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Some Musings On Time Management

I've always thought that if I could manage my time more effectively, I could rule the world. Peter Drucker said it a whole lot more eloquently -- "Time is the scarcest resource. Unless it's managed, nothing else can be managed." Still, despite all our awareness about the importance of time management, it's probably the most difficult thing to manage.

Stephen Covey talks of prioritizing the important over the urgent, but that's difficult to do. Zig Ziglar and others talk about the importance of living a balanced life, yet that is a constant struggle, as well. Management gurus talk about the difference of working "in" the business vs. working "on" the business, and about identifying the high-return/high-priority management tasks and focusing on them. But having a laser-beam focus isn't common. Not many of us have such a strong vision that we're seeking to "put a man on the moon by a certain date." Rather, we merely hope to get the calves to the local auction market by a certain date. Perhaps there's no silver bullet when it comes to more effectively managing one's time, but the experts recommend keeping a time journal where, for a few days or weeks, one faithfully writes down in a very detailed way how he or she spends their time. Next, you overlay that information on your priorities and figure out how you want to spend your time. It then becomes merely a function of setting up some form of accountability on a daily or weekly basis to measure your progress. Several years ago, my brother gave me one of the coolest gifts I've ever received. It was a baseball and a baseball glove with the following saying attached: "Priorities -- 100 years from now it won't matter how much money we have in the bank, how much land we own, or how many hours we spent working last week. What really matters most in life is how we are involved in the lives of those dearest to us. Our truest legacy is in how we've touched the hearts of those around us. Our greatest impact on the world will not be what we have gained for ourselves, but how we've helped shape the lives of our loved ones. In the end, the most accurate indicator of the degree to which we were successful in our lives is not our personal wealth, but rather the way our children lead their lives." The challenge is daunting, because I suspect we all wish to pass on a viable operation to our children, as well. The one thing that seems to be clear, isn't how well we do a particular task but whether we're spending our time on the right task.