherwise we get swept along by chores, tasks and the demands of others.
In his book How To Get Control of Your Time and Your Life, Alan Lakein shares his simple method for setting priorities on a daily basis. Once you’ve written down your To Do List, you give each item an A, B, or C rating.
A items are the most important; B items are those you’ll get to if the A items get done; C items may just be busy work. Eventually, C items disappear altogether as we focus on our most important activities.
Sometimes our true priorities dictate that we be obsessive about a single task until it is done. At other times, our priorities may be to have lots of variety of activities in our day.
The important thing is to know what truly matters and then set up each day to reflect that.
60 Minutes did a story that illustrated how little attention is given to creative idleness. The piece was a study of the young people known as Echo Boomers, children of the Baby Boom generation. Now reaching their late teens, this group has grown up with jam-packed schedules and endless encouragement to be team players. Sadly, many of these kids are at a loss given unscheduled time on their own.
Staring out a window or walking in a woods is not necessarily the sign of a slacker. Writer Anna Quindlen concurs.
She says, “Downtime is where we become ourselves. I don’t believe you can write poetry, or compose music, or become an actor without downtime and plenty of it, a hiatus that passes for boredom but is really the quiet moving of the wheels inside that fuel creativity.”
Successful entrepreneurs master the fine art of woolgathering.
So don’t ditch your Day Planner or Palm Pilot, but do give attention to alignment, balance and creativity in arranging your moments.
After all, you put yourself in charge when you decided to go after a dream and only you can decide if you’ll move closer or farther away minute by minute by minute.