Why do I struggle with time? Sometimes the air is filled with raw stress. My desk looks like a tornado swept by. I can’t even find my own thoughts!

Time is in such short supply. Or is it? Since I started my foray into entrepreneurship, time has been one big battle. I work from my home office. The temptation to stay “switched on” to work is very high.

There is no commute. I can work for any stretch of time as I want. However, I can feel the conflict this is bringing to my relationships. “Just one more hour to fix this or sort out that,” I tell myself. The cumulative effect is frightening!

I thought back to my reader survey a few weeks ago. My surprise was a common thread in response to the following question: “If there is one service that could solve the biggest leadership, communication or branding problem that you have, what would that be?”

The responses were around time management, getting started, shifting goals, tools for meeting management and technology in decision-making. I could identify with the responses.

My struggle to find a solution to my time problem had me frozen in place. The more I thought about it, the scarier it seemed. In desperation, I became fixated in the need to reset and start afresh. Before this phase of my life, time management wasn’t a problem at all.

Remember that your past successes may lead to your future failure. However, if you learn a lesson from every failure, then you may ultimately succeed.” ~ Jack Ma, Alibaba

I now acknowledge that I need to change. To take full leadership of my time, I came up with the START. It stands for Stop, Tap, Articulate, Repeat and Turn. You are welcome to adapt for yourself.

Stop –  Concentrating on the impossibilities narrows your options. When you embrace the possibilities, opportunities begin to emerge. We tend to live up to our expectations. I will now stick to my goals with tenacity.
Tap – Focus on making other people’s lives better. Thinking beyond yourself helps you to thrive. And this is because giving is life. I need to tap into people more and help them realize their potential. You can never go wrong with this. As I invest my time in grow leaders, I will also invest in myself. I am not Superman!
Articulate – Be clear and coherent on who you are. Don’t complicate things. If you identify your why, life becomes extremely valuable. You will not compromise just to fit in. Remember, only dead fish go with the flow. My lighthouse is my legacy.
Repeat – Your goals may not work the first time. And that is okay. However, always be on the lookout for opportunity to improve. Revisit your goals and structure your time for the maximum effect rather than activity. I need to remember that failing one time is not the end of everything.
Turn – Get moving! It is easier to turn a moving wheel than a stationery one. One of my biggest handicaps is that I can fiddle my work to death. By the time I think it’s done, people have moved on. But I am learning that you can only improve something created for people with the people!

Question: Do you struggle with managing your time? What practices and tools have helped you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

photo credit: 379 – Tile Clock – Texture via photopin (license)

About Kimunya Mugo

I have worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 15 years. Trained as a scientist (horticulture), I have always loved leadership and communication. However, it was not a direct transition. I was kind of ‘pushed’ into it when my first boss put me in charge of developing my first website back in 1999 (by the way, I had no clue how to do it!). In a month, it was up and running.

My last day job was as Regional Director for Communication & Branding of WWF in eastern and southern Africa. This was by far the toughest position I had ever held. But through it, I learned the most valuable lessons in leadership, working with teams spread over six countries. Before that, I worked in a variety of roles for three other organizations (see full profile).

I have also been a coach of some very critical leaders in society, parents! Since 2007, my wife and I have coached hundreds to become better leaders at home.

I am married to my best friend Harriette since 2004. We have three children and make our home in Nairobi, Kenya.

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