Get a Grip on Your Schedule when Work is Out of Control
Time pressure is a symptom of technology, ignorance, and arrogance.
The promise of more time and shorter workweeks is a fantasy for the leaders I work with. Technology shrinks time and expands a leader’s workweek.
Time management is self-management.
The ability to manage yourself begins with managing your time. If you can’t manage time, you can’t manage anything.
“Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed.” Peter Drucker
Over-work and time pressure are forms of arrogance that whisper, “See how important I am.”
Arrogant leaders fear free time.
Being over-worked doesn’t mean you’re important. It means you don’t accept your limitations and you can’t manage time.
The practice of humility strengthens your grip on a crazy schedule.
Humility embraces imperfect improvement. Arrogance gets stuck in the search for perfection.
#1. Humility tries simple unspectacular improvements and learns as it goes.
#2. Humility establishes priorities because it acknowledges it can’t do everything. Limitations are motivation and courage to establish priorities.
#3. Humility makes imperfect improvements because perfect solutions are the silly fantasies of arrogance.
Arrogance needs dramatic answers to feel self-important. Humility lowers expectation and accepts imperfect improvements.
#4. Humility accepts incremental improvement.
There are NO perfect solutions to managing your schedule. You can’t solve for every situation, interruption, crisis, or challenge – unless you have complete control of your environment. But humility will help you get a grip on your schedule.
Humble leaders know messy problems are improved with imperfect improvements.
Challenge yourself and others. The benefit of challenge is realizing you can be and do more than you imagined. But more-with-less only works with computers and machines, not people.
Productivity that degrades people into machines is a nightmare imposed by ignorance or arrogance.
How does the practice of humility enable imperfect improvement?
What suggestions for managing time might you offer?
Note: This is Part two of a short series on managing your schedule. See: GETTING A GRIP WHEN WORK IS NUTS PT. 1
Managing time is one of the most challenging things for me. I try to prioritize my day but sometimes feel pulled in so many directions by others. It’s hard to say no – I guess because I want to feel needed and important. Thanks for sharing Dan. Staying humble – Madeline
Thanks Madeline. You aren’t alone. Another issue is we don’t always have authority to manage our own schedules. Someone else does it. And then there are those whose jobs require them to respond to others.
However, the need to feel needed, or the fear of missing out, can be a challenge.
The point of this post is to emphasize how our schedule is connected to who we are. I find the idea challenging and a little disturbing.
Those who can’t say “No” also get sucked into time management nightmares.
Thanks Robb. Absolutely. The ability to say “NO” is essential to time management and setting priorities. A leader who can’t say NO is pushed around by every item that comes across their desk.
Sometimes we’re saying NO in subtle ways like not responding. Some would call this passive aggressive.
“Don’t let your mouth overload your back.” (Jim Rohn)
Dan—perfect timing for me. Overwhelmed with my schedule and “my” scheduling. I see once again that I am doing this to my self. Your words convicted me and now inspire me to make a small needed improvement that starts with acknowledging my limitations—oh how it feels like fingernails on a chalkboard. But it leads to a better tomorrow!! Thanks again for sharing the good stuff with all of us!!
Thanks Scott. We subtly slip into attitudes and behaviors that don’t serve others or ourselves well. In addition, I like to think I don’t have limitations.
Best for the journey my friend.
Humility is an acknowledgment of our finitude and our dependence on others. Both acknowledgments can, and do, lead to better management of our time. Finitude says, “I only have so much time, so much energy, and so much opportunity, so I need to set thoughtful priorities. Our dependence on others says, “Who else might take on this task, or come alongside me to accomplish what needs to be done?” When we truly appreciate the awesomeness of others, we are motivated to be our best without the illusion that we are (or need to be) the best.
Thanks Dixon. Your addition of dependence on others is so powerful to me. I hadn’t thought of it this morning. But the truth is we always depend on others in one way or another. The idea that we live independent lives is silly.
I suppose some might like the term inter-dependence. But we are dependent creatures. LIke Scott wrote above, it feels like fingernails on a chalkboard.
By far the BEST article I’ve read in years relating to how we think about and ‘manage’ time. Too often in a leadership role it feels risky not to say one is extremely busy….as if somehow there was no-one else who could make the right contributions. By embracing humility we provide a way for others to grow….while giving ourselves time to step back and actually observe, think, strategize and plan.
This stands out for me, “#4. Humility accepts incremental improvement.” Our bodies and minds and for that matter the world around us is better suited to implement and accept incremental changes. When you move our cheese too far and too fast its just too disruptive. If only some of our so called Political leaders (AOC for that matter) would understand incremental improvement and change rather than broadcast doom and gloom. But then again I am asking in that matter for the impossible to occur for those that only react and work on “emotions”.
Note to self … “But more-with-less only works with computers and machines, not people.”
Great article – lots of food for thought; and good comments also giving food for thought.
I can say that time-management is kind of my hobby. I’ve read and tried so much. But only recently I started to come to conclusion that it is all not about doing more, it is about doing what is important and having a balance of life-rest-friends-family-health-etc. (everyone’s balance is different, I should say).
Most useful time-management things for me:
– Writing down everything
– Having a task list for the day
– Setting priorities 1,2,3… and doing tasks in this order.
– Not feeling upset when something is not done on this day. So, even if having too much to do (that still happens often), undone things will just move to some other day.