Updated: Sep 1, 2019
The Deadly Race To The South Pole
Marc Chernoff tells a great story about Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott. In 1911, two explorers, Amundsen and Scott, embarked on a race against each other to become the first known human being to set foot upon the southernmost point of Earth. It was the age of Antarctic exploration, as the South Pole represented one of the last uncharted areas in the world. Amundsen wished to plant the Norwegian flag there on behalf of his country, while Scott hoped to stake his claim for England.
The journey there and back from their base camps was about 1,400 miles, which is roughly equivalent to a round-trip hike from New York City to Chicago. Both men would be traveling the same exact distance on foot through extremely cold and harsh weather conditions. And both men were equally equipped with experience, supplies, and a supporting team of fellow explorers. But what wasn’t certain is how each of them would approach the inevitable challenges they faced on the road ahead.
As it turned out, Amundsen and Scott took entirely different approaches to the very same challenges.
Scott directed his team to hike as far as possible on the good weather days and then rest on bad weather days to conserve energy. Conversely, Amundsen directed his team to follow a strict regimen of consistent daily progress by hiking exactly 20 miles every day, regardless of weather conditions. Even on the warmest, clear-sky days, when Amundsen’s team was capable of hiking much farther, Amundsen was absolutely adamant that they travel no more than 20 miles to conserve their energy for the following day’s hike.
Which team succeeded in the end?
The team that took consistent daily action and knew how to MANAGE TIME.
Robert Scott and his team unfortunately ran out of time. Starvation, exhaustion and the storms of the Antarctic took its toll on Scott and his team. They all perished.
What is time management? Can we really manage time? And let’s suppose we can manage time; will it really matter to our lives? I’ve heard it said that time is one of our most important resources. So, what is a resource and if time is a resource, why is it referred to as so very important? Hum...well, let’s break down some of these questions.
First, time management is being aware of how much time is needed to complete a task. To manage something means to simply oversee. So, yes, we can manage our time. Since our world revolves around 24-hours in a day or 1,440 minutes in each day, it seems pretty important to our lives to try and manage this thing called time. I don’t mean to bring a downer but just like food items have a shelf life, also known as an expiration date, so do we. The challenge is us humans don’t really know how long we have to live on this earth. Since I have an expiration date and some day will expire, I want to do whatever it takes to maximize my potential in this life. As a result, I do believe that time is one of our very most important resources. I want to use or manage this resource in a very special manner. I want to use time to enjoy life with friends and family. I want to use this resource to have an impact at my work. Lastly, time management is a legit superpower in so much that we do in life. In the work world, if a supervisor deems you as a person who is very good at time management, you are what is considered valuable! When one is valuable, success will find them. On the other hand, if you don’t manage your time well, this will come back to bite you. If you are late to work most of the time, people are talking about it and the talk is not in a positive manner.
Here are four ways to maximize your potential in the area of time management:
1. Ask yourself, “How much time will this task take to complete and how much time do I have to work on this?”
2. Get moving. Remember, time does not wait for anyone. It’s kind of crazy how much we waste this amazing resource.
3. Keep an eye on the clock. In today’s world, we should never say, “I just lost track of time.” We have cell phones, Fitbits, laptops and old-fashioned clocks on the wall to tell us what time it is.
4. Stay on target. Don’t drift. Don’t get distracted. In the words of that rebel fighter, “Stay on Target.” I’m ADHD and often times I hear from my wife and others that I’m a very focused person. Actually, I’m very focused on what time it is so I can maximize the amount of time I have.
Turn the above 4 into a habit. Do them over, and over, bit by bit and before too long, you will be really good at time management.