We all have a limited amount of time and an unlimited number of results we want to produce. But which of these are you using as a tool to produce the other?
I think we would all agree that it ‘sounds right’ to say that “time is the tool we use to produce results”. But, it takes drive, commitment, integrity, and a vision to make this be the case. The alternative is that you (possibly un-wittingly) are using results as a tool to burn through your time.
Imagine the difference this way. You wake up in the morning, you have breakfast, and you get your coffee. You look at the remaining hours you have in the day and you see an empty cup to be filled. The day is full of potential but not much else… yet. So you sit down at your desk and you ask yourself, “what can I fill my day with?” Then you set yourself to work picking at results here and there. Finally, it is the end of your day and the cup of the time available has been filled. You look back at the day you filled and you are proud of the time you have filled with meaning. Sounds like a successful day right? Wrong! You have just used your results as a tool to expend your time.
The problem here is that you are focused on using your time and not on producing results. Even though the two often accomplish one another, they are not the same. It is very important to make sure your focus is in the right place. Your focus should not be on the time you wish to use since time will pass by whether you are producing anything or not. The crazy thing about time is that it doesn’t care if we are using it well, it will still march on. Your focus should be on changes and results you want to produce.
Now consider this. You wake up in the morning, you have your coffee and breakfast, you get a shower, and you are ready for the day. You sit down at your desk and since your focus is on the results that need created and not the time that needs expended, you think through what the greatest opportunities are available to you to create change and produce results. Whether you have a to-do list or a calendar of your most important opportunities, you get to work. You begin burning time, to forge results, not forging results, to burn time.
I would encourage you to revisit your focus right now if you can and ask yourself this, “Which am I using as a tool to accomplish the other? The passage of time, or the production of my desired results and changes.”
If you find you fit into the first example too well, and that you are merely trying to get to the end of each day, I would encourage you to adjust your focus to the results and changes you want to produce. Do not think about what you should do to fill your day. Rather, think about how to use the day to achieve your results and changes.