Time management has become a huge business these days. Many companies offer great time management tools to manage your day and to make you more productive. Google returns 227,000,000 pages in response to a query on the subject of time management; now with this article: Google search result 227,000,001 and even more by the time you read it. In the early part of the last Century Ivy Lee gave Charles Schwab one of the most effective time management tips of all time.
Time Management Systems
Whole books, seminars and courses have been made on time management – you can easily spend thousands of dollars on this topic trying to get the latest edge to learn the latest time management skills. I usually get a headache and my eyes glaze over as I dig into these things.
Much of this information and these time management systems are good but as Solomon said, in Ecclesiastes, about things of the world: “everything is meaningless… they are vanity and vexation of the spirit.” This is truly what time management systems can become. Our society is obsessed with the idea of wringing out the last ounce of time – to the point of it being counter-productive. Trying to wring productivity out of your time is an important aspiration, time management is one of the keys to success, and time is the one commodity in your life that you cannot add to, you can only make it’s use more efficient.
Many people who seek to maximize their time get planners, or electronic devices with planners built in and often – they wind up feeling like a slave to the systems they buy – these systems causing more stress instead of being the stress reliever they are intended to be. They wind up trying to schedule too much or perhaps an element of procrastination has crept in and items keep moving from one date to the next and stacking up. The planner becomes like an old friend they have made promises too and yet have not fulfilled them. After a while they begin to avoid the planner and it winds up in the drawer and they come back to a simple appointment calender.
Ease Into Time Management
My advice is to ease into time management. There are great dividends to be earned with your time management activities but putting one of the systems on. But putting the whole uniform on all at once and keeping the buttons polished when you are used to running free and naked (in a time sense) is likely to lead to your rebellion and casting it off within a few months.
Start off easily: Napoleon Hill writes of Ivy Lee, who is considered the father of modern public relations, Lee was doing some work for Charles Schwab the head of Bethlehem Steel. Schwab told Lee that the biggest problem he had was making his managers more effective – helping them better utilize their time. Lee handed Schwab a blank sheet of paper and told him that with in a few minutes he could give him the solution. Schwab agreed to try the system out for a few weeks and then send Lee a check for what he thought the idea was worth.
Lee advised Schwab to have his managers, at the end of the day, to list their top six priorities for tomorrow. Then they should number 1 to 6 according to how important that task was. On the next day take the tasks in the priority order, not proceeding until a task was completed. In a couple of weeks Schwab sent Lee a check for $25,000 as the value of the idea – and this was in the 1920’s.
The Simple Time Management Method
This simple idea encapsulates all of the ideas within entire books and courses. Often these materials while presenting good distinctions and enhancements that are of value – tend to obscure the basic idea that Lee presented. The person studying the concepts get caught up with quadrants, matrix’s, and complicated prioritizing schemes – they miss the basics, the part that makes the whole thing of value to start with.
If you are new to time management or have a system that has overwhelmed you drop back to the basics and begin to draw your own distinctions, create your own rules.
Lee gave Schwab a blank sheet of paper and told him..
- List the six most important things you have to do tomorrow.
- number them in order of importance
- Take the paper out tomorrow morning – start with 1 and stay with it until completed
- Only then go to 2 and repeat until the end of day. If you don’t finish you probably wouldn’t have finished anyway – when you realize this you know when to say no to a new task or give it to someone else.
So there is your simple time management seminar that Schwab voluntarily paid what would be the equivalent of $250,000 for today. In essence it incorporates all the items that you can read entire chapters of time management books to understand. You will figure out the parts about avoiding interruptions and all the minutia.
If you are one of the people with more to do than you can accomplish you really need to read Napoleon Hill and take his messages to heart whether it be on time management or another topic. It is not some huge mass of rules and materials to memorize rather it is a belief system that harnesses your subconscious mind and causes you to reach out to others and form what Hill calls a “Master Mind.” The Master Mind is a team working together for a common purpose. Maybe it’s you and your spouse or a best friend to begin, maybe its a group at work. Each of you with six things to do tomorrow. Each of you helping the other see the important things – which on some days might be just to leave it and go refresh so you can be more effective when you come back to it.
That’s it for Google search result 227,000,001 Napoleon Hill and Ivy Lee’s time management tools; and make no mistake time management is one of the biggest success principles of all time.