“I didn’t have time” and other ways to ruin your life – part 2

“I didn’t have time” and other ways to ruin your life – part 2

In my previous blog, I spoke about the lame excuses we (and our employees) have around being busy and how it can ruin you as much as being a bad person, can.

Let me just touch on the point on why being busy can wreak havoc on your life.

If you’re just busy all your life, you probably always have that warm fuzzy feeling that you’re achieving something but without a proper strategy to utilise the finite time you have, that fuzzy feeling is almost as useful as peeing in your pants to keep you warm.

Being busy is just not enough. And running out of time or not having time is just not a mature thing to say.

Once you have awakened to the revelation that you can’t adjust the amount of time you have, you realise that it was given to you, to manage. To steward it the best way you can. And this is why your focus should be on managing it rather than discussing the lack of it.

But how do we do that?

10 years ago that was my big question. I read and studied many books on the topic and I developed a strategy that has been working for me since then. Its a secret, but I’ll share it with you.

The strategy is called “How not to ruin your life again”

How not to ruin your life again – strategy

  1. You need goals. Goals for finances, your career, your health, your family and your community. These goals should be captured in your calendar as a series of next actions.
  2. You need to plan the perfect calendar that includes hard-edged events that will help you to live a disciplined life. Things like meditating, exercise, hobby time, family time and date nights are non-negotiable hard-edged events booked in advance in my calender.
  3. When making commitments there are certain rules to keep in mind. First, if you make a commitment, stick to it. If you can’t make a deadline, renegotiate the commitment (before you hit the deadline). And if you can’t fit something into your day, don’t make the commitment at all.
  4. Separate your commitments between 2 different buckets (containers or folders): 1) As soon as possible, and 2) Deadline-driven. Only do the “as soon as possible” when you have free time as a result of a canceled meeting. As soon as possible emails (commitments) go into an email folder and deadline-driven are hard-edged events in your calendar.
  5. Clean your inbox as much as possible and book a hard-edged event for this every couple of days.
  6. If someone sends you an instruction it is your duty to let that person know how it will or can fit into your calendar. If they have a deadline, you need to establish how that affects your calendar based on the level of authority that a person has in your life. If you’re in control you should be able to tell your boss that a certain deadline is impossible and renegotiate a more acceptable deadline.
  7. Do not break a commitment on the day. In other words, don’t make excuses for missing a deadline on the deadline day. That’s not an accident, that’s poor planning.
  8. When dealing with deadlines, enter the deadline on the calendar, but also book a time in your calendar to do the actual work.
  9. Do strenuous work in the time of day that you have the most energy. If you’re a morning person, don’t attempt writing a 40-page report at 16h00 in the afternoon.
  10. Relax, work never ends. The more you do, the more there is left to do. You never get through it, it never stops. Accept that. There’s never a good time to go play golf or go on holiday. Just book it!

This strategy taught me how to be at peace with the fact that work will never end and deadlines are things that need to be agreed upon. Mindlessly waiting for the next email is not a strategy to do life.

You can’t let life happen to you, you need to make life happen. The only way to do that is to plan ahead on what you want to happen.

P.S. One of the best ways to teach your employees to live a disciplined life is to teach them how to be on time. Ouch! Technologies specialise in systems that help private businesses build a culture of discipline. Call us today and let one of our consultants show you how we can help you build a healthier business.

Hope you have a hard-edged day!


A large part of this strategy comes from a book called “Getting things done”, by David Allen. Go check it out here.

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