Manage Your Time Like It Belongs to You (It Does!)

Disneyland was built in 1955 in Anaheim, California in 366 days, from the first shovel of dirt to the first ticket sold. When Walt Disney was asked, "How did you get all this done in 366 days?" he answered, "We used every one of them."

Ever notice how some people seem to get so much done? Those high-efficiency people have 168 hours in their weeks. You and I have 168 hours in our weeks.

Like Disney’s builders, we can also use every one of those days and every one of those hours as we choose. How? Take control of our time. We may not be able to gain 100% control, but we can certainly claim more of our own time by deciding how much time to donate (yes, donate) to other people when they want to talk, whether we want to hear it or not.

Below are five tips from the late Randy Pausch, a Professor at Carnegie Mellon’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute (School of Engineering): 

1.  Start your phone calls by announcing your goals for the call, "Sarah, I have two quick things to cover with you. One, . . . " This sets you up to bring a quick end to the conversation.

2.  Take charge of your time without guilt, long explanations, or apologies. Say:

       "Gotta go."

       "Oops, I’m on a deadline. See you soon."

3.  When someone requests a meeting with you, ask, "For my planning, what’s the ending time of the meeting?" Wait for an answer before you put it on your schedule.

4.  Place only a folding chair in your office for guests. Keep it closed and leaning against a wall. Open it and offer your visitor a seat only if you choose (shall we call this one "extreme time management"?).

5.  Ask yourself, "What is my time worth? $______ per hour." Keep this dollar figure in your head. When choosing how to spend your time, and how much of your time to donate to another person, ask: "Is this activity (listening to this talk, doing this task, etc.) worth what it’s costing in my finite supply of time?"

As Mike McCarthy says, "If someone asked you to give them money, you would want to know "How much" and "What’s it for?" before you opened your wallet. Ask the same when asked for your time.

When we manage our time like it belongs to us, we can donate it to ourselves.