Norton: Managing the game clock in life for great success
Is it our time management skills that need a little work, or is the enemy time compression?
“Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week” – Anonymous.
How true. And we all know what the problem is when we push things off to tomorrow, the problem is that tomorrow we push them off again to the next day, and then the next day, and then the next day. The question is why? Perhaps it is one of these two things, time management or time compression. It is probably a combination of the two.
As I speak with people about this topic, and I ask them which one they believe it is, they initially point to time management and a perceived lack of skill. Yet after they consider the words, “time compression” for a moment, they often realize that this may be the real driver or reason they are struggling with time management. And not managing their own game clock correctly is keeping them from achieving the success they are pursuing.
Learning to say ‘no’
Why does time compression happen? One common reason people shared is that they are saying “yes” to too many things in all areas of their lives and spreading themselves too thin. In trying to keep up with the rush and crush of life, trying to be liked and please everyone at home and at work, they stack too many things into each day and come to realize there is no way to get it all done. The unintended consequence here is that they often miss deadlines and deliverables, letting down others and, more importantly, letting themselves down. Learning to say “no” will help us all to become better at avoiding time compression.
Managing the clock, like a quarterback
Another common theme that came up was not managing the game clock. We see it all of the time in sports as there is a play clock and a game clock going at the same time.
When we are taking on projects and tasks, when we are in meetings, and even when we are in a sales call, we have to manage the clock better. If we have an hour to get something done or complete a meeting, we can avoid the feeling of time compression by understanding where we are in relation to the time that we started with on the game clock and where we are along the way and adjust as needed.
One mistake I see and hear about all too often is the salesperson who schedules a 60-minute meeting with a prospect and they soon run out of time. When they get there and start their discussion and questioning, they quickly forget how much time they scheduled or lose track of time, and before they know it, there isn’t any time left on the clock for presenting their solution or for identifying very clear next steps. The unintended consequence here is that a scheduled sales call became a very nice visit and conversation, but it was not a sales call, and worse, there was no sale.
Time compression can lead to stress, and we all know stress is very bad for our health. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, and the people who are achieving the greatest levels of success and enjoying peace of mind are those that have learned how to say “no” to some things so that they can say “yes” to the important things. They have also learned how to manage their game clock personally and professionally and set proper expectations for themselves and others along the way.
So how about you? Are you working hard to keep up and yet still feeling like you are always running out of time? Or have you come up with a great time management strategy that is working for you? Either way, I would love to hear your story at firstname.lastname@example.org and when we can learn to manage the game clock to achieve greater success, it really will be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is the chief revenue officer for Eventus Solutions Group, a strategic consultant, business and personal coach, and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.