Have you seen “It’s a Wonderful Life”? (No, I’m not trying to jump start the holiday season in October; let’s leave that to the stores that are already selling candy canes and twinkle lights.) If you haven’t seen it – well, rectify that this year, but I’ll give you a brief overview.

In the second half of the movie, George Bailey wishes he’d never been born. An angel shows him what the town of Bedford Falls would look like without him. In an alternate universe, where George hadn’t been alive to save his brother Harry from drowning as a child, Harry didn’t grow up to become a fighter pilot, and wasn’t there to save a transport boat of American soldiers during World War II.

That’s just one of the ways in which the world is worse for not having George in it. He realizes just how important he is when he sees the ripple effect of his absence. It’s a powerful moment and a powerful message.

Which brings us to time management. Your choices about how you use your time probably don’t have the potential to either rescue or doom dozens of soldiers – but they absolutely have a ripple effect that plays out in big ways.

I’ve seen time and time again how the ripple effect plays out in people’s lives. Recently one of my clients thanked me for helping her get on top of her time management struggles. Because she was able to get more done with her time, she was able to put her house on the market earlier than she was expecting to. She made significantly more money from the sale than she would have if she’d waited.

Think about all the ripples this kind of occurrence would create in your life. Let’s say you found a way to get more done in less time. That meant you could take on an extra project that earned you $1,000 that you hadn’t anticipated. What would you use the money for? And how would that choice affect your future self, and the people you care about?

Let’s look at just a few theoretical ways this windfall could ripple through a person’s life.

  • Person A pays off a $1,000 bill that’s been weighing heavily on him. Paying it off raises his credit score by a few points. That makes him eligible for a better interest rate on a home loan, reducing his repayments in the future. Also, because he’d been worrying about how to afford that $1,000 bill, paying it off reduces his stress. He sleeps better, wakes up with more energy and nails a difficult presentation the next day.
  • Person B uses the money to pay for a special trip with her busy spouse. They spend a week relaxing and reconnecting. Their marriage becomes stronger and they finally have time to discuss a behavioral issue that’s affecting one of their kids. At home, they’re calm and rested and have a plan to help their child. They also book a vacation at the same place next year. It turns into an annual tradition.
  • Person C puts the money into an emergency fund. Two months later, he gets the flu and can’t work for two weeks. He uses the saved money to cover his living expenses. Without it, he wouldn’t have been able to cover rent and could have been evicted. The experience makes him realize how important it is to have a financial safety net, and he commits to growing his business and putting more in savings.

The ripple effect is a huge piece of the time management puzzle. It can work for you or against you. If you don’t use your time well one day and don’t complete your work, the next day will be twice as hard because you’ll have two days’ worth of tasks to complete.

You might be anxious about the next day and sleep poorly or snap at a family member or stranger. Suddenly you’re in a bad mood, and so is everyone around you.

But… what about if you trigger good ripples, like in the examples above? Making more time for yourself and the things you love will almost certainly have that effect.

Ready to make the ripple effect a force for good in your life?

Start with Time Matters Boot Camp LIVE! Join me December 5-7 outside Boston for three life-changing days!

You will: 

• Find out exactly what you need to do in your day to reach that goal that you’ve wanted to reach. 

• Learn how to focus on what matters most to you so you can create meaningful goals that you actually achieve. 

• Work with me and other participants (face-to-face) and really get clear on how to manage your time and tasks in a way that works for you. 

• Walk away with a customized system that works for you that will allow you to get things done! 

All the information is here – and if you act by October 15th, you can take advantage of my Super Early Bird Discount ($397 w/ Savings of $1600)! You could wait a bit longer to sign up… but think about the ripples you could create in your own life with an extra $1600 in your bank account.



Sarah Reiff-Hekking