May 27, 2008

Getting a Grip on Time

TAPP Time Management  Book

Other than the weather, more people talk about time than anything other than sex. And weather and time are two things we can do very little about and must ride the waves of what happens and then respond to it.

In my class on Time Management at SMU, I found myself saying to the participants, "wasting time doing what you enjoy is not wasting time." And in that thought, I began to realize how little dream time is available to us in our over scheduled lives, or at least mine. Do you have enough time to think and to create the work you were built to do?

If EQ or emotional intelligence is essentially effective self management, then TQ or Time Intelligence must be the effective use of time. What is effective use of time to you? Is it multi-tasking? Is it sitting and reading and thinking? Is it organizing others? Or all of the above?

As an executive coach and speaker, I look at the successful people in my world and they seem to have time to make the most of all they do. Bill Clinton was famous for using his listening skills to hone in on the messages that people wanted to tell him so that when they parted, they felt like their message had been completely listened to. This is actually a part of productivity because he was able to grasp the speakers message in the shortest time possible and then make the most of it.

One area I caution my coaching clients to avoid is multi-tasking. First, it annoys those who are trying to communicate with you. And two, the quality of work done while multi-tasking is usually not the best.

Look back in time and think of those who have come before. How did they use time before computers and even before typewriters? For a coaching project, I had to overnight write 50 definitations of the work I do. I felt like Mozart up in my room in the hotel, scratching out one after another. At the time, I was furious about this abuse of my time. Later, I have turned to those definations time after time with gratitude for the insights they have given me.

One helpful tool is to find out how you currently use your time. I have turned to the Inscape Publishing tools which has an excellent profile called Time Mastery. It identifies the approaches which keep me from the most effective use of my time including meetings, interruptions, etc. To see how one of my colleagues was able to weave this into a workshop for a team, look at

The key word for today is time after time. Do you repeat the same patterns that rob you of your great gift to accomplish what drives you? What drives your time?

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