3 Rs To Escape The Time Management Trap

This is the third installment of my mental toughness series. Today, I write about the infamous time management concept.

So far, I have talked about two concepts.

  1. Learning to differentiate between people pleasing and doing my best. And,
  2. Understanding that nothing is important unless I make it so.

This third concept is a tool that allows us to address #1 and #2. Let’s begin.

Forget about time management. It doesn’t exist.

Regardless of what our friend Google may say, what we call “Time Management”, really isn’t about the management of time.

Let’s take it one step at a time.

According to the dictionary the word “manage” means: to be in charge of; administer; run.

And the word time as define by Einstein means: the occurrence of events in sequence one after the other.

Can I be in charge of the occurrence of events in sequence one after the other?

Nope! I can’t control the occurrences of events; WHAT I CAN CONTROL IS WHICH EVENTS OCCUR ONE AFTER THE OTHER. And that my friend is what we call prioritization of work.

Hence, the point to remember here is: Priority Management Is Where The Game Is Played

3 Rs To Manage priorities

I’ll give my version of John C. Maxwell’s 3 Rs of prioritization: required, reward, and return.

#1 – Required: What’s required of me?
I like to rephrase this question to: What actions, behaviors, and responsibilities am I expected to do, exemplify, and own that no one else should do?

The answers to this question are intended to set the boundaries and foundation that allow me to identify what I must work on.

Some examples could be: I am expected to…

  • Own and be responsible for the level of accuracy of the financial projections for your team.
  • Manage the budget expense for your staff.
  • Cascade all strategic decisions you receive from me.
  • Setup your own development plan and discuss it with me.

#2 – Reward: What gives me the greatest reward?
This is all passions, purpose, and fulfillment. It is about the things that have you say “I love my job.”

During the last 12 years, I have been involved in plenty of important and interesting projects. Yet, the moments I’m most proud of, all revolve around a similar subject: helping someone think through an important decision in their life.

Whether it is a work or personal decision, I always find myself attracted to a situation in which I can help someone get unstuck.

What are the activities that regardless of the state of mind, energy level, or mood you are in, you always find time to do?


#3 – Return: What produces the greatest return?
This is nothing more than the 80/20 rule. 20% of our activities will generate 80% of the return.

This is where prioritization comes into play and it requires us to know, or at least have an idea of, the answers to the other 2 Rs.

Taking everything into account, the question the third R is trying to answer is: at this very moment, which of the tasks I’m expected to do is going to produce the highest return relative to the time and energy I have available to work on it.

How do you manage your priorities?




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