How To Get Respect

imagesI’ve written about time management more than once. Maybe it’s the forty-something in me but I’m obsessed with it. There is no commodity more valuable than time. Jim Rohn would say that effective time management is the best-kept secret of the rich (rich meaning successful, not wealthy) and I could not agree more. I also learned many years ago that time management is a kind of misnomer because you can’t actually manage time. It marches along at its own pace. We all have the same twenty-four hours in a day, no more and no less. And you can’t save it; you can only spend it.

Time management in a word is just priorities. And you are either managing your priorities or everyone else’s.

Most people whether they admit it or not are working on other people’s goals and not their own. Because when you instinctively look to your phone for new messages or spend the better part of days battling your email inbox, you’re actually working on other people’s priorities, not your own. When you pick up the phone every time it rings or look at your email several times in an hour, it’s no longer something for your convenience rather the convenience of others. And when you go to Facebook several times a day to see what your friends are up to it’s an admission that their life is more interesting than your own.

Over a year ago I stopped reading and replying to nearly 95% of emails. I doubt I need to provide more back-story as to why.
Now I rarely even look at my inbox until my morning routine is complete. A routine that includes yoga, meditation, a 300 calorie protein breakfast, quality time with my wife and daughter, and exercise. A routine designed to serve me, my health and relationships important to me.

Where I used to write hundreds of emails in a week, I now send a little as ten and usually less than that. Yes, this makes me more productive and yes, stress goes away in proportion to the amount of data smog you accept in your life but it’s other people’s reaction that has surprised me more than anything else.

While I don’t work full-time, I do have highly special projects I give time to each week. And the talented and exceptional people I work with on these programs are also aware of my commitment to personal goals and development. This past week I actually had more than one person practically apologize for asking me to assist on some critical and time sensitive deliverable. This is work that I am not only well paid for but very happy to do.

It occurred to me how other people respect my time even more as they find out how much I value it. They see how precious my time is to me so they value it too. In the larger context, it reminded me that people will respect us when they see how much we respect ourselves. That they call it self-respect for a reason; you give it to yourself.  That we are not victims and in life we don’t get what we want or what we work for but what we accept.

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