I was reading an article in Fortune magazine about Jim Haslam, the guy that started the Pilot Truck Stops (there’s one right in Milford). He started post Korean War and now has 496 outlets around the country and they produce $30 billion in sales.
He explains how he got started and says, “A station became available in Gate City, Va and we bought it for $6,000. It did well from the start, so we were lucky.” It’s interesting to me that he credits luck for his success. In fact, a lot of successful people do that. In my opinion, it’s never luck. In Mr. Haslam’s case, he goes on to explain how they pick a location, how they run their business and what they focus on. These are the reasons for his success, not luck.
So, if it’s not luck, what is it? I argue that it starts with a desire to want to improve your life. We all have 168 hours in the week. Time is the great equalizer. President Obama, Madonna and Michael Jordan all have the same 168 hours a week that you have. Successful people (however you define success) have made a decision to use their 168 hours more effectively and efficiently than others. The Department of Labor Statistics conducts a study called the American Time Use Survey, where people keep a diary of what they do in six minute intervals. You know what they found out? American’s lie! We are not as busy as we say, we don’t work as hard as we say, and we waste an incredible amount of time on television, Facebook, Youtube, etc. Successful people only spend time on things that move their life’s goals forward.
So, I ask you, how do you spend your time? If you really want to know, get a notebook and track what you do every six minutes for a week. Be as specific as possible. Don’t just write down “work” from 8-5pm. Write down what you are doing at work. If one of your life’s goals is to improve your career, then you need to pull the wasted time out of your day at work too. Once you’re done, categorize how you’ve spent your time and see how much of your time is spent doing meaningful things that fit your life goals and how much time you just waste. I guarantee it will be eye opening. I guarantee that you can remove some “junk activities” and find time to learn to play guitar, volunteer, get in shape or even start a college degree.
As Laura Vanderkam in the book, “168 Hours” says, “The fact that we can make such choices [on how to use our time] makes us incredibly blessed. This is not true in parts of the world where people spend 6 hours a day fetching water. Chances are you live in an abundant, educated, free society. The truth is, in such a society, there is already plenty of time for raising kids while running a business, for working, teaching and training for a triathlon, or for whatever brings joy and meaning to your life.”
I am currently tracking my time in six minute intervals. I feel like time management is one of my strong suits, but I could be even better at it. If you are interested in seeing what I’m doing, just ask. I’d love to share it with you and I encourage you to do the same thing!
If nothing else, just try to catch yourself when you say, “I don’t have enough time to do x,y,x.” In a free society, you do have enough time, you are just choosing to spend your time elsewhere, and most likely on things that don’t fulfill you (like Facebook, the internet, email, etc).
Thanks! Have a great, meaningful day! Kindly, Jill Merriam
PS: Thanks, as always for living our mission statement, “we are solution providers and not product pushers. We believe everyone deserves to drive at nicer, newer car. Key Hyundai wants to keep your car fun and safe to drive for as long as you wish to drive it.”