Monday, January 16, 2017

Should You Use a Clock or a Compass?

There is an ongoing and never-ending debate around time management. We spend so much time on trying to make the best use of time that the time we spend doing it may not be time well spent.  But, there is a reason for that...

Time is so valuable.  

It is probably the most valuable thing we have as humans. However, time's value will not be covered here.  You can learn about the value of time by reading Time & Money.

So, with time being considered our most valuable and limited resource, how you use it, manage it, maximize it, waste it and enjoy it has an enormous impact on your life.

There are two basic schools thought on how you should look at your time.  The Clock and the Compass.

We learn to use the Clock early in life.  We learn to stick to a schedule. School life introduces the bell as the signal that the time is over or just beginning.  It depends on your attitude.

Recess is ending or class is beginning.  How you decide to look at it is a personal choice.

We learn to read a Clock well before we ever even learn what a Compass is.  The Clock becomes a focal point from the earliest years of our lives and persists into our adulthood.  We learn to be on time.  We learn what being late means.  And then we teach our children about it.

As you enter college and the workforce time management becomes a factor in how successful you are.  How much can you fit into a day? What needs to get done?  What would you prefer to do?

The decisions around time are endless.  So, to organize ourselves we get a planner and a Google Calendar.  Many of us get fooled into thinking these tools will solve all our time management problems.  Then we get frustrated when we learn that these tools are using up more of our time.

Where does it end?

It doesn't.

As we get older time just seems to fly by.  We turn twenty and we still have plenty of time.  Then we wake up and we're thirty.  

Wow, what just happened?  But, before you can answer that question you're turning forty!

We are all busy and time just keeps blurring by.  We all experience the frustrations of not having enough time to do the things we need to do. Or, want to do.  There is an answer for that.

Prioritize and just work on the most important things.  If you are blessed enough to wake up the next day, you can continue on with the next to-do list you make.

To make the most of every day you need to use the Clock.  Plan out what you need to do.  Try to fit it in the time slots in your planner and just do your best.  That is all you can do.  And, watch the Clock.

But, this is not how you plan your life.

When you are planning your life, the really big things in your life. You need to use a Compass.

The direction you're going is always way more important 
that how fast you get there.

The earlier in life we learn this concept the better.  If you don't start paying attention to the direction you're heading until later in life, you have less time to get there.

Consider John Ferolito and Don Vultaggio.  In 1971, they started selling beverages out of the back of an old Volkswagon.  They set their Compass and started heading in a direction and kept that direction for 43 years. The result?  The Arizona Beverage Company that was valued at over $2 billion in 2014.

John and Don obviously had to manage their time everyday using a Clock.  But, there were probably plenty of days when there was more to do at the end of the day than there was Clock to do it.

But, they kept their direction set in the Compass and it paid off.

The next time you sit down to fill in your planner or Google Calendar, look at the things your doing.  What direction are they taking you?  Is that where you want to go?

Another consideration you may make is to look at what you did today or yesterday or for the last week.  It was probably not what you planned because things don't always work out.  And, that is okay.  But, think carefully about the activities you chose to do.  If you kept doing those things, where will you end up in a year, ten years, or more?

Have you been using a Clock or a Compass?  

What will you use now?

Share your thoughts in the comments.  And, please share with friends who may benefit from this.

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