Without a compelling reason, Time Management tools are useless.
Make lists, prioritize, execute in sequence, shut out distractions, hold your mind still; buy this planner, this tool, this app, this calendar, and this alert system. Get this person to call, to mentor, to inspect; devise this plan and this schedule to reward yourself. Do this for two weeks or three weeks, or make this habit and that. Set yourself such a discouraging, expensive, and unpleasant consequence for failing to manage time, that you will banish the thought and stick to your time commitments.
What works? Nothing! Nothing works for all people at all time, and some tools do work for some people for some time. Some people manage their time and never need tools or apps, or anyone else’s help. What’s the difference? The difference is at the core of the people.
Survival, not achievement, drives human priorities. For millions of years, humans have survived by applying intelligence to changing conditions. Even plants know how to adjust to change. In the morning they open for sunshine, but if there is rain, the flowers don’t open. Neither humans, nor plants, or animals have time management tools. They all survive by a hierarchy of priorities.
If you want to maximize your achievement by mastering time management, get a fix on your priorities first. People fail at time management because they don’t fix clear priorities. For many, particularly in affluent nations, priorities are not clear because they have no compelling reason to change. There is no hungry lion chasing them to run hard to survive. We are all relatively comfortable. We get food, shelter, safety, justice, and pay.
A job provides a sustainable living, passing grades will lead to a degree; mediocrity and average performance are good enough. Whatever the regular work routine provides is enough to meet daily needs. Then why take risks and why worry? Why take on additional stress? For what?
Many prophets preach about how to find passion and motivation – how to find the compelling reason. Finding the “why ” catchy slogan for your compelling reason. If you have a compelling reason, you will use your intellect to reach the top of your capabilities. You will use your time and energy to propel your progress. You will turn questions into quests. You will turn curiosity into discoveries. You will turn dead ends into innovations. You will burn boredom into fire to rocket upwards.
Where will you find your “why” or your compelling reason? Simon Sinek has written a series to answer this question.
In ancient texts and in new age populism, the inspiration is the same. Start with your reality. Seek your truth. Find your passions. Calibrate your commitments. Know where you are and know what you must do. No parent, manager, teacher, or mentor can set your compelling for you. No one knows your internal gears, likes, dislikes, what you learn with joy, what you hate with a passion, the tastes you like, the colors that turn you off. Your compelling reason must arise from within you. Start by looking at your lived life. Recall when you were on achievement fire. Who was around you? What were you striving for? What did it do for you? Measure your life’s ups and downs. Forget others. No matter what happened in other’s eyes, know that you are a winner and are winning now! You are alive, aren’t you? Then you are a winner.
When you know your compelling reason to change, you will get going. When you are on your way, then the tools can help. Tools can help better manage life’s three constraints: 24 hours, one body, and depleting energy. Focus on the compelling reason, and you will become a picture of a time-efficient magnificent machine.
To grow a fragrant flower or a full flavor fruit, the botanist does not tinker with the flower and the fruit. She directs her genius to the soil, water, and sunlight. If you want to be a time-efficient magnificent machine, look inside to find your why, what is your compelling reason.