How to apply the cardinal rule of time management

This world is demanding that you reach your potential and become the person you are destined to be. It took me a while to come around to the belief that this world needs you. But it does. We’re interdependent beings with innate talents to impact the world in a positive way. The question, of course, becomes, how do we tap into our unique talent and do this?

An entire industry around self-management exists because time management and forming habits take an extraordinary amount of discipline. It’s not exactly fun and certainly, there are plenty of distractions along the way. Try this. Do that. If you’re not focused and committed, you will not reach the big goals you have for yourself. That’s a loss.

I’ve found that when all of us are operating with our God-given talents, with the utmost energy and exertion of our mental and physical faculties, the world is a more harmonious place, filled with greater vigor and vitality.

All of us are great at wasting time. Many of us hold doctorates and advanced degrees in procrastination. And it’s nothing to be proud of. Next time you can catch yourself while you’re wasting time and ask yourself this question:

“At what cost am I wasting time?”

In other words — who is really paying the price for your wasted time? Believe me — there IS a price to pay for wasting time. You lose out on future gains. So do your loved ones and the people that form your inner-circle, because those people benefit when you are improving and growing.

Someone else; your competition, your contemporaries, are getting better at your expense. Even if you don’t know them and they don’t know you. Even if you don’t view them as your competition. Someone else is taking the idea you are meant to give to the world and using it for a great value. At the very least, you’re not the one doing it.

And both you and the world are poorer because of it.

How to Plan Around What Matters Most

The key to great time management is planning around what matters most to you and tying emotion to what you intend to accomplish. To understand what matters most to you, start with this simple exercise:

  • People
  • Desired Goals
  • Values
  • What You Consider Success to beOnce you have clarity around these pieces of your foundation, you’re able to dive deeper and get specific so that you can plan your day, week, year, and beyond. But you must have a target. You absolutely have to build in the emotional attachment to find the inner-motivation that you need to plan time and execute off your schedule to reap the greatest benefits.

If you’re not emotionally invested or interested in the people and things that are in front of you, then you’re going to struggle mightily to manage your time. As a result, setting habits and further making commitments will be virtually impossible. Whether you’re addicted to the process, the feeling or the end goal, you must feel something. You must spend your time doing something that matters.

Or you’ll find yourself living with a lot of regrets.

Making Your Mark

Procrastination and wasting time is a gradual effect that can lead us down a terrible path. It certainly seems hard to believe that this is true, in a single moment, but the cumulative effect is damaging. Am I striking a chord, yet?

When you waste time, you lose time. As Napoleon Hill famously wrote,

“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.”
I can confirm he was right. The world needs you. The excuses you speak over your life today are guaranteed to delay your future prospects for success. So, what is at risk and what exactly is the cost? A life of freedom. The surrender and relinquishment of your dreams.

That’s all.

Here are another one of Mr. Hill’s most powerful quotes. These are some of the most motivational, gripping words I’ve ever read. This is a call:

“In conclusion, may I remind you that life is a Checkers board, and the player opposite you is TIME. If you hesitate before moving, or neglect to move promptly, your checkers will be wiped off the board by time. You are playing against a partner who will not tolerate indecision!”

My intent is not to intimidate or scare you, but rather to inspire you. Each time I read it, I get the chills and I feel its gravity in all that I do, and all that I hope to become. I take it as a competitive challenge, one only meant in the spirit of making me — and you — realize that it’s our time to make a move for good reason.

Think about it the next time you find yourself struggling for direction during moments of doubt. Think about it as you take inventory and look back on this year, and on to the future. Where are you going? What’s your next move? What matters most to you?

Figure it Out

Maybe you have a plan to launch your entrepreneurial career while taking significant steps forward to establish the life you desire for yourself. You have to be consistent. You must do what you say you will do… EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. You have to believe.

Everything begins with a thought, which is then backed by faith and desire. This foundation is imperative. In order to get to the hard work and all the “doing,” this structure is absolutely required! Then, you can put together your plan. Then, you can set your goals and objectives, mix in persistence, consistency, smart work, and dedication to your craft.

You can become an expert on time management by drowning out all the noise and focusing on what matters. These are the steps that will take you from mediocrity to productivity. Follow this and don’t delay incorporating it into your life. It will make all the difference.

This article originally appeared on Medium.

Join my newsletter for emotional intelligence and productivity content! Get a FREE Coaching Call to Explore Your Emotional Intelligence, and Learn how to Achieve Your Biggest Goals! Check out my Amazon bestseller, The Value of You, which has helped tens of thousands of people develop the game plan for living their best life!