Throughout Reframing Change, Jean Ramsey and I emphasize the importance of maintaining integrity. One of the ways many people, myself included, will go out of integrity is by how we manage time
— or more precisely, mismanage it. We promise others or ourselves that we surely will do this or that and then we end up not doing it. We then rationalize our lapse by saying that “time slipped away”, as though time was the culprit and not ourselves. In so doing, we fail to recognize our power or use it responsibly (Reframing Change, Chapter 6).
Managing time has been one of my major challenges most of my life. I’m much better than I used to be, as my friends and colleagues will happily attest, but nowhere near where I want to be. For that reason, I periodically seek out new sources of information about managing time and space.
I feel fortunate to have come across an excellent video about time management on YouTube by an credible source: Randy Pausch, then a professor at Carnegie Mellon who at the time he gave the speech knew he had lost his battle with pancreatic cancer and had only a few months to live. He passed on less than a year after giving this lecture.
The lecture is compelling because for him, “time is everything.” As he explained, “I think at this point I’m an authority to talk about what to do with limited time.”
True to his word, he provided an excellent and comprehensive overview of major approaches to time management as well as his own unique solutions. Familiar concepts include the importance of setting your goals and priorities, how to delegate, the 80/20 rule (only 20% of what we do is responsible for 80% of our results) and much, much more.
Several of his unique tools especially caught my attention. His template for keeping a time log was more detailed than I had ever seen before. I plan to try it for a few days to see where my time goes. He also prioritized his to-do list from 10 to 1. This is different from the Covey time management quadrant, where we classify items on our to do list as either urgent/important, not urgent/important, urgent/not important, or not urgent/not important. I’ve been using the 10 point scale since I saw the video. It works for me because I keep in mind Covey’s recommendation to give higher priority to anything that’s important whether it’s urgent or not.
What has lingered with me since seeing the video is simply the importance of cherishing the time we have with those we love. A major reason to manage our time well is that wasted time means less time with them. Pausch featured pictures of his wife and kids throughout the video. Looking at their happy, smiling faces and imagining their heartbreak provided me with reason enough.
Where to find it:
- www.randypausch.com. The website contains links to the following:
- the time management speech on YouTube,
- a PowerPoint that accompanied the time management lecture (I found this helpful to read before I actually listened to the video), and
- his most famous speech, “The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” which catapulted him into fame and a bestselling book.
- For biographical information about Randy Pausch. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randy_pausch .
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