Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke


Time Management, Preparation & Pink Floyd

Volume: August 2015

By Doug Van Dyke, Leadership Simplified, www.leadershipsimplified.com 

“Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day. You fritter and waste your hours in an offhand way.”

Time. Every professional wants more of it, yet we cannot buy the stuff. Instead, we have to manufacture time. This thirst to free up time for higher and better tasks has spawned countless books and time management programs. Heck, we deliver multiple time management training and coaching sessions every month. (Yes, that was a shameless plug.) The trap that most professionals fall into is they jump-start a new time management system without properly preparing for the leap. These professionals are enthusiastic in the beginning, however, they often experience the sting of failure when they revert to earlier behavior and abandon “proven” time management tools. So what gives? Are we destined to be inefficient, mired in our wasteful habits acquired over the years? Maybe, yet many professionals have never properly prepared for implementing time management tools. Remember: “Luck favors the prepared.”

Prior to implementing newly acquired time management tools, I recommend professionals prepare themselves by gaining clarity in three areas. Only once you are crystal in these areas can you truly leverage the time management tools that will lift work performance, reduce your stress, and give you a fair chance at work-life balance.

The three areas are core values, your ability to be decisive, and strategic allocation of time. We begin what is truly meaningful in your world.

Values (Personal & Work)

It is important that a professional gain clarity on what "moves" them. What I mean here is seek to identify the top items in your life that you truly value (i.e., family, work, spiritual, health, travel, etc.). There is no right or wrong number regarding the items that you list. What is imperative is that they are authentic, and that they are specific. In other words, what aspects of the items you list hold the greatest appeal to you? Once a list of specifics is created, it will become much easier to focus on targeted actions and behaviors.


The best performing professionals I know are decisive. Please note that I did not say “always correct.” We all make mistakes, even the decisive. The advantage is that decisive people waste little time dawdling, and they fix mistakes quicker. They may seek input from others, but when decision-time arrives they make one – and stick to their guns. Many professionals waste an incredible amount of time over-analyzing or agonizing over a decision. Be decisive. Head in a direction. Now, I am not recommending that a hasty decision is made. Also, no decision is sometimes the best decision. What I am recommending is that professionals seek to be decisive and then do not second guess themselves. 


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Leadership Accelerator – Coming in 2016


Strategic Allocation

Once a professional is clear on what they truly value and they commit to being decisive, the game of allocating time becomes easy. In other words, if you are not spending your time on an action that directly relates to one of your personal values, you are either wasting time or procrastinating. Focus your efforts on actions that deliver results and enhance the things in your work and personal life that you value.

Bottom Line: In a fast-paced world where expectations are high, the ability to properly manage time is a quintessential ability. Are there systems, tools, and techniques that you can employ to help better manage your time? You betcha. First however, pave the way for effective time-use by preparing. Get clear on your work and personal values. Make timely decisions and stick to them. Be strategic regarding your actions and behavior. Steve Jobs once said: “We have a limited amount of time in this world. Make certain you live your life and not somebody else’s.” Take charge of your time, my friends. And live your life boldly as a result.    


Doug Van Dyke is a huge Pink Floyd & Roger Waters fan. He is also passionate about time management, leadership consulting, executive coaching, and strategic planning. To learn more about leadership development programs, coaching and consulting services, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or visit www.leadershipsimplified.com. 

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