"If you don't pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves."
— David Allen
How are you with appointments, scheduled due dates, family time? Are you experiencing too much project left at the end of your allotted time and too little time at home? How you manage your time is the by-product of your thoughts and your value of time itself. Learning how to manage our thoughts and habits allows us the freedom to prioritize and plan our days more efficiently.
Good leaders and managers are always busy; the demands on their time are more pressing than for most. What sets accomplished leaders apart from other leaders is how well they understand and prioritize their responsibilities. Some of the busiest leaders I know spend much quality time with their families.
Racing Against Time
"Focus your thoughts on the specifics at hand, rather than your thoughts about your tasks in general."
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines:
"Racing against time" as, "a situation in which something must happen or be done quickly because little time is available."
"Self-Management" as, by oneself of oneself or one's affairs. Self-management is about finding the self-control and mastery needed to take control of one's work (e.g., to manage one's time, workflow, and communication}.
I'm sure we all know people who never seem to have enough time to get all they need to do, done on time. I believe people who never seem to have enough time in a day to complete their tasks view the clock as an enemy they’re trying to conquer.
Of course, there's more going on here than the daily hours allotted to us. Numerous studies show that chronic racing against time is more psychological than chronological. Most issues with time management can stem from procrastination, lack of focus, or poor self-management.
Getting Off the Emotional Treadmill
"You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action."
— Tony Robbins
I have known gifted and talented people caught in the tyranny of the urgent due to the absence of boundaries between their careers and personal lives. While they're at the office, their thoughts are at home, and while they're physically at home their mentally still at the office. While overthinking the issues, they're delaying some much-needed action.
If we think of our mindset with a real estate analogy, we can see our mental and emotional focus is about location, location, location. You'll find that being fully present wherever you are alleviates much of the tension at home and work.
In John Maxwell's 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, He advises, "Stop thinking more work and start thinking what works?" He goes on to say, "More work will not necessarily increase your capacity. More of the same usually results in more of the same, when what we actually want is better than what we have."
"…I realized that I had to change my thinking. I looked at everything I was doing and started to ask myself, "What works? That's what I recommend you do. Figure out what works. To do that, ask yourself the following three questions:
What am I required to do?
What gives the greatest return?
What gives me the greatest reward?" (1)
I found these three questions invaluable (no pun intended) when applied in both family and career settings. Once we leap off the performance treadmill, Answer Maxwell's three simple questions within our areas of responsibility. We'll discover our peace of mind will lead to greater productivity across the board. Remember, life is a marathon not a sprint.
"Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort."
— Paul J. Meyer
(1) The Law of Expansion – 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.