Perhaps it is merely semantics, but an underlying problem I find that people have, as it relates to the success in their life, lies in a proper understanding of what exactly it is they manage. Think about it. We have time management (in fact, I present a seminar on this very topic, some of which is excerpted below), and financial management, and relational management, weight management, career management, and many, many more.
The fact is, though, we don’t manage any of those things. What we do manage is ourselves and how we relate to those things. We don’t manage time. Time clicks by, second by second, whether we do anything or not. What we do manage is ourselves, and our activities, as the time passes. We make choices as to what we will do and be involved in. The problem as well as the solution lies not with time, but with us.
So as we live our lives and pursue success, one of the keys to grab onto is the idea that the most important thing we can manage isn’t a thing at all—it is ourselves!
How, then, can we manage ourselves? Here are some thoughts.
Make sure that the above is firmly ingrained in your thinking: I only manage myself. I can choose how I will act and react in every situation. Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “The history of free men is not written by chance, but by choice, their choice.”
Know your priorities. Do you know from top to bottom what your priorities are? Have you decided what the top 10 things are that you want to spend your time on? How about with your money? Only after you know these things can you properly manage yourself into choosing to live in line with your priorities.
Learn to say no with a smile on your face. Here is where most of us fail. We do not choose to say no to those things that are not a matter of priority (the reason why is another article, and probably a few counseling sessions at that). Someone calls us up and asks us to do something for them (usually because they haven’t managed themselves and would like our help picking up the pieces), and we say, “Uh, I guess so.” Then what? We usually kick ourselves for the rest of the day. “Why did I ever say yes?” Instead, practice this: “Gee, I am really sorry, but I am not going to be able to be involved this time. I am sure you will be able to find somebody, though.” Go ahead and try it right now. Weird, isn’t it? That is because we don’t say it very often.
Schedule your priorities into your schedule, budget or whatever structure governs that particular area of your life. For example, do you have a financial budget that you yourself set? Then do you first and foremost allocate your money in that way, say, at the beginning of the month? If you do, you will eliminate even the opportunity to blow your money on impulse decisions and expenses because your money has already been committed to the priorities of your own choosing. The same principles apply to your management of time.
Remember, one of the greatest gifts God gave us is the ability to choose. And we can choose to manage ourselves appropriately according to our priorities. As we do, we will find ourselves feeling less and less of the personal pain and frustration we sometimes feel when we are out of control and not managing ourselves based on our priorities.
by Chris Widener