Stop Trying to Manage Time – Jerry Fetta
Time. The dictionary defines time as “the system of those sequential relations that any event has to any other, as past, present, or future; indefinite and continuous duration regarded as that in which events succeed one another.” WOW. What a definition right? Let’s simplify that. Time is basically the measuring stick between events in the past, present, and future.
Around age 20 I was taught the importance of what my mentor called “time management”. I was taught that every hour needed to be accounted for and I had to have these things called “time blocks” which is the label given to one or multiple hours that have been assigned an activity. That very day, I downloaded a calendar app on my phone. I scheduled every hour, I made sure I had “time blocks”, and I even color coded it all! I was ready to win at life! I woke up the next morning and played my day out as a series of events that did not go according to plan and I ended the day in complete frustration at others who continually “interrupted” my time block. I did this over and over every day. Some days I got interrupted less than other days and I never actually followed a perfect schedule. I was utterly confused. I did all the “stuff” and for some reason it wasn’t working.
It wasn’t until 3 or 4 years later that I realized why my time blocks and scheduling were not effective. I was trying to manage something that didn’t exist! Think about it: how did the term “time” come into existence? Some man or woman a very long time ago made it up to solve a problem they were having. The problem was that the physical universe around them was progressing, they were growing older, and things were changing. Can you imagine living life and not knowing what to call this progression? To make sense of what was happening, someone invented a thing called “time” to be a measuring stick of the sequential relationship of past, present, and future. It doesn’t actually restrict, manage, or organize past present and future. It simply gives us a label so that we feel less lost and more in control. Essentially time was intended to be a gauge of how quickly things can progress, how quickly we expend energy, and how to keep track of past, present, and future by simply giving it all an address (6:00 pm on Thursday July 6th, 2017). Those numbers are all 100% made up. Yes, they are helpful but they aren’t real. We just agree to abide by them because it seems to work and it is the social norm.
I must add that without a workable solution, my entire previous paragraph is simply a cute theory. You’d agree with that right? I want to show you how I went from a cute theory to a workable solution and course of action.
Because time isn’t real, I decided that I was indeed having trouble “managing time”. You ever tried to control something that didn’t exist? I had some very non-conforming imaginary friends when I was little and I can recall that they too were very difficult to manage. If we imagined time then I can continue to imagine time and create the outcome I desire. This was my solution. So, I imagined that my day was not actually dictated by time but rather it was dictated by the energy I expended and the cycles of action I completed. So, I imagined there was no such thing as a 24 hour “day” and that the length of my day was dependent on the starting and finishing of the cycles of action I intended to achieve in sequence. So basically, my day started when I began the 1st activity on my list and my day ended when I finished the last activity on my list. If I got all the activities completed in 3 hours then my day only lasted 3 hours. This gives me the advantage because everyone else took 24 hours to get through the same day, which allowed me to begin my “next day” 21 hours before everyone else. Now if it took me 48 hours to complete everything on my list then my “day” lasted 48 hours. Everyone else did 24 hours and so it took me twice as long to get through a day as everyone else and I was now at an extreme disadvantage. This was the game I created in my head and I began following the rules of the “game” in real life. I had tremendous results!
But now I began to wonder: “why do I cause some of my days to last 3 hours and other days to last 48 hours?” This was one of the juiciest questions I had ever asked myself. Since I abandoned the concept of “time” as a constricting set of rules I was required to abide by I could no longer blame time for my lack of action and my lack of achievements. I could not say “I didn’t have enough time” because I had created a set a rules for my game that said Time Does Not Exist. The only thing I was left with was the fact that I did not complete the actions rapidly enough. Was it a self-control problem? That was the next question I asked myself. The more I thought about it I realized it was not a self-control problem. I came to this conclusion because I am in 100% control of myself. There aren’t very many mental and bodily functions that I don’t have complete control over. And the few that I honestly can’t control have nothing to do with me completing or not completing my cycles of action. I didn’t love the answer I concluded with but it rang true for me. The reason I completed my cycles of actions very rapidly some days and on other days I took FOREVER was actually a personal ethics issue.
I told you it wasn’t a fun answer. I was choosing not to take the actions needed when those actions needed to be taken to complete the cycle of action. If we boil that down even further: I was telling myself I would do something (making a self-promise), writing down the exact actions that must be taken to do that thing, and then making the conscious choice not to take the very actions I KNEW would be required to fulfill the promise I made to myself. If I did this to someone else it would be labeled as “lying”. Furthermore, if I did this with another object in another scenario it would be labeled “insanity”. Just follow me here. If I stated it was my intention to start my vehicle and then concluded that the way to start my vehicle was to place the key in the ignition and then turn the key…. but then instead of placing the key in the ignition and turning the key, I chose to get out of the car and air up the tires and expect that my car would start…. I would be considered either stupid or insane. Much worse, if after my car failed to start via me adding air to my tires, I began to get frustrated and complain that my car wasn’t starting it would further the degree of either insanity or stupidity that I apparently possess.
Can you see how ridiculous that is? Not being able to “manage time” is actually the inability to manage actions and the exertion of energy…which is actually an unethical choice to not do the very things we know will be required to cause the outcomes we desire. If I am struggling with “time management” I am being unethical with is either insane of me, stupid of me, or quite possibly both.
Before you get insulted and quit reading I am going to add that I believe this is all true and I also believe it is not your fault. We were given the wrong data about time and energy. If we are given the wrong data and told it is the right data, we will believe we are following the correct data because we don’t know anything different. If someone is taught the way to start a car is by putting air in the tires, no matter how strange that person may look, it is not their fault. They are simply doing what they were taught.
If you believe you are operating with the wrong data, the way to confirm it is this: Are you getting the results you desire? If you are not, that means that the data you are operating with is producing a different outcome and it can only mean that some of your data must be abandoned and replaced with proper data. I started my company WealthX for that reason. We give people the right data about money. If you’d like to learn more about what we can do for you click here to speak with one of my Wealth Coaches.
Own Your Potential,
Jerry Fetta is a husband, son of Yahweh, Entrepreneur and owner of 5 privately held businesses. Jerry lives in Alaska with his wife and 2 dogs. His no-nonsense approach to business, finances, and life speaks truth and provides clarity to his clients and followers. His personal mission in life is to empower millions of leaders to own their God-given, ultimate potential.