“Time,” as Peter Drucker said, “is our scarcest and most precious resource. You can obtain greater quantities of every other resource except time.”
Purpose! It is not just about getting things done, but about getting the right things done.
For there is nothing worse than performing with excellence those things that need not be done at all.
Just as critical is the need to eliminate wasting the time of those who we work with.
For only by purposeful abandonment can we focus on our priorities and managing the time we spend on them.
To understand how we spend our time we must habitually take a weekly snapshot. This gives us reality check and a foundation to improve.
The next step is to prioritise. What are the right things to do and in what order – not just for our organisation, but in our own personal lives?
I have found some success in splitting these into two: actions and engagements.
Performance! What should we work on? This depends less on our desires and more on what is right. It takes reflection and discipline.
What are our strengths? How can maximise our strengths by doing what we are good at and empowering those around us with responsibilities that suit theirs.
We must also dedicate time to the critical personal routines that fulfil us – spiritual, physical, mental, social and learning.
People! For as much time as we spend working, we should spend engaging with those around us. Understanding each other and building trust is important.
These include our work colleagues, board members, customers, non-customers and suppliers. In our personal life, our family, friends, mentors and mentees.
Getting the right balance between actions and engagements is key to successful time management.
A daily or weekly plan helps direct us.
It pays to schedule our priorities, not prioritise our schedule. Making time for the right things and the right people.
I’ve attached a worksheet that I have used for many years. It helps me not only record my time but direct it and allows me to ensure I have meaningful engagements with those in my work and personal life.
There is a spreadsheet that you can edit with people’s names as well as schedule actions and priorities. I hope you find it useful.
In closing, it is worth remembering the words of the late great sports reporter Craig Sager who said prior to his passing, “Time is something that cannot be bought, it cannot be wagered with God, and it is not in endless supply. Time is simply how you live your life.”