Time, one of the most equalizing, and finite parameters of life.  We all have been given 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year to survive, live, accomplish, chase a calling and leave a legacy, but for some reason some people are just more effective than others and it really shows.  The question shouldn’t be, ‘How do I get more time?’, the question should always be, ‘How can I be more effective with the time I am given?’.

Time management can seem to be a boring or wearisome subject, but the average man who says this spends a majority of his time on the urgent, commonplace, and un-noteworthy just to survive.  Life is to short to live day-to-day just working, running errands, doing chores, paying bills, worrying, complaining and trying to take the edge off by entertaining ourselves to death and taking anti-depressants (30 million Americans currently)!  As H.D. Thoreau said, ‘Its not enough to be busy, so to are the ants’.

The only way to live an important, purposeful and exceptional life is to once and for all get a handle on managing your time!!!

Here are some practical, and simple time management tips taken from Orrin Woodward’s book RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for Life:

1) Big Rocks First – Stephen Covey in his book First things First tells a story of a life changing presentation:

“A presenter pulled out a wide-mouth jar and placed it on the table, aside to some fist-sized rocks.  After filling the jar to the top with rocks he asked, ‘Is the jar full?’.  People could see that no more rocks would fit, so they replied, yes!’.  ‘Not so fast’, he cautioned.  He then got some gravel from under the table and added it to the jar, filling the spaces between the rocks.  Again, he asked, ‘Is the jar full?’.  This time the students replied, ‘probably not’.  The presenter then reached for a bucket of sand below the table, and dumped it in the jar, filling the spaces between the rocks and gravel.  Once again he asked ‘is the jar full?’.  ‘No’ , the students shouted.  Finally, he grabbed a pitcher of water and filled the jar completely, asking the students what they could learn from that illustration.  One of the onlookers answered, ‘If you work at it, you can always fit more into life.’  ‘No’ , said the presenter.  ‘The point is, if you don’t put the big rocks in first…there may not be any room left?’

Being ‘Efficient’ is not the goal, being ‘Effective’ is the goal.  Remember, ‘First Things First’ or as Brian Tracy says ‘Eat that Frog’!

2) Purpose Oriented Time Management – One of the first public relations experts in the country, Ivy Lee, gives Charles Schwab a bit of priceless advice to help him better manage the Bethlehem Steel Company.  Here are some bullet points to summarize Lee’s time management strategy:

*Materials needed: 3×5 card, writing utensil, and a want to become more effective.

*Write on the card the 5 most important tasks you have to do tomorrow.

*Number the 5 tasks in the order of their importance.

*Look at the card first thing in the morning and keep it in your pocket.

*Pull the card out every 15 minutes throughout the day until task #1 is done.

*Next do the same for task #2, then #3, etc…

*You may not get the entire list done each day, but you will always be tackling the most important.

*Spend the last 5 minutes of the day making out a ‘Must do list’ for the next day.

Charles Schwab took this advice and applied it for 2 weeks and paid Ivy Lee handsomely for the information.  Within 5 years it turned the unknown Bethlehem Steel Company into the biggest independent steel producer in the world, and earned Charles Schwab a hundred-million dollar fortune and a reputation as the best known steel man.

A man, of any financial stature, with no time left to do the important things in life, is no better off than a man with no money.  The last bit of advice I can give you is to systematize the day-to-day in your life and prioritize the important.  Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock…what is your plan to make sure that your time matters!  For more information, go to http://www.the-life-business.com and order Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy and Resolved: 13 Resolutions for Life by Orrin Woodward.  God bless

About Kirk Birtles

Follower of Christ, loving husband, father of 4, TEAM/LIFE leader, community builder, entrepreneur, difference maker, and fun loving outdoorsman.

13 responses »

  1. Maribel Damphousse says:

    This is a very timely (no pun intended) blog. I have always heard people say “I have no time for …” and we will never do unless we learn how to manage the time we have. I myself have said this and still say it and thanks to this reminder, I can ask myself, at the end of my day, have I been efficient or effective with my time?” Thank you for this post, Kirk! God bless!

  2. jason d wilson says:

    Awesome!!! Just plain awesome. Okay, when I read the mentioned prioritization strategy by Ivy Lee, I thought ” wow I do that already. I just don’t write it down…” hmmmm… & I have the audacity to wonder why the new guy does not listen & follow instructions. This is my reminder that I was once new too. I am getting my note cards now. Right now….. k, just got them & writing! Thx Kirk!!

  3. Jann Hines says:

    Hi Kirk, I have really enjoyed reading your blogs. Thank you for all your hard work for all of us out here. I would like to share your blog with my sister in Alaska. Hopefully she’ll get as much from your writings as I do. Jann

  4. Aaron Thomason says:

    My friend you did it again…nailing the simple things in life that makes the biggest difference in living a life of purpose…BIG ROCKS first and everything else will follow…my BIG ROCKS will be my priorities and not my obligations.

  5. seltrib says:

    Great information, and when your clock is going tick-tock, tick-tick, tock- tock, tock- tic, the importance of the message is even more meaningful.

  6. Chris Brady says:

    Awesome post, Kirk, on a skill that we all need improvement! And time management requires constant attention…it’s not something that you master one time and occurs naturally from that point forward. Time management has to be done on purpose.

  7. Leo Wines says:

    Thanks for your brilliant mind, insights and effort Kirk! This is a topic that many struggle with and having a game plan that’s easy to navigate through like this can help so many people! Thanks for the difference you have made in our life as well!

  8. Sarah Marsh says:

    It never fails that you share another inspiring and helpful topic. I have not only been implementing this now but shared it with a group of business professionals that just the other day mentioned the topic of trying to get more time out of the clock! Thanks for all you do!

  9. Great post. We all have 24 hours and how we use those 24 make all the difference.

  10. Daniel Pinkelman says:

    This blog was timely, just shared some of the Life Leadership material with a gentlemen that started his own machining shop during the down turn. His main concern wasn’t the typical one I hear from business owners, it was about getting the things out of his way that keep him from doing what only he can do. Time management is a huge asset.

    Dan Pinkelman.

  11. James B. says:

    This is great…. I was just listening to “Living on Purpose” from Orrin Woodward while I was doing some chores around the house. I took a break to check out the-team.biz and read a couple of blogs and I came across your’s. Thank you for everything you do in training us to become better people.

  12. Melvinia Ford says:

    I seriously need to get back to making a To Do List. It really does help keep track of all my tasks. I also need to keep events written down on a calendar. Good post!

  13. Kim Decker says:

    Kirk once again this is something we hear and read on a regular basis but yes most of us think outside the box and think we are better than most and don’t need to write it down…well results…not so good…so time to take what we learn and really implement it into our daily lives…Time starts now…Thank you Kirk for the friendly reminder…

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