What happens when your calendar marries your 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 I have ever read regarding time management boiled down to my ability to manage myself. Time is a precious commodity. One can feel it slipping away moment by moment. Recently, 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, it seems not quite that long ago on some days, and on other days a lifetime ago. Every time 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 essential. I have combined my to-do list with my calendar. Because having a to-do list without a calendar is the way to accomplish very little, a calendar with only appointments will lead to much activity but few results. One must combine their calendar and to-do list. If it is important enough to be on the list, 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 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 is earlier in the day.
The most important things I have to do today I will typically 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.
You will need to learn to treat your blocked time as if it were an appointment, for they are 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 mean that I must use every opportunity to learn; the best way to remember is to write it down. A short pencil is always better than the most extended memory.
I learned from David Allen that if an email, a text, or a note will take me two minutes or less to finish, I go ahead and take care of it when it is received or read.
In managing myself and my time, I must 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 cannot do. Not just bad things but good and beautiful things as well. One must make up their mind that they will do the things necessary to move them farther down the road, and other items will become a distraction if we allow them to 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, you need to do it. Please make up your mind, write it down, put it on your calendar, and execute. Victor Kiam said, “procrastination is an opportunities assassin.” Procrastination steals time and gives us a sense of being overwhelmed and smells to outsiders like laziness. You may have beautiful ideas, good intentions, and much going for you. But if you sit there, eventually, life will run over you. It would be best if you kept moving.
Please put it on the calendar and then do it.