Am I strategic with my time?

by Sam on May 18, 2010

One Minute Answer:  You are more ready than ever to be strategic with your time once you’ve applied the counsel in the previous four ASKs. That’s because you’ve reduced the routine, curtailed the crises, winnowed the wasted, and minimized the misguided portions of your day.


When you diminish these parasites, though, be swift to replace the time you gain with strategic activity before Parkinson’s Law sets in.


During his historic time-and-motion studies of British warships during World War II, C. Northcote Parkinson discovered that work expands to fill the time available to do it. So, be careful how you re-invest the precious minutes, hours, and days gained. Don’t unknowingly squander them where they’re not needed.


So, what are the best applications of your new-found time? Read on.



Five-Minute Answer:  Consider the definition of “strategic time.” It’s the opposite of routine, crisis, wasted, and misguided time. It’s the effort you apply directly in one or more of the strategic goal areas in the left-hand column of the table below. It adds rather than detracts from the value you put into the world.


Within which of these goal areas will you dedicate, or rededicate, yourself with the time and energy you gain by reducing the routine, crisis, wasted, and misguided dimensions of your day?


Print out this page and use the empty space under Goals at Work and Goals at Home to document your exact intent within each strategic goal area. Your personal goal statement will be more specific than the strategic goal area in which it is housed. As an example, for Create, grow, or fix a relationship your goal at home might be, “Heighten the intimacy in my marriage.”


For maximum impact, limit yourself initially to three such vows or even as few as one on which to concentrate.


Strategic Goal Areas

Goals at Work

Goals at Home

J  Achieve a deadline or accomplish an outcome



J  Compete for or win a prize



J  Meet another’s expectations



J  Lead more inspirationally



J  Become a more valued follower



J  Create, grow, or fix a relationship



J  Acquire or hone a skill



J  Exercise a gift or a talent



J  Help to save a soul for eternity



J  Support or advance a worthy cause



J  Uplift, help, strengthen, or protect someone



J  Avert or resolve conflict



J  Uphold my integrity



J  Speak truth into a situation



J  Realize peace of mind or contentment



J  Refresh or energize myself



J  Learn something new about myself




Now What?  Once you set a work or home goal, do this: (1) Partner with an accountability ally on the remaining steps. (2) Reconsider alternative goals you might set to be certain this is where you really want to begin. (3) Brainstorm all the barriers you can think of that have either kept you from the goal to date or represent obstacles to its accomplishment moving forward. (4) Prioritize the barriers, settling on the three or four that are most weighty. (5) Commit to an action plan that will overcome the major barriers and thus achieve the goal.


Enough Said:  “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Einstein.”  ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


Next Week:  I’ve spent 40 years in large and small companies listening to employees, analyzing their opinions expressed on surveys, and sitting with them in exit interviews. One of my current jobs is to make certain their leaders hear what they’re saying. That’s why next Wednesday morning you’ll wake up to, “What do employees want from their leaders?”

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