If you do a Google search of the term “time management,” you’ll see thousands upon thousands of entries, including everything from skills training programs, varying definitions, explanatory videos, books, apps, certifications, and more.
But I believe most of us would agree that effective “time management” is something that is both extremely elusive in our lives and careers, and also strangely difficult to define and nail down concretely.
In managing time, are we attempting to manage the passage of time, or what we achieve during that time? Are we striving to manage who controls us in our execution of our projects and visions, within a specific timeframe, or do we wish to operate differently on our own so we can get to our goals in better, more life-affirming ways?
Most professionals I’ve coached and worked with haven’t thought about “time management” in a concrete, meaningful way, but one top coach, consultant and bestselling author is asking us today to do just that, and to relate to time very differently. And he shares how this new approach and mindset—of time-tipping—may very well transform our lives, careers, businesses and relationships.
Richie Norton is an award-winning author and serial entrepreneur. An executive coach to CEOs, he has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Inc., Entrepreneur, and Huffington Post and more. Pacific Business News recognized Norton as one of the Top Forty Under 40 “best and brightest young businessmen” in Hawaii.
Considered one of the world’s leading thinkers and included in Marshall Goldsmith’s Top 100 coaches community, he is the CEO and Co-founder of Prouduct — an Inc. 5000 company and a global entrepreneurship solution helping businesses go from idea to market with full-service sourcing, product strategy, and end-to-end supply chain.
He is also the author of several books including his latest, Anti-Time Management: Reclaim Your Time and Revolutionize Your Results with the Power of Time Tippingand his previous titlesThe Power of Starting Something Stupidand Résumés Are Dead and What to Do About It.
Here’s what Norton shares about shifting from a time-management approach to “time tipping,” and what happens when we do:
Kathy Caprino: Richie, what compelled you to write Anti-Time Management at this time?
Richie Norton: My family has had many brushes with tragedy that have made us fiercely dedicated to living a value-driven, time-centered life. These have included: my infant son’s death from whooping cough, my brother-in-law’s unexpected death at twenty-one, the loss of our three foster children after two years of uninterrupted custody, my wife’s stroke at age thirty-five, and my 11-year-old son being hit by a car that nearly took his life.
When my brother-in-law Gavin passed away, and later my son Gavin (who was named after him) also passed, a mentor asked me what I’d learned from their short lives. I articulated what I now call “Gavin’s Law” — Live to Start. Start to Live.
This life motto has been shared in my work with millions of people around the world. Trauma has an interesting way of changing the way you think. The loss of the two dearly-loved Gavins in my life forced me to reconsider how my own life was structured. And during those moments of quiet self-reflection, I considered how those words I hold dear to my heart – “Live to Start. Start to Live” – had begun to shape my daily life.
I’ve been fortunate to hear from some of my clients and readers how the principle of Gavin’s Law in my book The Power of Starting Something Stupid has helped them put family, friends, and dreams first as a choice, not at the expense, of meaningful work. Money and meaning can go hand in hand.
I wrote Anti-Time Management because, amidst the consulting and coaching work that emerged after I published The Power of Starting Something Stupid, something became apparent: It would be impossible to become an expert in all of these wildly amazing business ideas that my clients were bringing and discussing. So I worked to research, develop, and refine business models that could be successfully applied across multiple diverse scenarios, to help meet a wide variety of goals.
As clients brought their “stupid” ideas to life, I noticed that the most successful clients were those who were committed to bringing their ideas into existence in the world now. They didn’t want to wait until someday. They wanted to see significant change—both in their own lives and in the lives of others—today. So, I dedicated myself to developing training programs and scalable systems that were as deep and robust as the people who would come to rely upon them.
Caprino: So where does time management fit in? In your way of seeing time, what is the difference between time management and anti-time management?
Norton: It starts with a wake-up call: time management was designed as a means of wage-rate setting, not to increase the quality of your life.
Time management is a seductive promise. It sounds like you’ll have more time if you apply the principles of time management. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Time management was never designed to give you freedom.
More than one hundred years ago, industrialists fabricated a new adversarial relationship between humans and time with the invention of punch clocks, moving away from agrarian labor, which was informed by the sun.
