Time, Choices, Organization & Habits

Time. I had a friend of mine tell me you can’t stop time. Which is true. No matter what is happening it has to end sooner or later. Tick tock, there goes your clock. As an athlete time is a precious commodity. The more time you exercise odds are the better you will be. But no one is fortunate to have unlimited time. If it’s 15:00 and you find yourself 2 hours behind, you can’t stop the clock, you can’t rewind it and start over. This is especially true if you are a triathlete. It’s already a time consuming sport with training, especially if you are doing long course races. Add in work, a family, social obligations and suddenly it may seem that all your time is accounted for. If you want to spend more time doing A, that time has to come from B or C or D, or from all of them. You can’t invent more time, you can only spend it more wisely. You can’t avoid spending time, so spend it very wisely.

Which leads to choices. Everyday you to make a choice. You have to choose how to spend your most precious commodity. Think of it as your bank account. In and out, debit and credit. You have X and can’t spend X + Y. There is no overdraft fee. You can choose to spend more time working out but you have to debit it from something else. You can choose to spend an extra 30 minutes in bed, but how will that impact the rest of your morning or afternoon? What is something goes wrong late in the morning. You’ve chosen to spend 30 minutes sleeping in, now something is choosing for you to debit you another 25 minutes. Suddenly it’s 2:30 and you realize it should only be 1:40. You spent 50 minutes that you can never get back. No overdraft fees to save your ass. Now you spend all afternoon rushing around, trying to get everything done and you are forced to spend even more of your time in the evening catching up. Your initial 30 minute investment in sleeping in became a debit in your time account for later in the day, or your family time account or your work account or your working out account. After you add in depreciation you might have actually spent an extra 30 or 45 or 60 minutes all because you choose to delay what you could have done straight up. Before you choose to spend that time you will never get back, you should spend 1 minute thinking about the ramifications of your choice. What happens if A or B happens, how does that impact others, what negative connotations will this have what positive connotations will this choice have? Maybe you still choose to sleep in, maybe you choose to get up, what ever you choose to do, choose to spend carefully.

Since you have a finite amount of time, what are a few things you can do to help you spend less and/or get more for the time you do spend? Get organized. Don’t delay, do what needs to be done now and do it now. Don’t cut corners. I never really appreciated my grandfather, Dad or Mom telling me to do it right the first time. But now the wisdom of those words are clear. Spending an extra 3 minutes now can be like an interest bearing checking account, you get 5 minutes back since you’re not going to have to spend another 6 or 10 minutes fixing what you should have done the first time correctly. You should figure out a system that works for you. I use a white board, actually I use a couple. But on my daily white board I have every one listed I need or want to call or email that day. I have every schedule that I need to write that week. There are notes jotted down about what needs to happen, what needs to be accomplished. I’ve put down appointments like going to the dentist, or if I’m heading out of town. The white board becomes a living extension of my day, add and subtract to keep me on track. This helps me so I can make the choices I want on where to spend my time instead of being forced to choose where I want to spend my capital.

Finally developing a few habits can help you in your organization, the choices you have to make, where and how you are going to spend your time. Do you drink coffee every morning? Fill up the coffee maker, set the timer and have it ready for you so you don’t have to do it every morning while you are trying to workout then get to work. In years past I used to wake up, run, walk the dogs, boil water for tea while making breakfast, then eat in the office while doing email and my computer work. I would get home in the evening and always had about 10 minute of work left to do on the computer. I did it in the car. Once done I never had to worry about spending my most valuable asset on that computer work in the evening. it became a habit. That habit enabled me to put a credit in the time account to use before bed.

Now you’re probably thinking that sounds great but my life is chaotic. I have news for you, everyone lives in chaos. It’s how you choose to handle that chaos. You can be rational or you can screw yourself by adopting a whoa is me attitude. You can be disappointed about how your days went or you can choose to make yourself more habitual, choose to spend wisely. You can choose to be more organized and give yourself a greater chance of spending your time the way you want to.

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