Self-Management for Entrepreneurs – Managing Ourselves Review – Part 2
I don’t have time. Where did the time go? Time stops for no one. If I only had an extra hour. I’ll have to find more time. Make more time. If I could only manage my time better. Time. Time. Time.
Time, particularly in the Western world, appears to be a scarce resource. As an entrepreneur and father of four, I try to make the most of every minute. But it wasn’t until I read Managing Ourselves that I ever gave much thought to the concept of time, and managing our time.
Ari begins the chapter on Time Management for Lapsed Anarchists by giving a brief history of time, and the way we associate with it. It wasn’t until the late 8th and 9th centuries that modern clocks began making meaningful appearances in the Middle East.
Six or seven hundred years ago having a clocks was a sign of social significance and wealth. Most of these clocks were very inaccurate. It wasn’t until the late 17th century that clocks became much more accurate with the invention of the pendulum clock. And it wasn’t until the 16th century minutes appeared on a clock.
Time seems to govern so much of our lives today, and yet we rarely take time to understand what it is and how it works.
The Three Types of Time
“No matter what we do or dream, time will not alter its course. While it’s true that time doesn’t stand still, it is incredibly consistent. We can change the way we measure it or the way we relate to it; but at the end of the day, time is what it is. Although people frequently profess to have “run out of time,” it’s actually the other way around – time runs out on us.” – Ari Weinzweig
According to Russian Christian anarchist Nikolia Berdyaev, in his 1916 essay, “The Meaning of Creativity,” there are three types of time:
1. Cosmic Time – the natural cycle of the sun rising and setting.
2. Historical Time – the unfolding of day and years marked by events we perceive as meaningful.
3. Existential Time – visually represented by a dot. It refers to a specific event as it is experienced.
For me, understanding time from these three perspectives really helped shift my focus from managing time to experiencing each moment as it passes. As a result of this new view of time, mindfulness matters more than ever.
Four Ways to Enhance the Quality of Your Relationship with Time
After an insightful explanation of the history of time, Ari then moves into four ways to improve our relationship with time.
1. Devote Meaningful Time to Time
“One of the most effective ways I’ve learned to spend time on time is by engaging in reflection. Taking a few minutes to look back on what’s happened, to assess what your actions have attained, how they correlated with your intentions, and how you felt about the whole thing, can be a great help.” – pg 278
2. Draft a Positive Vision of the Future
“When your relationship with time is as close to ideal as you can imagine, what will it look like? …How will you measure success? How will you feel about it yourself and about others you interact with around time? What are some stories that will tell you it’s working?” – pg 278
3. Make the Most of Every Minute
“I don’t mean that you have to get a lot of financial return for what you do. All I’m advocating is that you get what you want from what you have. This isn’t about anyone’s judgment but your own. That might mean you’re playing video games, going fishing, getting an MBA, running for Congress, reading a good business book, reviewing minutes of the First International Anarchist Conference in Amsterdam (in 1907) as I recently did; or just ambling around aimlessly.” – pg 282
4. Be Appreciative – Make Every Day a Holiday
“I try to wake up each morning like a kid on Christmas morning – excited to find out what gifts the world has given me.
With all this in mind, I work hard to actively appreciate everything: each of the great people I get to work with, the really wonderful customers who come to us every day, the kids who experience their birthday with us, the amazing foods we get to sell.” – pg 287
In the next part of the chapter, Ari lays out 15 practical tips on making better use of your time. All 15 are worth reading and studying. However, for the sake of time, I’m only going to highlight a few of them.
#2-Budget Your Time
“Doing a time budget isn’t all that hard, nor is it particularly time consuming. But without one, you’re setting your schedule adrift where it’s basically at the mercy of the world’s madness and other people’s manic behaviors.” – pg 291
#4-Just Do It – The Quicker You Get to Something, the Less Time it Takes
#9-Don’t Let Perfectionism Slow You Dow
“Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves; the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough – that we should try again.” -Julie Cameron – pg 299
#14-Avoid the Time Wasters
“There are people who do not know how to waste their time all by themselves. They are scourge of active people” – Louis de Bonald – pg 301
“Seriously, it may sound mean, but learning to successfully steer clear of the time wasters in life can be one of the biggest time gains you’ll ever make.” – pg 302
#15-Finish by Putting Things in Writing
“…what’s said and what’s remembered is only rarely the same thing. Rather than get into long arguments, I just try to write things down to reduce the time it takes to sort it all out.
Taking time to confirm the details of your conversation later in writing, over email, or in whatever form works for you can contribute huge time gains to your week.” – pg 302
I wanted to conclude Part 2 of this review with my own words, but I honestly feel the way Ari closes out this chapter on time management is far more interesting…and valuable.
“I’ve never liked the idea of living each day as if it’s your last. It seems to encourage a rather irresponsible, good-people-gone-wild kind of mindset, a careless and chaotic, if not downright cataclysmic, approach. The other extreme – putting off all pleasure until you reach some far-in-the-future date with desire – isn’t all that helpful either.
The middle ground is more my style. I approach things as if I have only a couple years left to live. Mind you, it’s a rolling two years, so each day I move the deadline out a bit. And I don’t act like I’m really dying, just as if my time might be running out in a few years.” – pg 304
If you haven’t already, I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of Managing Ourselves!
In Part 3 we’ll cover Secret #36 – Making the Most of Our Lives. Until then…make the most of your time! 😉
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