There is a lot of discussion about time management. Many of us think about time management in terms of what I need to get done today. However, it’s difficult to live a balanced day every day – where I get to invest a desired amount of time into all of my priorities. Some days, work takes it all. Other days, work gets shorted based on family needs. It gets easier to live in balance when the time frame lengthens.
For example, it is much easier to live a balanced week than a balanced day and a balanced month than a balanced week. You may have a three-day business trip and not see your family at all. That’s ok, you can make up for it this weekend by “being all there” with them and keeping your laptop in your bag.
One of my favorite tools for time management was developed by my mentor John C. Maxwell decades ago. He calls them the 3 R’s. When applied, they can help you set long-term time management goals and eventually make your time more controllable and satisfying.
First, ask yourself what is REQUIRED of you. What are the things that only you can do? Only you can be the husband or wife to your spouse, the father or mother to your children, the provider for your household, etc. Do these things before anything else!
Second, ask yourself what will give you the greatest RETURN on your time. This is all about ROI. What are the things you do that seem to produce the most? This is about maximizing your natural talent and abilities. Although you are able to excel here this still may not be what you are most passionate about.
Once you take care of the first two R’s you can focus on what gives you the greatest REWARD. What makes you smile? What makes you sing? What can you do for 10 hours straight and still have emotional energy at the end of the day for the people who matter the most to you?
It’s important to remember that the R’s must be taken in order. Too many people want to jump straight to what gives them the greatest reward. The interesting thing is it often takes us working through what is required of us and what gives us the greatest return to figure out what truly brings us reward.
If you follow these R’s over time and take time to evaluate and reflect along the way you will be able to shift your energy to those things you are most passionate about.
You cannot, however, skip the process. It’s easy to want instantly the results that others have spent years or even decades working towards. Consistency over time is the only method that works.
What will you prioritize today, this week, this month, next year?