The Myth of What We Manage

by Chris Widener

Perhaps it is merely semantics, but an underlying problem I find that people have as it relates to the success in their life lies in a proper understanding of what exactly it is that we manage. Think about it. We have time management (In fact I have a seminar on this very topic, some of which is excerpted below), and financial management, and relational management, weight management, career management, and many, many more.

The fact is though, that we don’t manage any of those things. What we do manage is ourselves, as they relate to those things. We don’t manage time. Time clicks by, second by second, whether we do anything or not. What we do is manage ourselves, and our activities, as the time passes. We make choices as to what we will do and be involved in. The problem as well as the solution lies not with time, but with us.

We don’t manage money. A pile of money will sit there forever if left alone. It won’t grow or shrink. What we manage is ourselves and the decisions we make in regard to how we will spend the money. Getting the idea? So as we live our lives and pursue success, one of the keys to grab on to is the idea that the most important thing we can manage isn’t a thing at all – it is our self!

How then can we manage ourselves? Here are some thoughts.

Make sure that the above is firmly engrained in your thinking: I only manage myself. I can choose how I will act and react in every situation. Dwight D Eisenhower said that “The history of free men is not written by chance, but by choice, their choice.”

Know your priorities. Do you know from top to bottom what your priorities are? Have you decided what the top ten things you want to spend your time on are? How about the same with your money? Only after you know these things can you properly manage yourself into choosing to live your priorities.

Learn to say “no” with a smile on your face. Here is where most of us fail. We do not choose to say “no” to those things that are not a matter of priority (the reason “why” is another newsletter article and probably a few counseling sessions at that!). Someone calls us up and asks us to do something for them (usually because they haven’t managed themselves and would like our help picking up the pieces) and we say “Uh, I guess so.” Then what? We usually kick ourselves for the rest of the day. “Why did I ever say yes?” Instead, practice this, “Gee, I am really sorry but I am not going to be able to be involved this time. I am sure you will be able to find somebody though.” Go ahead and try it right now. Weird, isn’t it? That is because we don’t say it very often.

Schedule your priorities into you schedule or budget or whatever structure governs that area of your life. For example, do you have a financial budget that you yourself set? Then do you first and foremost spend your money in that way, say at the beginning of the month? If you do, you will eliminate even the opportunity to blow your money on impulse decisions and expenses because your money has already been committed into your priorities.

Remember, one of the greatest gifts God gave us is the ability to choose. And we can choose to manage ourselves appropriately and according to our priorities. As we do, we will find ourselves feeling less and less of the personal pain and frustration that we feel when we are out of control. Get goin’!

If you found these tips from Chris Widener of value and are a PMP looking to earn PMI PDUs, you might be interested in his self-paced, downloadable courses at PDUs2Go.com.

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