I was reading a thought from Peter Drucker (about Peter Drucker) today on time management. It’s exactly what I needed to think through as I balanced my list of things to do and things that I don’t have to do.
This is what he says: “Effective executives, in my observation, do not start with their tasks. They start with their time. And they do not start out with planning. They start by finding out where their time actually goes. Then they attempt to manage their time and to cut back unproductive demands on their time.” And he goes on to say, “Effective executives know that time is the limiting factor.” (The Effective Executive; Peter F. Drucker ©1966 Harper & Row. pp.25)
What a great reminder. Instead of looking at my list of tasks that I have to get done today, I look at my time first, and adjust my time, evaluate my time, then see what tasks I can accomplish without losing control of my time and schedule. This is more than time management. It’s learning to manage our priorities!
Do you sometimes feel that you have no control over your schedule? Your to do list continues to grow, and you spend all of your time simply accomplishing tasks and “using” your valuable time. Steven Covey talks about this in his book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” as he talks about living in Quadrant II, which is the quadrant of planning, evaluation, thinking and being proactive in your relationships. We tend to spend so much time on things that control us and steal our valuable time, instead of us managing our time and being proactive to focus on the things that we need to focus on.
It’s simply asking some good questions before you start:
*What’s my time like today? What is important? What is urgent? What will help me accomplish the goals that I have? What will help me to be more effective?
*What can I “NOT” do? What can I simply delegate to someone else? What can I say “NO” to?
*What would I like to do with my time? What are some things that keep getting pushed off my list that I want to do? What can I do to change that?
David writes in the Psalms 39:4-5
“O Lord, help me understand my mortality and the brevity of life! Let me realize how quickly my life will pass! Look, you make my days short-lived, and my life span is nothing from your perspective. Surely all people, even those who seem secure, are nothing but vapor.”