JUST STOP IT! Good time management means deciding what NOT to do.

I run multiple businesses, from a business school and VC firm to an NGO and a pro-basketball team. Oh, and I have five sons to look after. In short, I’m pretty busy.

That means I need to think very carefully how to assign my time.

My whole attitude to time management changed when I was around thirty.

Back then, I was working around the clock to build my business. Eventually I realized that the only way for me to use my time effectively was not just by prioritizing my activities, but by proactively deciding what not to do.

That is why I took a decision to STOP doing a whole load of things. I stopped going out for business dinners. I stopped playing golf. I stopped reading non-fiction. I stopped watching TV. I stopped long-distance commuting by moving to a house just three minutes’ walk from the office.

“Editing” or “curating” my life like this certainly made my workload more manageable.

My attitude to time management then went through a second change when I was around forty.

With three little boys around the house, I realized that I needed to ease up on working and “reclaim” more of my time for myself and my family.

I invested some of this new free time in fun things—mastering the board game Go, doing competitive swimming and, most recently, snowboarding.

After all, effective time management should apply to your whole life, not just to your work.

These days, people often compliment me on my “well balanced” life with its harmonious mix of work and leisure activities.

Although it’s nice to be complimented, these people are quite wrong. I spent my twenties studying—and playing—hard at business school, and (as mentioned earlier) worked like a dog throughout my thirties. Single-mindedly focused on growing my business, I had zero time for family or hobbies. I was overweight and exhausted. My life was wildly out of balance.

Since turning 40, all I’ve done is to take back some of what I sacrificed when I was younger. What’s the result? Certain earlier decades of my life were indeed extremely out of balance. However, my life as a whole is starting to balance out very nicely.

If you want to achieve anything big, the chances are your life will get seriously out of balance for a while. But if you take a long-term perspective, you can catch up later and restore the balance over your entire life span.

So, if you want to be a better manager of your time, I suggest you try the following simple steps.

1. Identify things you don’t have to do. STOP doing them.

2. Find things you’ve always wanted to do. DO them after you’ve made the necessary time.

3. Consider work-life balance from a “whole life span” perspective.

In the comments section below, why don’t you tell us things you have stopped doing? Or new, fun things that you’ve taken up later in life? I’m always keen to hear how people have “curated” their lives to make them better and more balanced.

Photo by InesBazdar

Mr. Yoshito Hori established GLOBIS Management School in 1992 and GLOBIS Capital Partners in 1996. In 2003, GLOBIS started its original MBA program which, in 2006, received accreditation from the Japanese Ministry of Education and gained “university” status. GLOBIS started a part-time MBA program in English in 2009 and a full-time MBA program in English in 2012.

A Harvard MBA graduate and former Sumitomo Corporation employee, Mr. Hori founded the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Japan Chapter in 1995 and became the first board member from Asia in charge of Asia Pacific region in 1996. He also served on the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s New Asian Leaders Executive Committee and Global Agenda Council on New Models of Leadership, as well as the Harvard Business School Alumni Board from 2005 to 2008. Currently, Mr. Hori is a board member of the Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives), and serves as co-chair of WEF’s Global Growth Companies.

In 2008, he launched the G1 Summit – a Japanese version of the WEF’s annual Davos forum. This led to the foundation of G1 Summit Institute in 2013, which Mr. Hori serves as Representative Director.

Just days after a huge earthquake struck northeast Japan in March 2011, Mr. Hori launched Project KIBOW to support the rebuilding of the disaster-affected areas. The following year Project KIBOW was incorporated as the KIBOW Foundation, which Mr. Hori serves as Representative Director.

An avid enthusiast of the Japanese game Go since age 40, Mr. Hori has been Director of the Nihon Ki-in (Japan Go Association) since June 2013.

Since October 2013, Mr. Hori has hosted a weekly TV program in Japan called Nippon Mirai Kaigi (Japan Future Conference). He has authored several books including Visionary Leaders who Create and Innovate Societies, Six Dimensions of Life, and My Personal Mission Statement.

Mr. Hori received his BS in Engineering from Kyoto University and his MBA from Harvard Business School.

He is an avid swimmer and enjoys spending time with his family, especially his five sons.

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