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By Darryl Stewart

How will you use your remaining dots?

See the image above. I am 51 years old. The filled-in dots on this page represent the months I have already lived; the empty dots represent the time I have left until 90.

These dots remind me that the time I have left is finite. This realization is moving me towards planning to spend more time on things that matter to me. I intend to define what I want and act on those things, while spending less time doing things that serve no purpose that matters to me. I think often of my personal mission, and I am now doing things all the time that help me fulfill it. It feels like I have woken up. I feel more alive than ever before.

I attended a leadership workshop led by entrepreneur Warren Rustand recently and he gave us—and I give you—his rules for taking control of your time. I find them very helpful in guiding my actions towards purpose.

You must recognize and act on the knowledge that:

  • the root cause of poor use of you time is poor habits
  • you must control your time or others will
  • you can only spend time, you can’t save it
  • it is necessary to learn to say no
  • if you don’t have time to plan, you cannot work efficiently
  • you must organize your time or lose it
  • you must act on the knowledge of the dollar value of your time
  • your greatest asset in life in achieving your goals is time
  • it will require continued courage on you part to defeat the time wasters
  • the key to success in time management is to build good time management systems and act within them

My message with this article: think about the dots you have left and plan to use them wisely and with purpose. You can’t do that without an effective time management system. Use a system that works for you daily, weekly, and monthly, and improve on it constantly to achieve the things you want to achieve.

The most influential book I have found on how to do this is Getting Things Done by David Allen. I suggest you make time on your calendar to read it.


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