Productive Leaders

Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

Mary’s Weekly Articles and Valuable Tools

Subscribe below and get Dr. Mary Kelly’s
weekly newsletter in your inbox.


notime“I’m so busy!” “I was going to do it, but I ran out of time!” “Summer flew by!” You hear it every day. People feel as though they are short on their most valuable resource: time. Time isn’t something we get back, so it is important that we seize the opportunities we have to make the most of our most precious commodity. How do we find more time in every day? A few ideas:

    1. Use your precious minutes wisely. No, not your phone minutes. Your life minutes. Life is a finite number of unknown minutes, so it’s important to use them wisely. There are probably things that you don’t need to do as often as you might think. I am personally guilty of over-checking my email accounts. I do not really need to check email 20 times per day. That wastes my minutes.
    2. How do you use your minutes wisely? Make a schedule. Make a schedule that works for you – one that prioritizes the event that you need to do, the important things you are required to do, and the small things that you should do.
    3. Make sure that the work you do is planned around your natural energy level that fluctuates throughout the day.There are certain times of the day when you’re probably more productive for doing certain things. Some people are better at making phone calls in the morning. Some people are better writing at night. I get a little sluggish in the afternoons, so I try to schedule meetings during that time, since generally, meetings are energizing to me. A lot of people know get sleepy in the afternoon (that may be partly due to dehydration so drink plenty of water). That may be a good time to schedule active activities. Make sure that when you plan your day that you’re planning it to your personal energy level for maximum productivity.
    4. Don’t procrastinate. Nike was right. Just do it and do it now. Make that appointment. Return those calls. Respond to e-mail. One of my graduate school colleagues said that he needed time to reflect before he answered an e-mail. But then he admitted he frequently forgot to actually respond. He said, well, it’s the thought that counts. While that may be true for some aspects of life, the action lets people know about the thought, so do it now.
    5. Trade work. If you find that you have some tasks that just don’t get accomplished, consider not doing them. You may be able to find someone else with whom you can trade a job, someone who enjoys doing the task that you don’t want to do. In the Kolbe instincts assessments on how to make decisions and solve problems, Kolbe analyzes people’s strengths to maximize both their work and personal behavior. In the strengths world, we try to find ways to a certain task that matches strengths to instincts. (See Meredith Masse’s website for more information on the Kolbe method.) The premise is that the jobs people do should match their natural strengths. That way, they’re happier and more productive. This is why, for example, very few of us are changing our own oil anymore. It takes us 10 times longer, is loads messier, and in the long run, probably doesn’t. We need to dispose of the oily mess and we have a harder time with going under the car. Thanks to $19.95 oil changes, this work has become predominantly outsourced for the majority of people.

Treasure your minutes! Use your time wisely!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *