Time Management: Become the CEO of Your Life

Rex Allred said, “One of the most important skills in the area of time management is the skill of properly setting and pursuing priorities” (New Era, June 1997). In other words, one of the best ways to evaluate what’s really important in our lives is to simply look at how and where we spend our time. Follow the time trail and you will truly see a person’s priorities. 

Picture this:
You tell your friend that you value most your spirituality, BYU education, and job.  However, in reality your friend sees something a little different:
Time Spent in a Given Week:
Watching Britain’s Got Talent on YouTube: 22 hours
Playing Ultimate: 8 hours
Hangin’ with your crew: 7 hours
Spending time with your future (hopefully) eternal companion: 6 hours
Studying for class: 3 hours
Reading your scriptures: 3 hours
Work: 0 hours (you were fired because you kept showing up late to work)
What do you think your friend would conclude about your values?
So how do you begin allocating your time and effort to those areas of your life that you value most? 

Audit your time spent
Many of us do not take a close, honest look at our time usage because ignorance is bliss. We do not want to face a reality that could cause us to make difficult changes.  But if you want to be the CEO of your life you have to know how things are running in every facet of your life. We suggest you gather and record time usage data for about 2 weeks. You can use the following tools to help you collect and log data: 

Rescue Time
Good old pocket note book and pen

Create goals
If your current time usage does not accurately reflect what is most important to you, start making concrete goals that align with your true desires.
For example, make a list of what is most important in your life. Keep it short and sweet! Best-selling author and business professor Jim Collins says, “If you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any” (Jim Collins: Good to Great in 10 Steps).  A good way to do this exercise is to create three priorities for your work life, and three for your personal life. Decide how much time you want to devote to each priority. There are many ways to do this. You can set an hours-per-day goal, an hours-per-week goal, or even track your time as a percentage. Jim Collins decided years ago to spend 50% of his time on creative pursuits (writing books, research, etc.), 30% on teaching-related activities, and 20% on all other responsibilities (http://www.nytimes.com/).
Keep track
Understand that this is not a one-time deal. In order for you to be successful you must diligently keep track of your time and goals. Jim Collins carries around stopwatches to keep running totals on how successful he has been in dividing up his workday according to his goals. You don’t have to be this exact, but do create or use a tracking system that will help you stay the course.

Learn to say no!
In your life this means separating the good from the best and refusing to take on responsibilities that do not align with your goals and priorities, even if it temporarily makes you feel guilty. The key here is to keep your life simple and downsize whenever and wherever possible. So be the CEO of your life, and like Donald Trump tell your time wasters, “You’re fired!”

1 comment:

  1. Hi, excellent post!

    Mostly this sentence is very imporant for me: "Jim Collins carries around stopwatches to keep running totals on how successful he has been in dividing up his workday according to his goals." The problem is that people don't aways remember about operating stopwatch. Therefore it's good idea to use time tracker that detect tasks automatically and measures it's time. For example www.timecamp.com has this feature. Do you have any experience with this tool?