CHAPTER 35Stop trying to manage time

I often ask groups of leaders to specify one aspect of their role they need to improve, and someone will always say time management. I normally reply that you can’t manage time — that it is impossible to manage something you cannot totally control.

Rather than trying to manage time, manage the priorities that consume your time — those you do have control over. You can choose what to do when and how much time you are going to allocate to completing that priority. So it’s not about managing your time, it’s about managing your priorities.

The greatest skill you can apply in your life, your career and your business is to determine what is important, what is vital and what gives you the highest payoff for the effort expended. Every day you face different priorities. How you manage them determines your progress each day.

You see, if you don’t have any priorities, you will never feel in control, and progress towards your goals will elude you. If you don’t set your own priorities, someone else will set them for you and you will be part of their plan, not yours.

In managing priorities you can be reactive, adaptive or proactive.

When you are reactive you feel like you have little control or even are out of control. You are always responding to a situation or set of circumstances of someone else’s making, which gives you that feeling of always striving but never arriving. If this happens for too long, not only will you feel frustrated, but a sense ...

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