Where is George Carlin when you need him? I found myself thinking, “I don’t have time to write a blog on Time Management.” When did I ever lose time to now not have it when I need it? And when I fail to complete this blog before my next appointment I bet my first thought will be, “I ran out of time.” When I got outside of time, where was I? The appointment arrived and, sure enough, I thought it.
If I have already lost you, GOOD. Time Management is an oxymoron. Who can really direct, control, discipline and “manage” time? Time is constant, consistent, and totally oblivious to you. It’s free to all from Bill Gates, LeBron James, to your unemployed neighbor. We all get the same amount each day.
While time is free, it’s also the most valuable possession you have. Carl Sandburg said it best, “Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”
In the 1930’s Mr. Charles Schwab, the young president of Bethlehem Steel, retained Mr. Ivy Lee, a famous management consultant, to help him manage his large operation. Mr. Schwab gladly paid him $25,000 for the following advice:
1) Each night, list all your activities for the following day.
2) Prioritize them in order of importance.
3) Each morning begin working on the most important item.
4) Do not go to the second item until you complete the first one.
Charles Schwab credits those simple statements for much of his great success at Bethlehem Steel. And $25,000 was a decade’s wages for the average worker, if they could find a job then.
Time management is really priority management. As Brian Tracy stated on his time management CD’s, “You can’t do everything, but you can always do the first thing.” This sounded so easy when I heard it, until I tried to put this into action. Still working on this challenge today. And I am getting better.
Having been interrupted five times between this sentence and the last one, I know the challenge of these suggestions. I decided to offer workshops on the topic as a form of self-help. Every time I cover the subject, my priority management and execution increases. The important work gets done and the time-crunch stress fades away. This leaves me with more time to enjoy today and go to sleep knowing today was well spent.
If you found yourself arguing with this blog, checking your smart phone while reading this, or going to bed anxious, I hope to see you at the next workshop in July.