planning“Effective leaders, in my observation, do not start with their tasks. They start with their time. And they do not start out with planning. They start by finding out where their time actually goes. Then they attempt to manage their time and to cut back unproductive demands on their time. Finally they consolidate their ‘discretionary’ time into the largest possible continuing units. This three step process– recording time, managing time, and consolidating time– is the foundation of leader effectiveness.” — Peter Drucker  

Do you know where your time goes? Periodically, I record all of my working time for a week and evaluate it. It’s amazing how just by recording your time you end up using it better. Who wants to write in their time log, “two hours surfing the net”? Simply by recording your time you can change your behavior. In terms of managing time, it’s a function of setting priorities and then proactively setting appointments that reflect those priorities.

That means planning out far enough in advance so you can protect the important things. When people ask, “Can you…?” You can look at your schedule and say no, because you have that time blocked out to pray or to coach leaders or to do any number of other important things that you’ve scheduled time for in advance. It also means scheduling blocks of time. You don’t get effective work done ten minutes at a time. More and our, our time is fragmented unless we take steps to consolidate it. We need larger blocks of time, with email turned off and phone turned off, to be able to concentrate on bigger projects.