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It’s about time to better manage your time

Last week I was working on a Shale Crescent USA project out of my home office when my doorbell rang. It was Bradley, my 7-year-old neighbor from across the street. He asked, “Mr. Kozera, will you catch football with me?”

Bradley is a good kid. His mother is deployed with the military, so Bradley is living with his grandparents. His grandfather has a big front yard, and occasionally I will kick a soccer ball around or catch football with him.

Bradley just got home from school. His timing was terrible, so I told him, “Bradley, I’m in the middle of an important project I need to finish. How about if I come over later after I finish?”

Bradley slowly said, “Ok,” and quietly walked away. I was starting to close the door and stopped.

“Bradley, get your football. I’ll be over.”

He raced across the street to get his football. I was surprised how well Bradley could suddenly catch a football and asked, “Bradley how did you start catching a football so well?”

Bradley threw a perfect spiral pass to me from 10 yards away and in a matter of fact manner answered, “Because of what you showed me when we practiced the other day.” I had no idea.

After about 20 minutes Bradley needed to get in from the heat and I still had work to do. I left re-energized and happy to have spent time with him. Somehow, I finished the project with time to spare.

Time is a gift. It is also a great equalizer. We all have the same amount of time, 24 hours a day. It is what we do with the time we have that makes a difference in our lives and the lives of others. We can use our financial resources to help others, and this is important. When we share our time and experience, we share something no one else can give.

Everyone wants our time, like our employer, family, friends and even telemarketers. We choose how we spend our time and who we spend our time with. Life is full of tough choices. Have you ever looked back to see how you spend your time?

Our job is important because it provides for our family. We still need to make time to have relationships with our family and friends. I have never heard of anyone on their deathbed who wished they had spent more time at work.

When I was a young manager, I had a life-changing conversation with an older manager. His daughter was a high school cheerleader. He was so busy working that he never saw her cheer at a single game over four years. She is grown now and married. He will never have the opportunity again. I decided that I never wanted to be in the same position.

I have a close friend who routinely never used weeks of his vacation time. His excuse was he had so much to do that he didn’t have time for vacation. He was financially successful and rose up the corporate ladder. Unfortunately, it cost him his marriage. He eventually lost his job when the company downsized. Today he is doing much better. He changed how he spends his time to align it with his values. He takes vacations and spends quality time with his children and grandchildren.

How we spend our time determines our financial success, career success and the success of our relationships. It is all about time.

Like all businesses, Shale Crescent USA struggles with the best uses of our time. We have marketing to do and prospects to contact. We have conferences to attend because that is where we meet and follow up with our best prospects and leads. We have limited people, a limited budget and not enough time. We cover the world with prospects and leads in Asia, South America, Europe and in the Middle East in addition to North America. Getting emails in the middle of the night is normal. We are constantly looking for ways to be more efficient. We are forming partnerships that will allow us to contact foreign companies on a regular basis without us having to travel all the time.

How can we all make the best use of our time? In business comparing our results to our goals and our organizational vision helps to keep us on track. We have Mr. K who tells us when we have lost our focus and are chasing bright shiny objects. Right now, focusing on our leads and prospects is top priority.

Steven Covey in his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” tells us to begin with the end in mind. He suggests we visualize our own funeral and what our family, friends, co-workers and community would say about us at the end of our life. It will show us what we really value, based on our actions and how we spend our time. If we don’t like what we hear we need to change how we spend our time.

Shale Crescent did a planning session over a year ago where we visualized what we wanted our region to look like in five years. We then put actions in place to make that happen. Our challenge is to use our time on tasks having the greatest opportunity to make the vision happen.

I can’t explain it. The more I give of my time to those who need it like Bradley, the more blessings I receive in many ways. A friend told me years ago, “Give with a loving heart and never worry about receiving.” I’m glad that Bradley gave me the opportunity.

Thoughts to ponder.

Kozera, gkozera@shalecrescentusa.com, is the director of marketing and sales for Shale Crescent USA. He is a professional engineer with a master’s in environmental engineering and over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry.

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