By Dr. Ollie Malone, Guest Blogger
I am often puzzled by those people who struggle with time management—you know them: they have too much life and too little time. They have no time for the things they say that are most important, despite having the same 24/7/365-6 that the rest of us have. Perhaps you are one. Having been one of them myself, I understand the challenge. As professionals, the hours and demands never seem to end. As a married professional, the demands include a spouse, a family, and often, community, civic, or church commitments.
And after devoting years to teaching people countless “time management” techniques to unsuspecting souls, I have come to the conclusion that the problem or challenge is NOT managing our time better—it is managing our lives better. The time that you and I have is the same time that everyone else has—the difference is that some of those others have discovered what their purposes are–and they manage their time consistent with that identified purpose. In other words, your problem is not a time management problem. Your problem is a purpose management problem.
If you would address this dilemma, then, I would suggest three things:
- Find your purpose;
- Jealously operate within your purpose;
- Periodically review your purpose.
Find Your Purpose
For most of us, finding our purpose is simpler than we realize. The challenge is, we don’t often see ourselves as objectively as others do. For that reason, you may need a good friend to help you find your purpose. In order to find your purpose, ask yourself (or others),
- What does it seem that I was put on this earth to do?
- What are the things in my life that, if money were no object, would consume far more of my time than they do currently?
- What seems to light me up, get my juices flowing, or bring out the absolute best in me?
If you can honestly answer those questions and others like them, you are likely well on your way to finding your purpose. If you can’t answer those for yourself, find others who know you well enough and will be honest with you in answering those questions.
Jealously Operate Within Your Purpose
Once you’ve discovered your purpose, own it. Tell yourself, “This is why I’m here!” “This is why I’m worthy to take up good air on a daily basis!” “This is my gift to the world, to others, and to myself!”
[tweetthis]Clarity of purpose enables you to shout: “This is why I’m worthy to take up good air on a daily basis!”[/tweetthis]
[tweetthis]”My purpose is my gift to the world, to others, and to myself!”[/tweetthis]
And more than reciting affirmations of that nature, you must operate with that purpose as central to your existence. If several days have passed and you haven’t done anything that lines up with your purpose (and you’re not in a coma), then I would question one of two things: a) Is that really your purpose? Or b) Why do you allow yourself to be distracted from that which, by your own confession, is the reason you’re still hanging around on earth?
Minimize those things that take up valuable time and are inconsistent with your purpose. If there are those whose purposes line up with the things you’d like to discard, delegate those tasks to them. Finally, some things that consume valuable purpose time are simply worthless and should be deleted without delay. Eliminate these.
Periodically Review Your Purpose
There are those who believe that one’s purpose never changes. This may be true, but I have found in my own life and in the lives of others, that one’s purpose may shift and take on different dimensions than it may have at one point. For example, a very good friend of mine whose name is Debbie, has often seen herself as a nurturer, an encourager, a developer of people. This purpose was seen by those of us who knew her in college since she was often a listening ear, an encouraging word, and one who would challenge us to “step up our game” in certain areas of our lives. As we grew as adults, Debbie married, had two sons and was able to leverage that purpose in their development. As they have grown, left the home, married, and begun their life’s work, Debbie’s focus now shifts to young women who had children at a young age, are learning to be effective mothers, while also figuring out their own lives. That one purpose has taken Debbie through many years of life and many lives of impact.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Does my life reflect what I believe to be my purpose?
- Does that sense of purpose still excite me and give me a reason to get up in the morning (or stay up late at night)?
- What, at this stage of my life, may need to change or be refined (including my fundamental purpose) in order to be more ‘on-point’ with regard to my purpose?
One of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves is the gift of clarity. You can begin your gift of clarity with being clear with regard to your purpose—and then acting from that sense of purpose.
Here’s to the life you want to live: one filled with purpose, one empowered by purpose, and one where purpose adds richness and meaning to your existence.
Dr Ollie Malone is a passionate, purposeful, practitioner who, despite a ton of academic background, believes that the best use of theory is to make us more thoughtful doers, not more thoughtful thinkers alone. You can follow him on twitter @DrOMalone
(c) 2016 Dr Jeanne