“Oh I would love to be able to do that, but I just have too many meetings.”
Have you ever said this to someone? How about, “You’re lucky that you have the time to do that.”
I hear that one all the time, the implication being that I somehow have an extra hour or two in my day, that in my world days are 27 hours long compared to everyone else’s 24.
These statements are born of a fallacy, they stem from the idea that the individual is somehow a passenger in their own lives, that how each individual uses their time is not something that is in their control but rather it is something that they are a victim of.
But who’s time is it?
It’s their time, it’s your time.
It’s your time, it’s your diary, it’s yours to manage; to spend, to save, to make and to waste. It is yours to do with as you please, and it may be the only thing in your entire existence that truly is.
Think about it; the only resource that absolutely everyone is given at birth, is time. It is the only resource that truly is owned by us, some are given more, some are given less, but it is the only thing that each of us has that is genuinely ours to allocate as we see fit.
And yet, so many of us refuse to take any ownership or accountability for it. Instead we come up with reasons why we have to do things with it that we don’t want to, excuses for why we can’t spend it on the things that we do want to. We blame other people, we blame circumstances, we blame the internet, we blame our phones for taking time away from us.
We abdicate responsibility for our time to anything we can think of rather than face up to the responsibility of truly taking ownership of it. Despite it being the only thing we will ever really have that is truly ours.
So what can we do?
The first thing is understand that it is ours to control, we can decide to take ownership of it decide to take accountability for where and how we spend our time. Once we had taken that step, then we can start to exert control.
We can use tools to do this; your diary is called your diary for a reason, you can block time out to do things that are important to you. You can use repeating appointments to ensure that people get the message, if they see the same block of time taken out of your diary on a daily or weekly basis they will avoid putting things over the top of it.
[My diary; with repeating appointments for breakfast, meditation, and the gym]
You can book time with yourself in other ways, putting reminders in your phone to complete tasks, such as setting up a reminder with a template to put in a journal entry.
[Screenshot of DayOne reminder]
But these tools aren’t going to get you far without some techniques.
The most important technique is the ability to say “No”, especially without actually saying “No”. This is a core principle of time management and is something that we will come on to in a later post, but for now, when someone attempts to put a meeting in over time that you had blocked out for yourself you could just try saying “I’m sorry I have another appointment at that time.”, and suggesting an alternative.
You don’t have to tell people what the appointment is, you don’t have to say “I cant’ make it because I’m going to the gym.”. You don’t have to explain how you are spending your time. It is yours to spend.
Most importantly you need to be brave, you need to set boundaries and hold fast to them. The most successful people in the world manage their time as they see fit, they don’t allow others to dictate to them what they should be doing, or when.
It is your time. Own it. Never be afraid.