Is your use of TIME sucking you dry

Time is your most precious commodity, even more precious than money.

You see, you can always get more money but you can never get more time. So it becomes critically important that you spend your time with the utmost care. Because the way you spend your time will either be life-giving or life-diminishing.

That’s why I liked Dear Abby’s column when she wrote:


Don’t waste it.

Keep a promise.

Fight for a principle.

Forget an old grudge.

Overcome an old fear.

Express your gratitude.

On this day end a quarrel.

Search out a forgotten friend.

Encourage someone who has lost faith.

Dismiss a suspicion and replace it with trust.

Take two minutes to appreciate the beauty of nature.

Examine your demands on others and learn how to reduce them.

Tell someone you love him. Tell him again. And again. And again.”

► 1. Don’t joke about wasting your time.


More people make fun of time management than actually do it.

One person said he always wanted to be a procrastinator; he just never got around to it.

Another person said, “Procrastination is like a credit card. It’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.”

And one person in my audience, a less-than-stellar employee said: “I love deadlines. I especially like the whooshing sound they make as they go flying by.”

I don’t want to be a spoil sport here, but your lack of time management skills is not a joking matter. It is a life-diminishing issue. The poorer you are at managing your time, the less fun, meaningful, and effective your life can be.

► 2. Admit it if you are a time waster.


I know at least one person who needs to do this. With a straight face she told me, “There really is nothing good on television these days. You’d think spending six hours a day, seven days a week, that I’d find something.”

Just like that emotionally ignorant, self-unaware person I quoted above, you may be a time waster and not even know it. Then get some feedback. Get some training.

That’s why one company hired me to speak to their sales department last month. Their salespeople weren’t making any progress on increasing their sales and wanted my help. Among other things, I made it very clear that they couldn’t improve their sales if they didn’t improve the way they used their time.

I gave them six signs that show up when your time management skills are lacking. Even though these six signs applied to their sales challenges, I suspect some of them apply to your job as well.

  • You have too many unfinished tasks sitting in piles on top of your desk or around the office.
  • You have too many proposals and To-Do’s awaiting your attention.
  • You have too many prospects (coworkers, customers, friends, family members, and others) calling and leaving a message, or texting a request, but you haven’t had time to get back to them.
  • You have too many prospects (coworkers, customers, friends, family members, and others) sending you e-mail, but you haven’t gotten back to them.
  • You have too many people that completed some form of response card or shown some interest in your product or service, but you haven’t followed up on those responses.
  • And, you’ve left too much money sitting on the table because you didn’t have time to manage the entire sales process.

If you have any of those signs showing up in your professional or personal lives, you need to admit it. You’ve got a time management problem that is life diminishing.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. As I said above, get some training, because you can’t defeat tomorrow’s challenges with yesterday’s skills.

► 3. Turn up your Emotionally Intelligent Self-Leadership skills.


If you’re like most people, you’d love to squeeze an extra hour out of each day. The good news is, that’s entirely possible. You can get smarter about how you lead yourself.

To start improving your time management skills right now, I would also suggest …

► 4. Get rid of the clutter.


If you walk into your office and feel deflated by the mess, take this step to heart. Whether it is papers piled on your desk or it is dozens of post-it notes all over the place, such clutter wastes your time. You waste your time digging through piles, trying to find things you need; and you waste your time reading all the post-it notes over and over again, trying to find out what you have to do first.

One good thing you can do is get rid of excess paper. Look at all the paper that surrounds you. Ask yourself, what can you throw out, give out, or leave out? If you’re months behind in reading your professional journals, scan their Tables of Content. Rip out the articles you need and throw out the rest.

► 5. Eliminate those things you’re tolerating.


List 25 things you’re putting up with, such things as a dirty car, a squeaking door, a picture that won’t hang straight. Pick the ten easiest ones to take care of and fix them now.

Believe it or not, those “tolerations” are bothering you more than you know. They’re sucking you dry, taking away your attention and precious energy that could be better spent somewhere else.

Notice how you feel when you take care of those first ten items. Notice what happens to your sense of energy and self-control.

Put a few of these tips into practice and you will have a Happier New Year.