By: Ronnie Nijmeh
Category: Time Management
We've all heard about that famous cup and whether it's half full or half empty. People have gone on life-altering journeys and fought off bears, lions and tigers only to discover that its contents are merely a state of mind. I never would have thought that the liquid that occupies a cup would get such a grand entrance into our minds. Of course, the point is clear. The cup and its contents serve as a symbol of the differences between a positive and negative outlook. This outlook is made instantly when you look at the cup and swiftly decide just how full (or empty) the cup truly is. Ignoring this obvious revelation (it sure was a revelation when I first heard it as a child!), what about the not-so-obvious lessons of this gilded cup? This instant reaction that alters our outlook not only affects our attitudes, but it extends to matters of time management and goal achievement as well. Clock Watching In an instant we react to the rush of information that surrounds us and we decide on a mindset that helps to determine how we will live each minute. Besides the obvious benefits of a positive attitude, how we instantly react to timelines and deadlines can determine our attitude and how we manage our time. Let me give you a realistic example. Look at your watch. What did you see? Say it's 39 minutes past the hour. What is your immediate reaction? Is it a sense of panic that yet another hour has crept by? Is it that it's "just after half past the hour?" Or did you immediately think that "it's exactly 39 minutes past the hour." These three reactions present three very different outlooks. The first minimizes the value of the final 21 minutes of the hour. The second creates the feeling that there's more time than there really is. The final statement is more precise and shows the value of each moment. Quick Time Do you know what we can accomplish in 21 minutes? Quite a lot. If we focus more on what we can do instead of rounding up to the nearest hour, we can get a lot completed or, in the least, started. The problem stems from an over-emphasis on the hour hand instead of our hands and what we can do with them. Even if we get behind schedule and everything seems to be falling apart, we must focus on what we can do now, not what we cannot do tomorrow. Don't rush each minute and don't have the mindset that you have less time than you really do. Take each minute for what it's worth, not for what it adds to the hour. No Time Time keeps moving even if we're not willing to move ourselves. Giving an illusion that more time exists than what really does can cause us to be more careless than we should be. The problem stems from the belief that there's always plenty of time. Now a 9-minute time difference isn't "end of world" worthy by any means, but this example is on a smaller scale. What if, instead of 9 minutes, it was 9 days? 9 days late on a project can be a big deal and is sure to lose precious momentum. Don't create a false sense of hope that encourages you to be thrifty with your time. Be more conscious of timelines. Deadlines can rush you from behind before you even know it. Real Time This final reaction is grounded in the importance of our time and the time of others. It also recognizes how valuable each moment is. Of course, I'm not suggesting that we walk around counting seconds. Why not, instead, be realistic with our time? It tends to avoid panic and it respects time for what it's worth. Don't rush the day away and don't lose a complete sense of time. If you catch yourself rounding up the hours, stop and correct yourself. If banks don't round up your pennies to the nearest dollar, you shouldn't be so indiscriminate with your time either. We can accomplish a lot with the time that we have if only we allow ourselves to do so, but it takes a change of mindset. Time is of the essence. I really encourage you to take a stand in your own life and see the value of each moment. If what they say is true and life truly is short, why not savor every second? ================== Ronnie Nijmeh is the executive director of ACQYR Skills (pronounced: "Acquire"), a report series on transferable skills that condenses hundreds of pages of information into a handy 16-page reference report. ACQYR Skills contains dozens of useful tips & tricks, interviews with experts, and case studies to help enhance your skill set. For more information, visit: http://www.acqyrskills.com or visit: http://www.acqyr.com for many free articles and a free e-newsletter.
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