By Andrew Miller, AVN Practice Growth Expert
Aware that there is so much to do and just not enough time in the day?
Does the current ‘To Do List’ feel like a impossible mountain to climb?
I’m sure this feels very familiar to many of you and, no doubt, you’ve read the books, been on the courses, followed the systems to try and improve your time management and still you’re in the same position.
The truth is that there are some really good tools and techniques out there, designed to help us run our day better, and they all have one thing in common:
None of them work.
None of them work, that is, unless you FIRST change the way you think.
Time management is not about methodologies, but mindset. The challenge is that we all have our own personal peccadillos when it comes to our relationship with time and no ‘one thing’ can help you resolve that. However, I believe that I’ve found three key mindsets that, if you can get your head around these, you’ll be a long way towards being able to make use of the tools that you’re already familiar with.
Does finding out more about them sound like a good investment of your time?
I do have to be clear that when I talk about Time Management, that is a bit of a misnomer. Time is an abstract concept, we can’t manage it. What we can do is manage our actions within that time.
Our ‘To do List’.
And by ‘To do List’, I don’t mean that scrap of paper you tick off at the end of the day. I mean the REAL ‘To do List’. The one that spins around in your head 24 hours a day, of which that scrap of paper is just a tiny subset.
Yes. That one.
We need to be clear about this as it leads us to our first point, which is this.
MINDSET #1 – YOUR TO DO LIST IS INFINITE
We absolutely have to accept that our ‘To do List’ goes on, as we suspected, forever. There is no end.
Take ten tasks off the top and another twenty add themselves to the bottom. However, this is actually a good thing. You see, there is only one group of people who have absolutely nothing on their ‘To do List’. And they’re all 6 feet under.
Which means that having a list of things to do is a sign of being alive. “To Do Ergo Sum – I have tasks, therefore I am” and that is something to be grateful for.
Personally, I find this concept very liberating, however, when I share it with others, some of them feel worse. They find the concept depressing.
I realised that there was a second mindset, that I thought inherent in the first, but clearly wasn’t as obvious as I thought. Which is this:
MINDSET #2 – YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT ALL!!
It’s infinite, you can’t do it all, even if you wanted to. That’s kind of the definition of ‘infinite’.
Yet so many people live their lives thinking that they can – and that they should. Which means they set themselves up to fail, as they’re trying to take on a truly impossible task. No wonder there’s so much stress around.
The third mindset, however, is possibly the most important of them all.
MINDSET #3 – EVERYTHING ON YOUR TO DO LIST WAS PUT THERE BY YOU
Pay particular attention to this.
EVERY SINGLE THING on your ‘To Do List’ is there because you put it there. Either directly placed there by you OR by allowing somebody else to control your agenda.
“Ah, but I HAVE to get these accounts completed before the deadline. I don’t have a choice in that.”
Maybe not now, but you did choose to take the client on and agreed to taking on the challenge.
Every action is a consequence of a choice that we made in the past. Even if that is as fundamental as the country we live in, the work we do or the children we do or don’t have.
And this is not about blame, it’s about taking control. Knowing this means that we also know that the decisions we make today will result in the actions we take in the future.
We may not be able to easily make an instant change about the current situation – but we do know that we can make changes going forwards.
No longer do we do things because we HAVE to, NEED to, MUST. Instead we do things because we CHOOSE to. WANT to.
Now we’re starting to take control of our lives.
Yes, life is an endless conveyor belt of challenges. However, we don’t have to take them all on – and we get to CHOOSE which ones we do.
When you get this clear in your head, you can then start using the tools you already know much more effectively. Time is the one commodity that we can ever get back. Once it’s gone it’s gone.
If you want to improve your relationship with time, it’s YOU that needs to change. I suggest you put that at the top of your ‘To Do List’.