One of my hobbies is reading biographies.
Usually business biographies and musician biographies. The latter I’m not really sure how I got into. I think it’s always interested me how people can have such conviction to chase a dream in something like music. Usually for 10+ years without any glimmer of hope.
And the more I read those biographies of successful people the more I come across common themes. One major theme is time management.
Successful people have an almost insane commitment to how they spend their time. They can really narrow their focus on goals and usually just on one goal at a time.
Read a biography of a successful musician and while they’re working for their dream or goal they’re spending almost 100% of the time getting their. Anything that might take their time away from that they’re sure to push it aside. Even if it makes others feel bad.
Here are a few key ways successful people value their time that you can likely use in your everyday life…
Start With A Goal
This is the big one.
A common theme with successful people is that they know what they want. Right or wrong they have a vision for what they want to do and once they have that goal in mind they make sure all their time and energy work toward it.
Anything else that might get in the way is wasteful and they avoid it at all costs. They do this to the point of making others around them angry and put off and all that kind of stuff.
But that’s one of the costs of being successful. You have to put yourself first. You have to be selfish to a certain extent.
I think you can have a balance. I think you can realign your priorities. And the reality is not that you have to cut out important things to achieve success. You just have to be honest about all the things you spend time on make cuts.
Take those musicians, for example. Odds are they don’t watch a lot of TV. They probably don’t read. They don’t play sports. They don’t hang with friends. They eat. They sleep. They spend a little time with family and all the rest goes toward reaching their goal.
Think Present & Future
Tiger Woods was probably the best at this in the golf world. Golf parallels real life in so many ways and one key way is the requirement to forget about a mistake and still have the confidence in what you’re doing next.
Professional golfers are able to hit a bad shot and instantly move on. Amateur golfers dwell on bad shots for several holes and they rarely play those holes well.
When you value your time and energy you have to think present and future. Think about all the people you know that live their lives in the past… They can barely go to bed at night because they’re thinking about a bad day they had at work.
You can’t change the past. It’s cliche, but it’s reality. You have to figure out how to focus on what you’re doing in the present and in the near future and how it applies to your goal.
Tell People “No”
Obvious one here, but not easy.
Successful people have to really be choosy with what they agree to do. We all have an incredible amount of opportunity. You can do anything you want, but you can’t do everything.
You have to say no to others, but also to yourself.
Focus On Your Control
When it comes to goals and success a big error that some people make is giving control to others. Or even to the universe. To them, the world is something that happens to them, not something they take control of.
“I’ll work on getting toward my goal as soon as it’s the right time…”
Ever hear that one?
We’ve just about all done that. Make excuses for why we can’t do something. The reality is that we have to focus on what we control.
Sometimes this can seem like victim blaming. Say you’re walking on the sidewalk and a car comes up off the street and hits you and breaks your legs. You can look at the situation as something out of your control. That would seem reasonable. Or you could look back and make sure that the odds of it happening again are small because you’ll control where you walk or how you walk in the future. You won’t wait for car drivers to change their ways.
In nearly every situation, successful people consider what they control and that’s where all their focus goes.
Audit & Assess
Finally, successful people know that they can get into bad habits. As a result, they’re constantly auditing their time and energy. If they find themselves getting into bad habits for any of the above they quickly make changes.
This can seem kind of ruthless. But if you don’t control your time and energy nobody is going to do it for you. You’re the only one that can take control. You can make excuses for why you’re not successful, however you define that, but you’re the only one that can take control.