You can get more of almost anything you want. If you want more money, you can earn it. If you want more stuff, you can buy it. If you want more friends, you can find them. Heck, even hair can be substituted with implants, wigs or extensions!
But no matter who you are or how much money you have, there’s one thing in this world you can’t get more of: time.
There’s a great quote by author William Reilly that says,
“Everything requires time. Time is the only permanent and absolute ruler in the universe. But she is a scrupulously fair ruler. She treats every living person exactly alike every day. No matter how much of the world’s goods you have managed to accumulate, you cannot successfully plead for a single moment more than the pauper receives without ever asking for it. Time is the one great leveler. Everyone has the same amount to spend every day.”
You and I and everyone else on this planet have the exact same amount of time—24 hours in a day. So how we manage it becomes a major factor in our ability to be successful. And while success is defined differently for everyone, there are really only three types of people when it comes to time management:
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Type #1: The Busy Person With No Time
Being busy isn’t a bad thing. This type of person has a lot going on! They have many wonderful responsibilities, relationships and commitments that are important but, unfortunately, no time for anything else. As the saying goes, they’re stretched a mile wide and an inch deep. The problem comes when they don’t have any free time for rest, creativity or strategic thinking. And because they’re busy all the time, they can only be moderately successful. And eventually, they’ll become frazzled, stressed and exhausted.
Type #2: The Person That’s Not Busy
This type of person has a ton of time, which is great for new possibilities, but they don’t have much else going on. Most high-achieving people enjoy having many irons in the fire and would rather be slammed than slow. Having time is a good thing, but only up to a point. Not having anything going on is an indicator that they’re missing out on many of the responsibilities, relationships and commitments that would add value to their life.
Type #3: The Busy Person With More Time
The person in this group is represented by the small, purple overlap between the two extremes. It’s the smallest section because it’s the hardest to achieve. This person is both busy with important commitments and strategically saves time for recovery and new possibilities. Extremely successful people often fall into this category.
So How Do They Do It?
Successful people make it into this last category because they control their time on purpose. They are proactive instead of reactive, and they manage their time and commitments instead of their time and commitments managing them. They are the most successful because they maximize their limited time by efficiently filling it with things that they decide are important, and by not letting themselves become maxed out with no room to spare. They intentionally leave room in their schedule for new options and new possibilities to enter.
Make no mistake, this doesn’t happen by accident. Every decision this type of person makes is strategic. Every time they say yes to a commitment or no to an invitation, it’s intentional.
"Every time successful people say yes to a commitment or no to an invitation, it’s intentional."
So How Can You Do It?
If you want to be successful at managing your time, you have to begin by operating like a successful person. Carefully chose what fills your time and what defines your version of busy. Then cut some activities out that aren’t as important. This is easier said than done, but when you do it, you will actually begin to feel like you have more time.
Ultimately, successful people manage their time on purpose and with intentionality. Because at the end of the day, when time is the only thing you can’t get more of, it’s the most valuable thing you’ve got.