time management tip # 21: the quantity quality myth

The quantity quality myth is something I’ve argued about time and time again.

In fact, I often find myself in the minority on a lot of issues. But when you consider that only 5% of the population is able to become wealthy, I guess I’m doing something right.

The big mistake many people make is doing what everyone else does.

As my mentor, Jim Rohn, reminds his listeners on his audio programs, “Find out what poor people read and don’t read it.” Tough love indeed, but that’s what we need from time to time.

A girl I dated back in the day was the biggest offender, but I know more than a few people that subscribe to the idea that more is better.

Ideally, when it comes to time that’s true. After all, who wouldn’t want more time?

Well, in certain situations, me.

Let me set the stage.

You meet your girlfriend who you haven’t met for a few days. You’re looking forward to spending the evening with her and she with you. Unfortunately, it’s been a bad day for one of you. Your boss chewed you out for something you didn’t do in the first place. You missed your train which meant you weren’t able to do your usual workout. She, on the other hand, received some shocking news about a friend. And if that wasn’t bad enough, one of the heels of her shoes broke and she had to walk two miles to get homein the rain.

Now you’d think they would both be happy to see each other after they had such terrible days.

Errr, yesand no.

What most people don’t know, or have never really thought about, is that time is not all created equal.

Sure, an hour is always an hour. However, I think there is time and quality time.

Confused?! Don’t be. Let me explain.

Have you ever spent an hour in class that felt like it was ten minutes long? Sure, the discussion was lively, you enjoyed every minute of it and you didn’t want it to come to an end. Then there are those classes that make you feel like you’ve spent an eternity trapped in the room. Same hour, different time.

Quality time is what we all want, even if we might not realize it.

It’s time well-spent. It’s time doing what we love, undisturbed, enjoyable and we leave feeling refreshed rather than tired from the time we spent. This could be with loved ones, family, friends, or just quiet time by ourselves.

Quality time is the time we want to have with the people we care about. The older we get, the more this becomes apparent.

I can’t tell you how much I love spending time with my son, especially when we’re both there. Neither of us is distracted or off doing our own things at different ends of the house. Whether it’s camping, doing Karate, swimming, playing a board game, watching a movie, eating dinnerI treasure those moments and wouldn’t trade them for anything. It’s one of the reasons I try and schedule most of my interviews late at night when my son is asleep.

Better to spend two hours of quality time with someone you care about, after having done your daily workout and dealt with the issue bugging you, than six hours whining about how you gained weight and complaining about how you haven’t had the time to deal with that issue that’s weighing on your mind.

It’s hard to put a price on peace of mind. This is especially true when spending time with people we care about most.

While we’d all like more time, the truth is we’re limited to what we have. What we need to be doing is working on turning as much as possible into quality time.

One hour of quality studying equals six hours of unfocused time. One hour spent listening to and taking notes from a successful person in your industry will save you many hours later on. One day devoted to your family away from your work, smartphone and computer will be remembered for years to come.

Sometimes more isn’t better.

Work on creating more quality time, and you’ll see just how true this is.

Give me quality over quantity any day.

Adrian Shepherd