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Are You Running Your Life or is it Running You?
How are you spending your time and energy?

by Jan Hornford

There has been a great deal written on the concept of time management. The simple fact is that each of us has the same 24 hours a day. We cannot create more time. What we can do is manage our energy and our thoughts to change how we experience time and make considered choices on how we are spending our time.

It is all about living with purpose and spending your time and energy on what is most important to you. Honoring your priorities and focusing on one thing at a time will help you to have a less stressful experience of time and will allow you to accomplish more with less effort.

Dangers of Multi-tasking and Multi-thinking

We often fill up our time with thoughts of the past (thinking about all the things we did not get done) or the future (thinking about all the things we have to do) instead of where we are right now. We often try to do a number of different tasks at the same time. Splitting our thoughts and attention in these ways contributes to our sense of feeling rushed and pulled in many different directions.

When we multi–task we often end up with having a number of things half done, which leaves us feeling anxious. When we only listen to our child or colleague with half an ear while we think about tomorrow’s meeting, we create an experience that is stressful, unfulfilling and ineffective for both you and the other person.

Being Fully Present

What if you could focus all of your energy and attention and place it on what you are doing in this moment? What would be possible for you then? When we give our full attention and presence to whomever we are speaking to or to whatever we are doing, we step off of that hamster wheel of frenetic activity and enrich our lives and the lives of others.

Choosing to focus our thoughts and energy in the present moment, doing one thing at a time and doing it well, will not only help you to accomplish more, it will help you to create a peaceful experience of time.

How are You Using Your Time?

We are constantly confronted with multiple possibilities of how to spend our work and personal time. There is not enough time to do it all. We often must give up one thing in order to have time to do another. We often get caught up in doing all sorts of things that we think we should be doing, but are not very important.

Many people spend up to 35 hours per week watching television. Is this a real priority for you? Perhaps you would rather choose a movie or one really good television show that you enjoy and let the others go. This would free up huge amounts of time for you to do a myriad of other things.

When you know what is most important to do and have clear priorities, then it is easier to make choices on how to use your time. When we focus on things that are important, we make more effective use of our time and we feel better because we are spending our time doing what is important and meaningful to us and will likely accomplish more as a result.

Setting Priorities

Setting priorities will help you make conscious and informed choices on how you are using your time. It is all about living with purpose. Honoring your priorities and focusing on one thing at a time will help you to have a less stressful experience of time and will allow you to accomplish more with less effort.

When you are setting priorities consider:

bulletWhy am I doing this?
bulletIs this something I need to do or is it something I want to do?
bulletOr neither? Who else can do this?
bulletIs it important that I do this right now or can it wait?
bulletWill doing this support my goals and my values?

It is important to recognize the priorities in all aspects of your life: work, relationships, self–care, home, and responsibilities. You can then make choices that enable you to fulfill your priorities and can choose to let the less important things go for now. Be honest with yourself about what you can do and what you want to do. Priorities will change day–to–day, week–to–week, and year–to–year. Different things will be more important to you at different times in your life.

Schedule Your Priorities

Schedule time to take care of your priorities and set a completion date. Be sure to build ‘flex’ time into each day. Flex time is 30 –60 minutes of time that you block off. This time can be used to deal with the unexpected or for things that are taking longer than you anticipated, or as time for yourself.

Spending your time focused on priorities will increase your peace of mind and bring greater meaning and purpose to your life because you are focused on what is really important to you in all aspects of your life.

Coaching Questions

bulletOf the activities you are doing now, which ones energize you? Which ones drain you?
bulletWhat do you want to have more of in your life?
bulletWhat is most important for you to have in your life right now? (Consider all of your roles and responsibilities).
bulletWhat is stopping you from doing these things?

Take Action

How Are You Really Using Your Time?

Over the next week carry a notebook where you write down what you are doing for every minute of your day. Keep a record of how you spend your time and energy for the next 7 days.

After 1 week consider:

bulletHow are you using your time?
bulletWhat are you missing out on because of your current lifestyle?
bulletIs there time in your life for the things that are most important to you?
bulletHow can you make more time for what you value most?

Action Steps

List 3 ways you misuse your time (such as watching T.V. or checking your email every hour) and then list 3 things you can do to minimize these activities.

Identify 3 areas where you might be able to delegate tasks or ask for more help in and then list 3 actions you can take to help you create more time in this area.

For example:

Area: Household chores:


bulletHave shirts pressed rather than iron them yourself.
bulletHave each family member take on an additional household task.
bulletGet curb side recycling instead of recycling it yourself.

See Also:

Time Your Actions by Napoleon Hill
Whatever your career is, you will accomplish twice as much in half the time when you learn to time your actions. All of us are, in a sense, sales people who are trying to sell our way through life successfully. But only a relatively few of us manage to become “Master Salesmen.”

The Top 7 Signs of Self-Sabotaging Behaviors
Are you being held back from success by self-defeating behaviors? Learn how to recognize and overcome them.

The DNA of Success
The key to success is understanding the building blocks of that success - your success DNA.

Uncle Earl
Being of good cheer raises our spirits and benefits our health. Uncle Earl is a prime example. What is happening in your life right now? Are you taking a cheerful or lighthearted approach to your day?

Discovering Your Strengths
Many people never fully utilize their natural gifts because they don't find the proper way to express them in the world, or perhaps they don't even recognize the talents they have.

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About the Author:

Copyright © 2005 Coach Jan Hornford

Jan Hornford is a Life Coach & Certified Retreat Coach whose passion is to help individuals re-connect with their own wisdom and power and to support them to create the life they want. Her retreats offer the opportunity to experience joyful self-care, connection, and possibility. For more information, please take a look at her website:  Or, call her: 403-313-4064

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