I was running to what I thought to be the most important meeting I ever had—I say with sarcasm. I mock myself because I can’t even remember what the meeting was about. What I can remember is that someone who worked for me stopped me at my office door and asked for a couple of minutes of my time. I asked if it was important. The words said, “No;” the eyes that I remember so clearly said, “Definitely.” I never saw her again. I found out later that she was having stress-related mental health issues. I could have easily found her the support and assistance she needed with a quick phone call. Instead, my schedule dictated where I needed to be and at what time.
Regardless of your schedule, people are the highest priority. When we die, our inbox will most likely not be empty. As we go through this book on time management, it’s critical to understand that “how” you manage your time can influence others. It’s also important to realize just how important people are. The ones we often complain about who are occupying our time, can actually make us all more productive if they feel like they are part of the solution, part of the team, and active members in supporting all of our time management challenges. All the while, these individuals teach us to make better judgments
and assessments that will pay off later. This comes by building trust, respect, and support for the people who surround us personally and professionally. We can’t do most things on our own.
Let’s take the time to acknowledge that the clock may dictate where we should be and at what time, but we must also have a willingness to drop everything to take care of the matters that need our attention the most. This usually revolves around people! You must take action to ensure that you pay attention not just to words, but to the cues that people are sending with their body language.
When I teach this portion of my seminars, I’m often asked how this idea of making time for those around us can positively impact effective time management. After all, dealing with people not only takes up a lot of time, but it often takes time away from what needs to be accomplished. Besides the lesson I learned in the story about it simply being the right thing to do, this also pays off in the long run, because people see what you’re willing to do for them. They, in turn, are more willing to reciprocate if you are ever in need. Not everything has to be burning with urgency, but you will find that time management is about working together with colleagues, co-workers, clients, and business partners so that everyone wins. Additionally, as your ability to assess what is really important and urgent becomes better, your ability to effectively prioritize will likewise improve.
Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):
- Down the Chute: A Toboggan Tale (children’s book)
- Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
- Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
- Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
- The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
- From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
- The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood