DISCIPLINES: Mental Models, Personal Mastery

Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.
— Peter F. Drucker

How do we develop a friendly relationship with time? I am a pretty good time manager, yet even as I write this, there are 10 other things calling me. In order to live out the theme I’ve chosen for myself this year: Share more soup, stories and fun, I’m going to have to manage my time well! So I’m revisiting my 3 favorite time management tips. The first 2 come from time management expert, Bill Baren. I learned the 3rd years ago and it is very useful.

  1. At night, ask yourself a prioritizing question with a twist, “What 3 things do I need to do tomorrow to feel really good about myself?” “To feel really good about myself” is the key here. The question is different from “What should I do tomorrow?” or “What do I want to do tomorrow?” Write down the 3 things and leave them on your desk before going to bed. Sleep well. (This is a great sleep aid.) Then do those 3 things the next day. You may do other things as well, but make sure you do the 3 you know will make you feel good about yourself.

  2. Use a Power Hour. Baren says this is especially useful if it’s something you have a lot of resistance towards, or something so big it feels overwhelming. Commit to focusing on one thing for 50 minutes. Do it when your energy is high. Write on paper exactly what you’re doing, then immerse yourself in the activity for 50 TIMED MINUTES. (It’s good to set a timer that dings.) Then reward yourself for 10 minutes with something you really like to do, stretch, have tea, read, walk, call a friend. Something nurturing. I have been amazed at the results when I used a Power Hour to clean my office, get started on a proposal, pay bills, write thank you notes, and figure out a new software program.

  3. Give difficult, emotional or boring-but-necessary issues your attention, but not your energy. This takes practice, but it’s possible and it helps. Often the exhausting part of our lives is our emotional response to people or tasks. Do what you have to do, or anything to help the situation, then move your focus to something else. Here’s an example: Nate’s boss returned a report he’d written with the words, “Back to the drawing board” written on it in red. All kinds of defensive and angry emotions popped up for Nate. He thought of complaining about his boss with a colleague he knew would commiserate. (This would have given the situation energy.) Instead he called his boss and asked, “Can you give me a couple of ideas you think would improve the report?” The boss did. Nate fixed several parts, then sent it back. He admitted the report was improved with the boss’ input. By giving it attention but not energy, it was done quickly and he moved on.

Coaching Questions

  1. What 3 things do you need to do tomorrow to feel really good about yourself?

  2. On what project could a Power Hour help you? What time of day will be best? What will you do for your reward?

  3. Where are you spending emotional energy when giving your attention would be enough?


Please join me for a 45-minute telegathering to explore making friends with time more fully. Call Tuesday, February 23 at noon Eastern (11:00 a.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. MT, 9:00 a.m. Pacific) 1-218-862-1300 PIN 276583. No need to register…just call at that time!

Sharon Eakes | 720 Maple Lane | Sewickley, PA 15143

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