The title of this lesson is probably the most over-used excuse for not showing up for an important event or getting something done on time. Perhaps you missed your son or daughter's big game they played in? Or maybe you blew an assignment due at school or at work? Or perhaps you keep putting off a promise you made to your loving partner to start an exercise routine or a dance class. Whatever it might be, we all seem to run out of time for things we promise to do or are supposed to do. But hey...there’s no need for feeling guilty about not having the time...Right? After all everyone is in the same boat when it comes to running out of time. And with that reasoning life goes merrily on.
What I have learned through life experiences is that there is enough time to do what you really WANT TO DO and especially what you really ENJOY doing. I’ve known many excuse mongers who were always short on time, yet never missed the opportunity to play a round of golf with their buddies or dare miss a game after purchasing their season tickets for their favorite sports team. Somehow they always PLANNED enough time for these activities and all other commitments would take a back seat to doing what they truly enjoyed.
Does this mean we only have time for what we really enjoy? That all things we don’t find pleasurable can be ignored or added to a procrastination list to be worried about at some future day and time? If you thought this way, you may never have the funds to afford the golf games or season tickets. But, if you were a doctor or lawyer and worked hard at your profession, you might be able to afford golf three time a week and season tickets to events every night. However, you probably would not have a very good family life or be in very good health. My contention is that a good lifestyle is all about balance!
Last weekend my oldest son described the balancing of time and life’s priorities in a very simple and profound explanation. He said “Dad, to live a good life, you have to be like a skilled juggler who spins about eight plates at the same time on eight different sticks. Each plate represents an important part of your life. For example, we’ll call these eight plates on a stick your love life, family life, spirituality, profession, proper exercise, proper diet, fun & entertainment and personal development. Somehow you have to keep all these plates spinning at the same time. If you neglect any one of them for too long, that plate falls and smashes into pieces. Keep them all spinning and your life stays in balance and harmony.” I proudly said “Wow, that’s great," to my son.
What a crystal clear way to explain balance and harmony by somehow finding the energy and the time to keep all those important plates spinning. And most importantly, avoiding the mistake of having anything you value in life crash and break into pieces. I really like simplicity and instantly knew what this week’s lesson would be about.
As a business coach and consultant, I watch my clients struggle with time management. I surely don’t have the magic bullet to add any time to one’s day. However, I place a great deal of emphasis on providing them with systems and methods to make them aware of where they spend or invest their time. I also emphasize their need to “FIND THE TIME TO PLAN THEIR TIME WISELY.” We all know that our time is a very slippery character. It’s difficult to hold on to. And everyone wants to borrow it or even worse steal it from you. If you want to live a balanced and productive life you have to guard it like a precious metal or gem. Then invest it on the activities that will bring you the best lifestyle possible.
You can be a conscientious, hard worker who devotes most of your time to your business or profession. You will hit all of your company’s objectives and perhaps make lots of money. You can consider yourself a great business success story. But if your profession is all you have the time for, your other seven plates will stop spinning and crash to the ground.
Likewise, you can spend all your time trying to have fun and entertain yourself. Catch a movie one night; then bowling another; softball; golf; sporting events; concerts; nightclubs; rent a movie; watch TV; and who knows what else. Got to keep busy having fun! There’s just no time for anything else. And down come the other plates, crashed into pieces.
To sum up this lesson, the excuse of “I just didn’t have time” is a very lame excuse. It would be better to say “I just didn’t plan my time properly!” That’s more realistic and also a more mature and responsible way to look at life. Don’t let any of your plates come crashing down. They are so difficult to glue back together. Maybe even impossible! And while you are trying to glue one plate back together - other parts of your life suffer and more plates will come crashing down. Plan your time well and keep all those plates spinning. Make your lifestyle the very BEST it can be!