Have you ever come home from a long day’s work and just didn’t feel like doing anything?
Your body aches because you’ve been standing up and walking around all day long. Your ears are ringing with interrruption after interruption that plagued you at work today. All you can see in your mind is yourself sitting on the couch and vegging out to the sounds of idiotic behavior on reality TV.
After you’ve been home a while, you tell yourself you should get up and eat some dinner. Of course, I will, as soon as this funny TV show is over. It doesn’t matter that the kitchen has a view of the TV. This really needs your full attention right now so you can talk about it all day at work tomorrow.
Suddenly, you look at the clock and the hands tell you it’s 8:30. What? I’ve been home since 6. I better get in there before it’s time for bed!
You watch another program or two while you prepare your meal. Then you watch another while you leisurely eat.
Then there’s the dishes to clean up. That shouldn’t be too bad. I can do that as soon as this show is over.
You glance at the clock. It’s now 11pm.
I guess those dishes can wait until tomorrow….
Later you wake up finding yourself stretched across the couch, awakened by the flickering light of the TV screen.
Man, I need to get into bed….
The Golden Rule of Productivity
The key to getting things done is to understand how to make the most of a minute.
This is what John Wooden’s father had in mind when he taught John to Make Every Day Your Masterpiece.
There are some obstacles to doing this, though.
If you’re like me, you might feel just having a to-do list is enough. And that is an excellent way to ensure that you meet your agenda for any given day.
Maybe you feel like having a daily planner with times in it strangles any attempt at spontaneity. Today you’ll see that this doesn’t have to be the case.
Or maybe the problem is, you have no idea what you want to do today.
At any rate, it’s crucial to remember how important one minute can be. Let’s look at …
The Importance of a Minute
1. Minutes are the stuff the future is made of.
A minute is a miniature hour. An hour is a miniature day. A day is a miniature week, month, or year.
You can compare it to saving money. Collect enough pennies and eventually they’ll add up to something. Use enough of your minutes wisely and you’ll move closer to what you want.
2. The minutes you plan are the ones that move you toward your dreams.
You don’t end up in Florida by just getting in the car and following your heart.
You need a map to get you where you want to go within a reasonable amount of time. You’ll save yourself time, energy, and wasted effort, won’t you?
3. Lost minutes can never be reclaimed.
Here’s where the analogy with money breaks down.
When time is lost, it’s gone forever. You can’t go back and get your lost minutes. All you can do is make the most of those minutes you still have.
So it makes sense to use them wisely, doesn’t it?
Let’s take a look at how you can do that.
Making the Most of Your Minutes
1. When you plan, estimate the time it will take to accomplish everything.
Sometimes you have a good idea exactly how long something will take. Other times it can be a stab in the darkness to figure it out.
Make a reasonable guess regardless.
Do that and you won’t be shaken by interruptions, delays, or surprises.
If you don’t use all the time you’ve planned for, do this ….
2. Have plans to use the minutes you have left over.
If you overestimate the time you need, have a backup plan.
Then when delays, changes of plans, or rapid accomplishment come, you won’t be scratching your head, wondering what to do next.
And who knows? You might just get ahead!
Now here’s one more tip…
3. Try to schedule activities to take advantage of the times when your energy is highest.
There are two ways you can do this.
First, schedule your most intense activities during the times when you naturally have the most energy. You’ll be more enthusiastic. You’ll have more stamina to drive you home. And you’ll be more creative while you’re working.
If you can’t do this, the second best thing you can do is schedule some down time to recharge before the intense activity.
The Benefits of Managing Your Minutes
As you can see, none of this is complicated.
Do these things and you’ll manage the most important unit of productivity there is – your minutes.
You’ll learn that you can be flexible and spontaneous without sacrificing a framework to work within.
And maybe most important of all, you won’t feel bullied by other people’s time pressures.
Master the power of one minute and you’ll truly make every day your masterpiece.