The division of time. This is a topic I know a lot about but have not, nor do I think will ever master. Time is the most precious resource we have, in my opinion. You can lose all of your money and, with some diligence, you can make it all back. But, as soon as you spend one second of time with someone doing something, you can never, ever get that one second back. Time is a finite resource and it is one that I both guard and respect.
I am asked, often, how I manage or divide my time? I am a father, husband, businessman and traveler. Every direction I turn has someone wanting my attention and for me to spend some of my time with them. The average human has roughly 28,835 days, or 79 years, on this Earth. Multiply your age my 365, then subtract from 28,835 and see how many days you have left. One thing I find interesting is that those who have more than half of their time left do not cherish the time they have as much as those who are on the other side of the hill.
Believe it or not, those who work for others and whose children attend public school seem to have less challenges with division of time. Those whose time is managed for them do not often have to concern themselves with time management in great detail. For example, when you work for someone else, you have to wake up at a regular time so you can report to work on time, a time set by the company you work for. You take breaks when you are allowed and the same can be said for when you eat lunch and go home. You also have to ensure your kids get to school and are picked up on time. This is also mandated by someone else. So, most of America has to manage their time in the evening and the weekends, which many use as their personal or fun time.
I have an enormous amount of freedom. I get up, take breaks, eat, work, go to sleep and spend time with family when I want. I also live where I want when I want. And I would not give that freedom up for anything. But, with all of that freedom, the trade-off is a need for an equally enormous amount of self-discipline. With no one telling me what to do, I have to govern myself and hold myself accountable. Believe this, it is no easy task.
To get back to the root of the topic and often asked question “How do I divide my time?” Most commonly I institute my own schedule and put things in place that help me to stick with it. One example of putting things in place to help is a “quiet time” setting on my phone. After a certain time at night and a particular point in the morning, my phone is set to make absolutely zero sounds or vibrations unless it is receiving messages from one of my Nomadic Family members. Other than that, the phone makes no noise and I have no idea if anyone is trying to reach me for some reason.
In addition to the above, I effort to place my phone face down so I cannot see the screen light up when a message comes in during quiet time.I have a need to act upon communication and opportunity. So, I have to put practices in place that help me to manage my time. One thing I have learned is that the world did not end because I did not see a text, email or voice mail in real-time.
My self-imposed schedule for dividing my time commonly is as follows. I wake up in the AM when our boys get up. I do my morning routine and am ready to work by around 10AM, in whatever time zone I am in. I work until I am hungry and then I break for lunch. I try to refrain from working while eating. Eating a good meal is important, so I want to give that time its full attention that is due.
I continue to work until I am summoned for dinner. At which time I adjourn from working and we eat dinner as a family meal. Our family meal can last up to an hour because of family conversations that run the gamut of topics from the furthest fiction to the most relevant facts. After dinner, about half of the time, we adjourn to watch some family shows together. From there, depending upon current responsibilities, my attention is directed accordingly. Wake up the next day, rinse and repeat.
The secret of my division of time between family, friends, work and travel is to give my full attention to the audience that I am with. If I am at the dinner table, I am not thinking of work, friends or traveling. I am fully committed to dinner with the family and whatever conversation may arise. The same thing applies when I am working and speaking with a client. They have my full attention.
My scheduling system works for me and my situation. It may or may not work for you. However, the one strong piece of advice that I would give to help you with more successful scheduling of your division of time is to stick to your scheduling. It is so easy to get caught up working, get called to dinner and give the “be right there” message so many times that you miss dinner. Now you have disrespected your family and you just taught them that work is more important. Be consistent and respectful with your time allocation. If my family needs me for a field trip during working hours, I place it on my calendar and schedule it in like I would a business meeting. Keeping to my schedule really helps tame my hectic days.
My last piece of advice to you is to take some time and enjoy the present. Take it from me, you can justify and convince yourself that all of the time you are spending working is validated because it is for your future, your spouse’s future or your family’s future. Although financial stability and a road paved for success is appreciated by most spouses and family, you have to balance that effort with building a strong family unit or giving attention to the person or people who you get up in the morning and work all day for. Your kids will only grow up once. You do not want to let the experiences of your family pass you by, especially for money. Believe this, because I have lived it, you can have a successful family and work life if you have the internal strength and determination to make it happen.
So, circling back to the original question of “how do I divide my time?” I designate work time, family time, spouse time, me time and I enforce it. That is how I divide my time. If you are present to your audience and enforce your focused time, you can manage the division of time as well. Safe Travels.