Know Thy Time


image“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” – Zig Ziglar

What are the keys to effective time management? 

How do successful people manage their time? 

They log and analyze their time.  They use deadlines.  They know that time is the scarcest resource.  They master their own time management to improve their contribution and effectiveness. 

In The Essential Drucker: The Best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker’s Essential Writings on Management (Collins Business Essentials), Peter F. Drucker writes that you should "know thy time."

Log and Analyze Your Time

Effective people perpetually work on their time management.

Drucker writes:

“And all effective people work on their time management perpetually.  They not only keep a continuing log and analyze it periodically; they set themselves deadlines for the important activities, based on their judgment of their discretionary time.”

Urgent and Unpleasant Lists

Drucker shares an example about using lists with deadlines for urgent and unpleasant tasks.

Drucker writes:

“One highly effective man I know keeps two such lists – one of the urgent and one of the unpleasant things that have to be done – each with a deadline.  When he finds his deadlines slipping, he knows his time is again getting away from him.”

Time is the Scarcest Resource

Time is the scarcest resource, but it’s also easy to analyze and improve.

Drucker writes:

“Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed.  The analysis of one’s time, moreover, is the one easily accessible and yet systematic way to analyze one’s work and to think through what really matters in it.”

Everyone Can Follow “Know Thy Time”

Drucker writes that the path to contribution and effectiveness is knowing how you spend your time.

Drucker writes:

“Know thyself,” the old prescription for wisdom, is almost impossibly difficult for mortal men.  But everyone can follow the injunction “Know thy time” if he or she wants to, and be well on the road toward contribution and effectiveness.

Key Take Aways

Here are my key take aways:

  • Time is the scarcest resource.  You can’t make more time.  You have what you got.   Make the most of it.
  • Log and analyze your time.  A key to managing your time effectively is knowing where it goes.
  • Consider keeping lists of deadlines for urgent and unpleasant tasks.  If you find your deadlines keep slipping, then you need to improve how you’re managing time.
  • Effective people perpetually work on their time management.  Effective people make it a habit to work at improving their time management.

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