Managing Time By Commitment (Not The Clock!)

Nothing like the post-vacation work email hole. It feels like working through the five stages of grief. I’m a few days back and still not to acceptance yet. Oh well. In time.

Like reading and responding to emails, or anything where to-do’s and time-blocking comes into play, this observation via Luke Smeyer caught got my attention:

“Managing your time is no longer about the clock. When you manage your time by time, you will never have enough time”. (Jim Fortin)

It’s what I’ve seen consultants do: working crazy hours ‘to get things done’. And the first thing most of them do? Trying to get more productive. They start searching for all sorts of productivity measures but never get there. It’s what I call ‘the backwards approach’ – band-aid-adding instead of symptom-solving.

It’s what Jim Fortin is calling ‘managing your time by the clock’. I love what he says in his podcast: “If you want to catch up and be productive and get things done, you must start managing your time by commitments (and not by the clock)”.

Managing my emails by commitments and not by the clock looks like this – I need a method to sort and prioritize. I can still have dedicated time to do these steps, but if I’m not “front” and “back burner-ing” items in terms of value, I’m going to be forever stuck in the slog.

Learning to build effective to-do lists and time blocks around commitments means knowing what and why to say yes, no, and when to. It’s a subtle distinction but try giving it some thought.

I think I just got closer to acceptance by writing this out.

Check out the Jim Fortin podcast ep. 147 and Luke Smeyer’s excellent newsletter for consultants over at “The Visible Authority.”

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