Dan S. Kennedy understands that time management isn’t really about managing the passage of seconds and minutes; instead, he observes, “if you can’t control your thoughts and manage your mind, you can’t control or manage your time.”
In the end, time management is self-management … and No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs does a great job of illuminating the tough (and, yes, selfish) choices that must be made if you are going to maximize your productivity.
But here’s the hardest truth of all: if you’re working for others (as I am), many of the tips and strategies in this book aren’t an option. A self-employed entrepreneur (and that’s the self-defined target audience for this book, after all) answers to no one but herself, and can refuse to use email, refuse to carry a cell phone, and insist everyone communicate with her via fax (as Mr. Kennedy claims to) with impunity.
A cubicle-dweller has more limited options. An example: when trying to maximize my own productivity a couple of years back, I added a simple signature line to my emails, explaining that I would check email twice a day (once in the morning, once in the evening), and letting correspondents know that, if their message was urgent, they should call.
Two or three key people in the office pitched fits over this — not the practice itself, but just the very *idea* that I would choose not to obsessively monitor my Inbox to the same degree they do — and I was gently compelled to remove the message.
That said: there are many ideas here that can be adapted for use by residents of Cube City, including:
- Limiting the time between idea and action is key to turning dreams into realities.
- If people prepare for a meeting, it should never go longer than fifteen or twenty minutes.
- Time studies prove no one has eight productive hours per day; it’s simply not possible. Instead, about a third of our hours are genuinely productive.
- Block out time to do the important work of thinking, planning, and strategizing and guard it like a hungry dog guards a meaty bone.
- There’s great formula for estimating the value of your time. It’s not the one you’ve always used … and the results may surprise you. (Also: if you don’t know the value of your time … how can you expect others to know and respect that value?)
- “You cannot be proactive and in control if you are constantly reacting.” At some point, people have to make a conscious decision to work from a strategy, and dismiss the false urgencies generated by those who don’t.
- Punctuality is a good predictor of integrity.
And, perhaps most valuable, he offers a quantifiable definition of productivity: “the deliberate, strategic investment of your time, talent, intelligence, energy, resources, and opportunities in a manner calculated to move you measurably closer to meaningful goals.”
To assess your real productivity, then, you can ask this question: “Is what I am doing, this minute, moving me closer to my goals?” Kennedy notes we all need down time and casual conversation; anything beyond a 50% “Yes” rate qualifies a peak productivity.
So: a good (but frustrating) read for those of us who, by virtue of our position as corporate slaves, have limited control over our own schedules and priorities. Recommended.