This is not just another article on time management

This is not just another article on time management

I have always heard that time is the great equalizer – everyone has 24 hours in the day; how we elect to use it is what separates us. However, this is not intended as a management article, where I give you helpful hints on how to better manage your time. 

Not that I haven’t spent a lot of time and money trying to learn. I have purchased multiple planners, even computer programs and have read multiple books on time management. I have picked up some good tips along the way, and I like to think I’m better at managing my time then I once was.  

But I’ve still got a long ways to go. I’ve never had the guts to do it, but I would be a tremendous time manager if I just put a bullet in my TV or blocked ESPN and Fox News. I probably could learn a lesson from my Grandpa; he was in bed by 8 and up at 4 the vast majority of time. As a young kid, I thought it was crazy to see an adult go to sleep that early. He told me, “I’ve stayed up past 8 lots of times, and always got in trouble.” 

It wasn’t till I was older and a little more worldly and heard some of the stories that I understood what kind of trouble my grandpa was getting into. As Ben Franklin said, “early to bed, early to rise, makes you healthy, wealthy and wise.” 

However, the one thing all the experts forget to tell you is that for most of your life, you just get busier and somehow time just seems to go faster. And while they talk about balance, relaxation, productivity, efficiency and the like, there is no clear roadmap or set of rules that you can follow to get you to where you can slow time down. 

I have never been a big believer in regrets, and I don’t spend much time wishing I had done something else with my time. I just try to evaluate so I can do better going forward. 

There are some things I have learned, though. We all have to make a living, deadlines are real and usually for a reason, and while planning is invaluable, you’d better plan on some flexibility because life has a way of adjusting your plans. Cows that haven’t been out all year will create a hole in the fence the night your son graduates (I earned a $150 speeding ticket that day). 

Balance is achieved via focused effort. But that’s hard to do. I don’t have consistent date nights, I can’t always sit down with my teenagers and talk about the day, I don’t work out at 8:15 every night or have a quiet time at 6:30 in the morning. Life happens and balance is about adjustments, which means that nearly every day seems to be focused on one or two areas. With that said, it has always been simpler investing in projects than people. Looking back, people offer the highest return. 

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For example, I’ve spent what seems like tens of thousands of hours and miles hauling to horse and cattle shows, but it was something we did as a family. Your kids grow up – those times will never return.

But, while your kids and your spouse deserve your time, the laws of compound interest and sustained effort relative to our business and careers are immutable and unforgiving. In the end, few of us will be Bill Gates, Mother Theresa, Michael Jordan or Ronald Reagan. But we all make a difference. When we make an impact in our own little sphere, the sphere has a way of widening.

Here’s hoping that this summer finds you finishing that windbreak project, putting up hay and harvesting the record corn crop, but also finds you sharing a lemonade and funnel cake with your spouse at the county fair; or staying up all night helping your child prepare for the big speech contest; or maybe finding yourself growing closer to God; and saying yes to someone when every fiber in your being is telling you to just say no. It hasn’t been a particularly auspicious start for me, but my time management mantra for the next several months boils down to this simply being a summer well spent.

The opinions of Troy Marshall are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com and the Penton Agriculture Group.

 

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