Time is the most unforgiving component of our lives. You can't get yesterday back, and you can't write a check to get extra time tomorrow. In that sense, time management is impossible. Time cannot be managed; it just keeps marching on at the same pace regardless of what you do. Right now you are probably wondering how 2013 could have gone by so fast. But you can still improve your relationship with time, and that is the central premise behind today's year-end mind refresher:
The value of your time goes a long way in determining the quality of your life.
It's easy to fall in the trap of thinking of money as the driving commodity in our lives but it's not; it's time. If you make the right choices in how to spend the time you have in the right places, to achieve the right value for each hour, the money will follow naturally.
So even if you can't control time, you can always control what you do with it. That may seem like a subtle distinction, but it is an important one because it puts the perspective where it belongs: on you and your actions. An hour is an hour and a day is a day. Or is it? We all get the same ration and there is nothing you can do to change that. But you have all kinds of opportunities to change yourself and what you are capable of doing in those hours and those days.
You can always improve the value of your time, whether it is through deeper diagnosis and improved case acceptance that leads to greater productivity, or by strategic scheduling. And improving productivity in the practice inevitably leads to more and better lifestyle choices outside the practice. I have given a few tips on how to get the most of your time in my article, “How to Get Your Schedule to Work for You”.
To me, the ultimate goal is to get full value from each hour and each day no matter what I am doing. Whether it is time spent with my mother or my father, time spent with my sons, or time spent with my clients, I approach it the same way. That doesn't mean I place a dollar value on people, or that I rank business and family in the same way, it just means that every hour has a purpose and I want to be on purpose in getting the full measure of its worth. Even if I am doing nothing (and many people actually have a hard time doing nothing in a fulfilling and relaxing way) I want to get the most from doing nothing.
So put aside the notion of managing time and think instead about managing your relationship with it. Put your focus on improving your skills, prioritizing your goals and being fully present for each moment. If you get good at that, many of your time-crunch issues will disappear and your hours and days will become richer and fuller. The only way you can manage time is by increasing your ability to enjoy it.