Moving from efficiency to effectiveness through Time Mastery
All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.
The man who spoke these words, T. E. Lawrence, made many of his dreams come true in the Arabian Desert. He became known as Lawrence of Arabia. So how can we make our dreams become reality as global leaders in the Arab Peninsula today?
Lawrence understood the underlying building blocks to change dreamers to “dangerous men”. These blocks are essential for any dreamer irrespective of their age, color, gender or vocation: Every dreamer requires time, unquenchable passion, determination, followers and champions to build the dream.
All of these essential building blocks can be developed or expanded except one! It is your time that cannot be increased!
How do you make the best use of this time resource?
This is the one block that can neither be re-created nor reclaimed! If time is not mastered, your dream may turn into a nightmare!
Although time management is a challenge everyone faces, a few people have grown above the limitations of time and have gained mastery of their 24/7 schedules. Below are some of the lessons we’ve learned from those people which could be helpful to you if applied to everyday life.
Determine what you can and can’t control
According to Stephen Covey, everyone has his or her “circle of concern”. This is an area you want to see change but you don’t have the ability to do anything about it. Another area is your “circle of influence”. Those are situations which you have the ability to change or can determine the outcome. Your ability to determine and place activities that demand your time into these circles is your first step towards time mastery. The aim here is to focus your efforts on your “circle of influence” and gradually expand until it envelops your “circle of concern”.
Set goals for yourself
Choose to set a goal for yourself concerning the way you use the time you have available to control. Remember, you cannot afford to be indecisive with the time you have. At Strong Advice, we consider the following very important facets of the Wheel of Life which can be developed and maintained progressively and at a consistent pace. These eight facets include your health, community, family, career, fun/recreation, finance, personal growth, and spiritual growth.
It is very helpful to set a Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely goal for each of the above facets (SMART). Your task is linking these goals together and thinking about what you are best at! Ask what energizes and excites you? What are you passionate about?
Prioritize your time
Consider where you are devoting your time in pursuit of your goals. Think over what activities are both important and urgent to achieve your specific goals. Then, identify those that are pressing issues, deadlines for completion, or even a crisis that is important. You should expend 20-25% of your time on these issues. Invest a lot more time on important but not urgent things like building relationships and networks, self-development, or planning and scheduling. This deserves 45- 50 % of your time.
Inevitably, there will be some demands on your time, usually not very important but appear to be urgent. For example, emails requiring an immediate response or jumping from one request to another. Spend no more than 15% on these! The only way this is possible is to learn to “say no” to some of these immediate demands and respond politely with “can I come back to you?” for other requests. Finally the time spent on activities that are neither important nor urgent should be less than 10%. Interruptions and lower value work will come your way and these need to be anticipated with a plan put in place for managing them.
We shall continue this series on the role of time in the life of a global leader. Please share your thoughts with us for the benefit of the community.
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Recommended Reading- Effective Time Mastery for Global Leaders: Part 2
By Mike Strong Founder of Strong Advice