Monday, March 30, 2009

Managing Your Time

Managing your time is all about managing yourself.

Many mistaken leaders think it’s about managing segments, little chunks of time measured in hours, half hours and quarter hours. We search for better positioned segments so we can shove more things into them.

Then we put 70% of our hastily scratched to-do list, that we spent less than three minutes preparing, in the top priority category and try shoving those in the new little segments we just made. After all, almost everything in our life is a priority, isn’t it?

What we’re really doing is going faster and faster and shoving more and more into less and less. We start and stop and stumble along, working mostly in confusion. We fail to produce our best work or advance our best ideas.  Then for all our efforts we wonder why we slide down the slippery slope of stress, overload and burnout.

As executives and leaders, we need to manage ourselves and up front determine the few truly important things that require our attention, those one or two  things that if we started working on them without allowing interruption, could be brought to completion and make the biggest impact towards achieving the most desired outcomes.

Thinking through those most desired outcomes and the best means to reach them is time well spent. Imagine knowing so well what you will say 'yes' to, that saying 'no' becomes easy.

Imagine getting one really important thing completed today. I mean really important, the kind of thing that would make a difference. All other items would disappear, fade in significance or step in line to take their turn as one of the vital few later on.

Determine that one or two and start there today ... no interruptions ... complete focus ... through to conclusion. If you're in leadership, you absolutely need to get control of yourself, to get control of your time, to make a difference. After all, making a difference is why you are a leader.

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