More on Time Management

Reading a John C. Maxwell article in the September 2017 edition of Success about time management, entitled “4 Tips to Set Yourself Up for a Better Tomorrow Today” got me thinking.  On a hunch, I went back and reviewed several other articles, publications and the ActionCOACH TimeRICH seminar on the subject of time management and was able to confirm my conclusion that

Time Management is really Self Management!

This is not exactly a new idea, I’ve said this during numerous presentations.  So why highlight it now in this blog?  It seems to me that many of us brush off the importance of time-self management.  Taking an “I am what I am” attitude rather than seeking to improve our use of our time.  Thus, I am going to reiterate a few of our top self-time management tips:
  • Set personally motivating goals – if your goals are truly important to you, you must strive to connect every activity to them. In the article, Maxwell encourages creating a Priority Inventory, another way of looking at the connection of your goals to your activities.
  • Don’t finish today until you plan tomorrow – Maxwell explains two concepts in his article; be deliberate in your use of time, and hone your decision-making skills. Once you increase your awareness of your goals and their relationship to your activities, you will become more deliberate in your investment of time.  The decision as to what to address and what not to address will become easier, enhancing your self management.  Remember, every time you say “YES” to something, you are saying “NO” to many other activities.
  • Create a Default Diary – a schedule of how you intend to invest your time on “normal” days. Your Default Diary (Ideal Week or Default Calendar, we use these terms interchangeably at ActionCOACH) accomplishes many things; it sets your time expectations, and communicates them.  You will feel uneasy when your activities conflict with your internal clock once it has been set via your Default Diary.  Many of my clients use their Default Calendar as a communication tool with their teams, using the tool to create “deep thinking” time slots.
  • Delegate – Effective delegation is the key to successful time and self management. None of us are expert or skilled in all aspects necessary for the success of our businesses or lives.  We are faced with the choice to do it all, abdicate or delegate numerous times every day.  Should I change the oil in my car myself?  Should I abdicate the oil change by simply dropping off the car at my local service station? Or, should I effectively delegate the oil change by carefully selecting the service station or dealer, asking them about the oil and filter they are going to use, and all the other details related to the oil change?  I used this example to exemplify the fact that we can all delegate to our extended team even if we have no direct employees.  When delegating, John Maxwell makes the point the we should not mistake activity for advancement.  This applies to those we delegate to, as well as ourselves.
John C. Maxwell included the following quote in the article:

“Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Improve them, and they will become the brightest gems.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Remember, you cannot replenish your time, once a moment is gone, it is gone.  As Steadman Graham said at one of our ActionCOACH conferences,

“Time is the great equalizer.  We all have 24 hours in a day.”

His message continued to say that the very wealthy use their time more effectively.  How are you investing your precious time?  My colleagues and I at ActionCOACH are uniquely qualified to assist you toward effective delegation and successful self and time management.

Oops!

I pride myself on my organizational skills and attention to detail.  Since my coaching practice depends on both, I’ve developed spreadsheets, procedures, and extensive files on my shared disk drive which enable me to run my business effectively and efficiently.  It’s a system that works well, enables leverage, and keeps me in check. So, imagine my chagrin when all too late, I – or rather my wife – discovered a typo in my December newsletter that was missed by both me and my assistant.  It’s hard to correct without jamming up people’s inboxes so the most I could hope for is … laughter! Yes, we have to laugh at these minor transgressions and put them into perspective.  In this case, my assistant indicated 2016, not 2017 for a January seminar.  She herself laughed and said that she was still writing 2014 on checks.  I had little choice but to laugh along with her because this is very likely a universal thing.  (By the way, as I finalize this toward the end of December, I note that although many opened the December newsletter, no one called me out about the typo.) All too often, we are quick to point out errors and mistakes – as my wife did about the incorrect year.  I think it gives us some satisfaction knowing that we are all flawed.  So how do you overcome setbacks like this?  Here’s a formula:
  1. Be above the line.  Apologize without making excuses.  Saying “I’m sorry” acknowledges the mistake and demonstrates being accountable.  Likewise, if you are on the receiving end of the error, give the person a chance to own up to it without using accountability as a weapon.
  2.  Correct.  After you apologize, ask how you can make it right.  Come up with ideas on your own and collaborate with peers if necessary.  And, on the receiving end, listen and appreciate.
  3. Learn.  There is a vast body of published biographies, auto biographies, business books, articles and knowledge that equate failure and mistakes with prerequisites to success. Bottom line, you’ve got to Learn to Earn.
On the other hand, if you keep making the same mistakes, then it’s time to hire an ActionCOACH business coach to help you break through the obstacles that may be holding you back.  In addition, if you need to design your business to maximize your leverage or would like to learn more about bringing your business and yourself above the line of choice, contact myself or any of my colleagues for a no obligation complementary coaching diagnostic session and learn how we can add value to you and your business.