Workaholics Anonymous – A 12-Step Program of Recovery and Personal Transformation (Step 7)

[Index: INTRO, Step 11b233b4566b7899b1010b1112]

This step has been called “the greatest secret of the rich.”

There is one force in our life that makes everyone equal. You are given the same amount as Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey and Donald Trump. How you handle and treat this force is the single most important contributor to the income you will have and the lifestyle you will lead. This is why Jim Rohn called it the single “greatest secret of the rich.” The secret? The management of time.

Rich or poor, we all have 24 hours every day, seven days every week and 365 days every year. Time is life’s most precious commodity, and how it is managed separates the rich from the poor.

A few distinctions:
• The planet is spinning, the clock is ticking and the fuse of time is burning, despite what you do. It’s up to you to make your time count.
• Time is perishable; you can’t save it. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. You have to spend it. Spend it wisely.
• You cannot manage time; time marches on with or without you. All you can do is manage yourself.

Get a Better ROE

When I interviewed Dr. Oz for the October 2008 issue of SUCCESS, I asked him for his secret on how he manages his time. He performs 250 open-heart surgeries a year and is a professor; a chairman of surgery; a director of a medical program; a prolific writer; a regular on TV and radio, including on Oprah; and he is in the middle of launching his own TV show. Oh, and he is also a devoted husband and father of four. A time-management question seemed appropriate.

What he said was one of the best distinctions on time management I have ever heard:
“It’s not about time management. It’s about energy management.
The things you do in your life should give you that zest for life.”

If you are doing a good job at efficiently and effectively using your time, but you’re doing things that drain your life force and zap your joy, what good is being done? You will immediately know if you should be spending your time on something by whether it gives you energy or takes it away.

“I recognize why you want to make the money, but I can tell you right now that you should pursue what you love in life because, if you love it, you’ll be really good at it. And if you’re good at it, you’ll make money at it.” –Dr. Mehmet C. Oz

Your management task is to spend more time on what gives you energy and to guard against, eliminate, delegate or mitigate your time on those things that take energy away from you.

As an investor of your time, look for ways to get a better “Return on Energy” (ROE).

Do Not Haste to Find the Waste

Wasting time is the biggest killer of your hopes, dreams and ambitions. It is what separates the Trumps, Bransons, Gates and Winfreys from the rest of us. It is critical that you identify the ways that you waste time, typically without even knowing it.

Time wastefulness is one of the biggest reasons why we are producing less and working longer – we have created more ways to waste time.

There was an interesting study done, which concluded that more than 50 percent of time spent at work is wasted. When studying those who were supposed to be working 40 hours, their start and stop times only amounted to 32 hours. Fifty percent of those 32 hours were wasted on unproductive, unprofitable, low-priority activities. Then, 37 percent of the remaining 50 percent was spent working on personal business, surfing the Internet, eating lunch, taking breaks and chitchatting with co-workers. This means, on average, most people are only doing about 10 hours of productive work each week. It’s no wonder you, the company and the nation can’t seem to get ahead!

Be a Smarter Spender

In his book First Things First, Stephen Covey describes how to better allocate our valuable work time. In his Time Management Matrix, he shows us how to discern between what is important, not important, urgent and not urgent, and where most of our time should be spent. I won’t repeat it here, but you can brush up on these important distinctions here and here.

Be a Better Trader

In life, we are traders. We are constantly trading our time for something: time for money; time with the family for time at the office; time at the gym for time on the couch; time today for a better future. Our life becomes the product of how good of a trader we become. Trade wisely. Define your values—what’s most important to you in life? And always be trading your time towards your most important values.

The Only Way to Get More Time

You are already spending 24 hours a day and you don’t have enough time. How are you going to possibly get more done? The only way is to reevaluate how you spend your time and stop doing the time wasters, period. If you don’t like what your life has become or you want to take your life to the next level, you need to figure out what you can stop doing so that you can concentrate on what you should be doing in order to get better results in your life. We covered this process extensively in Step 1 and your Stop-Doing List.

Life is time. How you learn to utilize it determines your life. Want a better life? Become better at allocating your time.

Have a time-management, energy-management or personal-management tip, idea or strategy? Share it with the group in the comment section below—it might even make it into SUCCESS.

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  1. Errol Moo Young says:

    Great article, if you ever get an opportunity, could you follow Oprah for a full day, almost minute by minute, just seeing what a typical day is like. Then letting us lesser mortals see what’s involved in really utilizing our time effectively. Saying how to use our time more effectively is one thing, really seeing Oprah or Dr. Oz for a day, minute by minute would be a real seminar in time management. I’ll be watching Success magazine for that one. Errol.

  2. Shannon says:

    I agree in the corporate world this article may be true about the time wasting. However have you talked with anyone in the Health care industry lately? As a Nurse, the object of the game for higher management is ‘how fast can we get the staff to run?’ There has to be a balance between wasting time, and killing your staff.

  3. Lynn Burchard says:

    Hi Darren,

    I love this article. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to read and to comment on your articles. You are inspiring and really know “How To..” become a better you.

    When you work for yourself, you can truly benefit from time management. My greatest benefit is not having to commute to work every day. For me that saves approximately 40 minutes per day which is better spent working at home.

    I am also doing what I enjoy doing… nutrition, lifestyle and health. It all seems to come together that much easier when you enjoy what you do.

    [DARREN HARDY] Love your participation Lynn! Thank you!

  4. Elizabeth Walker says:

    When I stopped being a go-to-work-every-day person, I had a home office. On Morning One of my new life, I padded down the hall with a cup of coffee, sat at my desk, and worked away till about 11:30.

    And panicked.

    I was finished! OMG I had nothing to do for the rest of the day!! I was OUT OF WORK.

    It became very clear that two thirds of my days for the past 25 years had been spent NOT WORKING and now, I had a much wider range of opportunities on how to spend that time.

    To be sure, many of those hours in my old life were spent productively meeting with others – but many were not.

    So thank you, Darren, for opening up this discussion and throwing a light on these important issues: what is work? how does it define us? at the end of the day, what have we created?

    This is a wonderful conversation to be in at this time in our economy.

  5. Anirudh says:

    hi Darren..yet another very useful post. I wonder if you go like this, all these Steps would be so good to have in a book which we can refer it again and again.

    As Kay mentioned, so many AHA moments for me too !

    Thank you !

  6. Mendocino says:

    I look forward to all your blogs!
    They are quite inspirational as well as Success Magazine!
    I pass on through the course of the day many thoughts and ideas generated from your concepts of Success. Thank you for your positive approach to life!

  7. doy lopez says:

    what ever you intend to do,
    do it right the first time.
    its not wrong to be right.

  8. Diane Banks says:

    One small habit that has made a difference for me in recovering “lost” time is choosing what I will wear the night before. This may not be a big deal for others, but knowing I won’t have any surprises in the morning — like a missing button or finding that the top I wanted is in the laundry — allows me to sleep better, too. It may be “only” 10 minutes, but I really enjoy spending that time on a healthy breakfast while reviewing my daily task list and calendar instead of sewing on a button or trying to find a missing shoe.

  9. Kay Wilson, says:


    Thank you so much for all your blogs. It helps us see clearly what we need to change as we build our business. I have had so many AHA moments while reading your blogs and also luv your great magazine, Success. Keep it coming! K

    [DARREN HARDY] Kay, love it – thanks for saying so!!

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