Manage Your Time Like a Basketball Game

We are coming to the end of the first quarter of 2016. Most likely that's not how you look at the calendar, certainly not when it comes to non-work related thoughts. Nevertheless, the first three months of 2016 are in the books. They ain't coming back because we have filed them away in the annals of history. 

So of course that means the resolutions you made on a cold December night with that beer/wine/rye in your hand should be solid habits as spring arrives and thaws us out, right? 

If not, it's the perfect time to take inventory. The end of the first quarter is as good as any if you ask me!

What are some of things you said you would do differently this year? Eat better? Get in more exercise? Actually do some exercise? Did you promise yourself to watch less TV or volunteer more at an animal shelter? Take a minute to go through what I would call your "growth wish list.

We always begin new ideas like resolutions (growth wish lists), with great enthusiasm, hope and even willingness. Then most times, we let obstacles get in the way. Even the best intentions get distracted. The biggest distraction is simply the mismanagement of time. 

If we don't manage our time other obstacles sneak in. If you don't keep a watchful eye, poor time management becomes the guy letting in all of his friends through the back door, then disrupting the party you have been diligently planning for the past few months. Don't let time management do that to you. 

How can we look at managing our time better? How can we transform that growth wish list (GWL) into regular habits like watching The Bachelor every week? Maybe we can seek the answer in basketball. Since it's March, what better example!  

One thing I like about the sport is the concept of 4 minute WARS during the game. What am I talking about? Well in college the entire game is 40 minutes. You break that up into two halves of 20 minutes with one 15 minute intermission. Pretty simple symmetry. 

But coaches have made it routine for players to think of games in 4 minutes WARS. So each half is 5 individual WARS. Win more WARS then your opponent, and most likely you walk away with a victory. There are timeouts when you need them, and even outside forces want the game to pause from time to time for their own purposes (commercials). These timeouts allow you to reassess how you are doing, check on the game plan, and make adjustments if necessary. 

Breaking the game down into manageable parts is a good way to focus on what you planned to do by now, see what you are actually doing right now and then think about the future.

Sorta like what I'm asking you do as March comes to an end. 

What do we need to readjust so our personal GWL gets back on track, or even better, stays on track? What needs to happen to get that project at work you want to pitch off the ground? What about that home gym you want to set up in the garage? Take a timeout and adjust. 

Frankly it's important to remember to invest in yourself. Take 30 minutes in the morning to write something if you want to be a better writer. Win that WAR. Sign up for that excel spreadsheet class at work so you can pivot table that important data and impress the client during your meeting next month. Win that WAR. Don't be discouraged if time management wins a WAR here or there. By the time the next quarter ends right before the 4th of July, you will see how far along you've come. I promise!