How many people have an eureka moment, something which changed their life forever; a turning point or a complete shift in their life’s pattern? For those that haven’t, I imagine that’s a result of being too busy, shackled by the demands of daily life.  It has probably happened (to a greater or lesser extent) without even realising it!

I was, and believe I still am, a great networker as this was the means by which I built a property empire.  The old adage ‘Who you know, not what you know,’ drove my success. Joining lots of clubs, professional bodies, meet and greet organisations, breakfast meetings, business lunches, nightly social dinners (which always had a business edge) and being a dominant part of the community in which I lived was key. I also had a very supportive and long-suffering wife and three kids none of whom I saw enough of. Life was becoming exhausting, selfish and false; not a comfortable place to be.

Playing a 40 minute game of squash every Monday lunchtime was a passion and vehicle to keep fit, always with the same person and always at 13.00hrs sharp – you could never be late but, I always was, sometimes very late. My infuriated partner decided to book me into a single day’s training, a Time Manager course in London. The presenter walked on stage, casually dressed with a suitcase, introduced himself and then he opened it. The suitcase was packed full of pine needles and formed a huge heap on the stage!

“Guys”, he said, “This is your life, a crazy mess of small tasks, jobs and activities. You need structure and to manage your time; your life is full of pine needles.”

Learning how to structure your long and short term goals and then planning your year, month, week and day to achieve them requires structure and focus. It requires you to make an appointment with your self, prioritise your time and value what you have, value what is important to you and those close to you; all you have to do is make the time, the rest will follow. It is true that I was never late again for the squash game and some 40 years later I still apply these principals to everything I do.