Weekly Musings: We all have the same 168 hours in a week. Spend yours wisely.

Time Management = Successful Life

Time Management = Successful Life

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.”




About Jill Merriam

I am a car dealer (http://www.keycars.com), a Mom to my little loves and a wife to my hubby Rob. I am addicted to my mission to be help people drive nicer, newer cars, leadership development and leading a fulfilling life. I hope you enjoy my musings.
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3 Responses to Weekly Musings: We all have the same 168 hours in a week. Spend yours wisely.

  1. Abdul Jiwan says:

    Hi Jill,

    I read most of your essays, musings, and notes. And until now I haven’t really disagreed with anything that you have said. But this time, I do.

    You have written: ” 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.”

    Because you have know me from the Microsoft days and probably know that I am a big believer in hard work, you may find it hard to believe that I disagree with this statement.

    Over the last decade, I have come to believe that the financial markets are very inefficient and irrational. In fact, not only are they irrational, but they are wildly irrational. And there are several books and studies to back up my claim (the best writer on this subject is likely Robert Shiller). And as a business person I must operate within this framework. In the last decade, I have witnessed:

    1) real estate developers make a killing off using massive amounts of leverage selling condos in a wildly inflated Vancouver real estate market where land can go for $240 psf and condos can get priced as high as $1,800 psf (at the top end). Condos as small as 1,000 square feet with cookie cutter finishings routinely sell for $1mn. To make a lot of money in this environment you must dedicate a lot of capital to these bubble prices and hope that they last, unlike the rest of the Western world. The end purchasors are also gamblers for they buy only to re-flip the properties later on.

    2) Warren Buffet sail through the financial crisis based on government bailouts and handouts despite being positioned exactly incorrectly going into the crisis (heavily invested in financial services and sub-prime lenders).

    3) Silver and gold investors get trashed over the last couple of years due to proven manipulation of the paper futures market (see Bart Chilton’s, of the CTFC, comments on the CFTC’s website).

    4) savers get trashed due to ludicrous central bank policies where in the USA the Federal Reserve is buying up to 80% of the newly issued treasuries to keep interest rates artificially low, punish savers, and reward the wild risk takers.

    5) the “plunge protection team” in the United States prop up a sputtering stock market (look it up, it does exist).

    While we operate a very profitable business in this environment managing and owning rental apartment buildings, we have been frustrated by the overpricing and gambling wherein returns on new acquisitions (from which we have abstained) have fallen to 2% and the major money is made by flipping buildings at obscene profits while the building’s operations and management languish.

    I can’t say that it is never luck because we have experienced and witnessed this “luck” happen over and over from wild gambling. It is this exact gambling in real estate that resulted in a massive financial crisis that would have brought the USA to a total financial collapse had the federal government not stepped in with massive bailouts. And there were major beneficiaries of these bailout who were in a position of pure luck to take advantage. It is easier to view it in an “easy to see” bubble market like Vancouver real estate. Eventually, many of these types of business people went bankrupt in other parts of the world. But until that happens, the profits keep rolling in.

    Abdul Jiwan

    • Jill Merriam says:

      Dear Abdul, Thanks for your thoughtful response! While I don’t miss Microsoft, I do miss working with you.

      I agree, the financial markets are irrational. My business is a bit different and I do believe that hard work, coupled with “smart” operating can be a differentiator. I also agree that “luck” can play a role but it is not the deciding factor. I just had a corporate attorney (who represents banks that finance car dealers) why some car dealers are successful while others with the same franchises, fail. In that case, it’s about running a solid business versus “being a car guy”.

      I also think that I am lucky to have been born into a land of opportunity. So, yes, luck comes into play. But, I don’t think luck alone makes for a solid business strategy.

      Hope all is well in Vancover! We are having Pacific Northwest like weather in Ct today.

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