A Secret For Managing your Time

Two nights ago, I was digging through a box of old junk, searching for an item for a Dale class starting on the 27 of this month. While doing so, I came across my personal copy of Super Self, Doubling Your Personal Effectiveness, a book written and published by Charles Givens back in 1993.

As I thumbed through the pages and perused the content, I could easily identify all of the points I had considered important back then by the marked up pages, the notes in the sidelines and the highlighted text. Some of what I had identified back then seems to be common knowledge in today’s environment. Some of it, however, just seemed irrelevant for the times that we live in now and the information we have concerning human behavior and performance development.

Nevertheless, I was amazed at some of Givens’ insights and the observations.

For example, Givens wrote about strategies to control your time. Hey, it’s your life and your time. Why not take control of it. But to do that, we need to first know what we are currently doing with it.

Givens started with the basic assumption that everyone has the same number of hours per week, 24 hours a day for 7 days giving 168 hours a week.

He then goes on and starts subtracting time for the mundane but necessary activities that we need to do. For example, he assumes that the average person sleeps 8 hours a night. Personally, I think that number is way to high, but lets say it's right for now. That comes out to 56 hours out of that 168 leaving 112 hours in the week to get things done.

Then he assumes that it will take the average person about an hour in the morning to get prepped for the day. That is from the time the opportunity clock goes off to the time we get our bodies out the door. For those of you with children, it will take a little longer. But for the sake of argument, we’ll hold to an hour to shower, shave, brush the teeth, comb the hair, eat breakfast and find the keys.

He also assumes that the average person will take about 30 minutes to rewind the process at the end of the day before going to bed. That amounts to 1.5 hours for 7 days, or 10.5 hours out of the week.

If we take out those 10.5 hours, we are left with 101.5 hours out of the week.

Then there is the commute to and from work. Givens assigns 45 minutes to a one way trip or 1.5 hours round trip for 5 days during the week. I know that if you live in California, that commute can be upwards of 2 hours… one way!

I once did some work for a guy who lived in the Central Valley and commuted 3 hours one way every day into the Bay Area. Why? Because the Central Valley was the only place where he could find a decent house at a reasonable price.

Anyway, 1.5 hours for 5 days amounts to 7.5 hours out of our week leaving 94 hours.

Then there is work.

Givens assumes an 8-hour workday with an hour for lunch for 5 days or 45 hours out of our week (again, a number that is way low) leaving us with 49 hours to use.

Then he assumes that the average person will spend about an hour every day eating dinner for 7 days. Obviously, the man never heard of the Happy Meal or Dashboard Dining. But lets go with it and take out another 7 hours for dinner. That leaves us with 42 hours (less than 2 days) in our entire week to devote to the other stuff in life like:
And we haven’t even included the things that are really, really important to us like our personal dreams, goals and personal improvement.

As I looked his analysis, something struck me. There are 45 hours taken out of play because they are devoted to work.

Givens’ wrote and published his book back in the early 90s when we were just coming out of the money centric 80s.

Think "Wall Street", Gordon Gecko, and his speech on how greed is good for America.

People worked because they wanted money. And they worked for money so that they could have the time and freedom to do what they wanted, and the power and recognition that came along with that. The focus was definitely on getting a "good" job and moving up the corporate ladder.

Problem was that most of the people who lived in that era woke up from that dream and found that the ladder of success that they were so busy climbing was leaning up against the wrong wall. Oh, they got what they were striving for, but when the actually got it, they discovered that it wasn’t really what they wanted, and they didn’t enjoy the journey in getting it.

I know so many people who just woke up one day and walked away from six figure incomes because they weren’t feeling fulfilled and they didn’t like the person that they had become.

What if, that 45 hours you spent on the job, was actually time that you enjoyed? What if you were actually learning something and doing something that was aligned with your goals, dreams and vision?

You probably wouldn’t spend your time trying to manage (or cram) your life into that leftover 42 hours.

Here is a suggested course of action:

Take 2 to 3 hours out of that leftover 42 hours in your week, sit down and ask yourself, "What is the vision I have for the rest of my life? What do I want to accomplish in the time I have left in this world? What do I want to do, be and have and how can I use my resources to make it happen?"

Once you have identified what is important to you, you will be amazed to find the rest of your resources, like your time, being aligned to assist you in reaching those targets.

In the Leadership Training for Managers, program, we do an exercise with value identification. In that exercise, we give the participants a set of value cards where they can identify and rank the values that are important to them. If you go to www.dcarnegietraining.com next week, you will find these values listed on our site for you. Take the time to identify your values, rank them in order of importance, and then create your vision of the life you want to live, filled with the stuff that gets you excited.

You can’t steal too much time from the 56 hours you need to sleep. Studies have shown that doing so can shorten your life span. But you can align those 45 work hours more along the way you want to conduct your life.

Remember, it’s your life and life is too short to be miserable.

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