Time Management Problems? They're Not What You Think

by Howard Litwak

I can't even count how many executives, managers, professional sellers, and entrepreneurs over the years have told me they have time management problems. Time management problems are not even time management problems. They are GOALS CLARIFICATION problems. When you are clear on your goals, you know how you should be spending your time. Period.

If you, dear reader, self-identify with time management problems, you probably don't have goals. How close am I?

Forget about "Oh, I have goals in my head." If they aren't written down, you don't really have goals. Period. You're just pretending you do.

If you think you have time management problems, here is what you need to do:

  1. Decide on what your goals are. Business goals. Personal goals. Short term. Long term. Write them down. This will be one of the most important things you ever do in your life, by the way.
  2. Prioritize your goals by thinking through and deciding on what's most important to you right now.
  3. Apply "first actionable step" and "next actionable step" thinking to each goal until you can answer the question "If I do all these things, will I achieve my goal? This will become your plan.
  4. Always be working on action steps related to one of the goals which are a top priority. If you are taking goal oriented action, you are productive. Don't worry if you only accomplish 2 things or 3 or even 1 thing during the day. If it's the most important thing, that's all that matters. Achievement of your goals is all that matters. Or should be all that matters.

If only it was this easy.

In my years of working with executives, managers, and professional sellers I've found that self-identified time management problems are usually impacted by a person's competencies in long term planning, project and goal focus, and concrete organizing. Low scores in these areas impact goal setting,

What it takes is understanding these things before you can do anything about it. Fortunately these things can be measured. Contact your favorite Paradigm Associate for details regarding a profile which measures these things. See what the problem really is. The goal is, or should be, to be completely clear on what you're not good at so you can eliminate those things or get needed support, and to find out your strengths so you can look to leverage them.