What happens when your calendar marries you to-do list? Action and accomplishment are birthed! Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else. This quote is attributed to Peter Drucker. Time management and self-management are so intertwined that they are indistinguishable. Everything that I have ever read regarding time management really boiled down to my ability to manage myself. Time is a precious commodity one can feel it slipping away moment by moment. In recent days I have noticed through social media, that I am sent a reminder of events that took place two, four up to six years ago. As I look at the picture and recall the event, on some days it seems not quite that long ago and on other days a lifetime ago. Every time that I view one of these I am reminded of the precious gift of time and how quickly it passes.
So how does one manage time as well as themself?
A calendar is very important. As a matter of fact I have combined my to-do list with my calendar. Because to have a to-do list without a calendar, is the way to get very little accomplished. A calendar with only appointments, will lead to a lot of activity but few results. One must combine their calendar and to-do list. If it is important enough to be on the list, then it is important enough to be scheduled. This is one of the best ways to combine time allotment and goals. My practice is to set a timer in 20 to 30 minute increments and and work through the activities and actions on my list. Some call this time blocking. I do my best to schedule this time when I am at my best, which for me is earlier in the day.
The most important things I have to do today, I will normally schedule on my calendar for as early in the day as possible. There are a couple of reasons: I will do my best thinking when I am fresh, and if I take care of them before the day gets going, and am confident they will be accomplished.
One thing you will need to learn is to treat your blocked time as if it were an appointment. For they are in fact appointments to get things done.
Always carry a notebook. Yes I’m aware of electronic devices and use them myself. But self leadership and time management means that I must use every opportunity to learn and the best way to remember is to write it down. A short pencil is always better than the longest memory.
I learned from David Allen that if an email or a text or a note will take me two minutes or less to finish, then I go ahead and take care of it at the moment it is received or read.
In managing myself and my time I will have to learn to say no to some things. This is what we used to call discipline. Making a decision or taking action by its very nature means that there are things I will not be able to do. Not just bad things, but good and wonderful things as well. One must make up their mind that they are going to do the things necessary to move them farther down the road, and other things will become a distraction if we allow them hang around the edges of our day. In other words, you cannot be all things to everyone and you will not be able to do everything that comes your way.
With no offense to Nike, really you just need to do it. Make up your mind, write it down, put it on your calendar, and execute. Victor Kiam said “procrastination is opportunities assassin”. Procrastination steals time and gives us a sense of being overwhelmed and smells to outsiders like laziness. You may have wonderful ideas, good intentions, and have much going for you. But if you just sit there, eventually life will run over you. You must keep moving.
Put it on the calendar and then do it.