Time management is an art and science.
Unfortunately, there is still a big gap between the state of the art and the state of the practice.
I don’t hear too many people complain that they have too much time on their hands.
If they do, I’m more than happy to help them spend it.
Moving Time Management Up the Stack
The key to moving your time management skills up the stack, is to understand how time management has evolved over the years. For example, one of the most important insights into time management is that it’s not about time management, it’s about energy management. Another insight is that it’s outcomes, not activities.
Lucky for us, Stephen Covey outlined the Four Generations of Time Management in his best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Gen 1 Time Management: Notes and Checklists
Generation 1 Time Management is all about consolidating and sorting all the things you want to get done or have to do.
“Characterized by notes and checklists, an effort to give some semblance of recognition and inclusiveness to the many demands place on our time and energy.”
Gen 2 Time Management: Calendars and Appointment Books
Generation 2 Time Management isall about moving things from “To-Do” lists onto your calendar.
”Characterized by calendars and appointment books. This wave reflects an attempt to look ahead, to schedule events and activities in the future.”
Gen 3 Time Management: Weekly Plans
Generation 3 Time Management is all about living your values, planning for goals, and designing your week.
“Adds to those preceding generations the important idea of prioritization, of clarifying values, and of comparing the relative worth of activities based on their relationships to those values. In addition, it focuses on setting goals–specific long-, intermediate-, and short-term targets toward which time and energy would be directed in harmony with values. It also includes the concept of daily planning, of making a specific plan to accomplish those goals and activities determined to be of greatest worth.”
Gen 4 Time Management: Relationships and Results
Generation 4 Time Management is all about relationships and results.
“Rather than focus on things and time, fourth generation expectations focus on preserving and enhancing relationships and on accomplishing results–in short, on maintaining the P/PC Balance. It recognizes that ‘time management’ is really a misnomer–the challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves. Satisfaction is a function of expectation as well as realization. And expectation (and satisfaction) lie in our Circle of Influence.“
If you’re not getting the results you want, and if time management seems to elude you, then take a look at how you are focusing on relationships and results.
On a good note, Getting Results the Agile Way (my best-selling book on time management), puts relationships and results, front and center.