In his book The Principles of Scientific Management, first published in 1911, Frederick Winslow Taylor, who is considered the father of scientific management, wrote, “In the past the man has been first; in the future the system must be first.”
Industry deliberately designed time management so a manager at work could control you and your time, what you do, where, and when.
Fortunately, we live at the end of an era where time management is rooted in the principles of the Industrial Age. No longer can big business thrive by squeezing out every drop of blood, sweat, and tears from workers. Rather, when corporations act this way and people talk, networks are fluid and people find new work options where they can thrive. At least that’s my hope of today’s many options—the economy of choices. The value-driven, time-centered life my family and I have created for ourselves results from choices we’ve made. We’ve created work environments for ourselves where prioritizing flexibility and attention means that people “must be first.”
Management often means control. But time management does not mean “time control.” The question isn’t about controlling time. The question is about who controls your time. In time management, they control your time. Period. In anti-time management, you control your time. To be clear: Time management has come to mean that you don’t have control of your time.
By contrast, anti-time management means you control your time, you create time, you create space and you make choices.
People don’t work for work’s sake. We work for something else. What is it that you work for? Start there.
Caprino: What does it mean to live beyond goals, habits and strengths, as you mention in your book?
Norton: How do two people with basically the same job and situation lead such different personal lives (regarding time availability for the people and things they work for)?
They do it on purpose—in three ways:
Priorities—Good things happen by prioritizing your attention, not by managing time.
Practices—Moving from distraction to action.
Payments—Don’t turn dreams into jobs. The job of a dream is to set you free.
When you move your point of view beyond the goal to your categorical desire—the meaning or purpose beyond the goal—an entirely new decision tree emerges. Goals, habits, strengths, personality tests, time management, and more are a means to an end. Moving beyond the means and into their meaning is where Time Tipping begins.
Anti-time management is the practice of multidimensional thinking and dynamic new ways of working to live beyond the traditional hamster wheel of goal-, habit-, and strength-management hysteria.
Act from your future, not toward it.
Caprino: What is a Time Tipper and what does it look like to time-tip?
Norton: A Time Tipperis a person who consciously implements projects that create more time in the long term than they take in the short term.
The Time Tipping method shows you how to turn your attention to your purposes and put aligned priorities into play. Here are just a few quick examples of Time Tippers I’ve worked with who changed their lives by utilizing this framework:
– A construction worker didn’t want to swing a hammer anymore because his wife was sick with multiple sclerosis. They now travel the world together (as she fights MS) with their children, teaching contractors how to hire and develop tradespeople, and he now earns five times his previous salary.
– A videographer, trapped in consignment work, added a new service around her values, selling related physical products—and is now making millions. She travels the world, raising her children with more time on her hands than ever.
– An executive at a growing company constantly exhausting time and health while straining family relationships—now accesses options not previously recognized to expand the company’s global footprint while regaining time, health, and personal life.
– A dentist with many offices and no time for a personal life or dreams now uses virtual consults to free up time and travel the world teaching other dentists how to get their lives back too.
These Time Tippers—and many others like them—have recreated their occupation in a way that makes their everyday life feel like a special opportunity (because it is).
Caprino: Any last words of advice for folks who struggle with time and in getting to all their perceived critical goals and tasks?
Norton: The moral of Anti-Time Management is that the work you love can still be done without sacrificing time for something you love more.
It’s irrational to think that a cake baked without sugar will come out of the oven tasting sweet. In life and business, bake your values in from the start. Value your time, don’t time your values.
Time is about love. Time is an expression of love. Whether you’re spending time, investing time, or sacrificing time—whether it’s quality time or quantity time—love shows up by how you spend your time.
There’s something simple I do to help me appreciate each day, relieve anxiety, and make space for a new pace. I watch the sunset. Try it.
Every sunset is an opportunity to reset.
When you reset at sunset, a tragedy becomes a budding triumph, stress becomes future success, and miscommunication becomes a meaningful opportunity to build trust.
To a Time Tipper, that means you work from who you want to be in the future (the sunset) and create paths for you to claim today (the sunrise).