Category Archives: Time Management

Ducks in order?

As I look around my office and see the papers, and think about the closet that needs to be purged, I sigh….I need to put my ducks in order. >

Take time to notice

On autopilot, are we?

We stumble out of bed in a sleepy fog at 0-dark-30 and get through our morning routine by habit (habit is good). Then somewhere after or during the morning shower or maybe not until we turn on the car after our morning caffeine, we begin to wake up. Do we take time to notice? >

Are you over-committing?

Keeping commitments is a major factor in trustworthiness and accountability. It can be described as “Doing what you said you would do.”

And then there is committing. You can do anything, but not everything. Some signs of over committing are:

-not keeping your commitments (duh);

-being grouchy or hard to be around;

-not enjoying what you are dealing with;

-neglecting important people (like family) or activities (like exercise);

-spending the whole weekend catching up on the work you couldn’t get to during the week;

-not doing the work only you can do ’cause you are doing other people’s work…..

Shall I go on?

Yes, I know in some way this is all of us, but don’t use that as an excuse. As humans, we are so tempted to justify our bad behavior by pointing at someone else we know who gets away with it. My classic whine from my childhood was “But you let Joe do it!” (my older brother). Poor Joe, I got away with a lot more than he did. Don’t feel sorry for him. He was very good at pointing this out to Mom.

Speaking of which, whining and pointing fingers just makes you look weak. Feeling sorry for yourself doesn’t get you anywhere either.

Here are some ways to address the issue:

Delegate. If you are able to, delegate everything that you aren’t good at. Especially when there  are people within your organization who are extremely good at it or need new challenges to grow.

Don’t take the monkey back. Read Who’s got the monkey?

Say no. If you don’t say no to the lower priority activities, you can’t say yes to what will bring you and your company value. Get clear on where you bring value and what brings you joy, or meets your goals. Do you know what those are? If not, start there.

Get more sleep. Take a vacation from Facebook, email, late night television and get a half hour more sleep each night.

Block out time on your calendar to spend time doing what is important and stick to it. You don”t have to be perfect; you do need to get better.


Photo courtesy of

Do you begin with the end in mind?

Did you get up this morning and have a result you were working for today? Or, do you have a goal you set to be completed this week? Did you make appointments with yourself during the week, and keep them so that you met your goal? Do you begin with the end in mind?

My guess is that you do this- sometimes. You create a plan and you work that plan until it is done. You might come back to it over and over again until it is completed. Generally, it is around something urgent. “Got to get this proposal done for the client by Tuesday”. Not, “Going to figure out a new market for this underselling product by Tuesday.”

The important, strategic, not urgent work for which only you are qualified gets pushed to the side. Why is that?

Some of it is that it feels really effective to check something off our list. Some of it is that the environment we have created for ourselves is a huge distraction from getting any thinking, creative or project work done. Or, our anxiety over short-term issues talks up all our mindspace.

Steven Covey wrote a book in 1989, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Great book if you haven’t read or re-read it recently. The second habit was: Begin with the end in mind. Sounds obvious, but when we look at what we have accomplished after the fact, we sure don’t feel satisfied.

This week pick one important, not-urgent, strategic issue or opportunity and block off specific hours in your calendar to work on it.  Check back in on it Friday afternoon. If you got it done, give yourself a big pat on the back and pick the one for nexr week before you go home. Remember, begin with the end in mind.

Did you schedule creativity today?

If you are a leader of a company or organization, my guess is that you are on boards of non-profits, parent teacher organizations, councils for your church or temple, your golf club, your book club, scouting and more.

And, why do you do so much? >

Whack-a-Mole – Part 2

Last week we talked about how many CEO’s are really behaving like Chief Whack-a-Mole Officers. The same problem keeps popping up over and over again and they keep whacking it to no avail. And I shared some important questions you should ask yourself if you self-identified as a CWO. Your answers should begin to help you stop your futile habit of solving systemic issues within your company by applying the same old whack.

Now for part two. The winner of whack-a-mole goes after those pesky moles the fastest. That reminds me of checklist management. >