This post is Excerpted from Seven Choices for Success and Significance by Nido Qubein
“I recommend you take care of the minutes for the hours will take care of themselves.”
Are you obsessed with “managing your time”? Too many people get bogged down with this concept. The truth is that we all have the same 24 hours in a day. If you focus on time, you might be held back by transactional things.
I think in terms of energy. Is this activity worthy of my energy?
Why is this shift in emphasis important? Because you could live to be 80, but you could lose your energy at 60. You have 24 hours, but if after five hours you fizzle out, it doesn’t matter if you have another 19 hours. The issue is not the amount of time you have; it’s the amount of energy you have.
Because if you don’t have the energy you can’t execute.
We are all like batteries. Sooner or later, we will lose all our energy. That’s why it’s essential to place your energy in something worthwhile. How do you do that?
Focus on activities that contribute to the greatest value in your life and do more of those.
Eliminate the activities that contribute little or no value to your life – it’s a meaningless investment of one’s energy.
Here’s an approach that works for me. Regarding energy and time, I think in terms of units – a unit equals five minutes. I never think of an hour – an hour is 12 units. To use 12 or more units, an activity has to be something that’s really worthy of my energy… and that’s determined by the results it leads to. Here are a few energy management tips I teach in the Freshman Seminar at High Point University.
~Ask people who send you e-mails to limit them to six lines or less with one question per email. I don’t mind if people send me three emails back-to-back because I can answer them quickly with a “yes, no, or maybe.” That’s how I get through 300 e-mails a day and stay in touch with a lot of people.
~I conduct most of my meetings standing up and in the other person’s office. That way I can leave when the mission is accomplished.
~ My desk phone hasn’t rung in 20 years – it rings in my assistant’s office. I delegate and therefore, I don’t get interrupted by phone calls. I rarely have more than a couple of calls a day to return … often from my car.
~Keep time in meetings to a minimum – Attend only meetings that are necessary. Insist on starting on time, getting and sticking to the point, limiting the agenda, and ending on time. Meetings can be big time wasters.
~ Use every minute to pursue your goals – For example, what do you do when you are caught in a traffic jam? Noel Coward didn’t fuss and fume: He took out a piece of paper and wrote his popular song, “I’ll See You Again.” Many successful people keep self-help CDs handy to listen to while they are driving, selected reading materials available to use while waiting for someone, and routine paperwork handy – just to salvage time lost to delays.
Each of us is given 1,440 minutes each day, 168 hours each week, and 8,760 hours every year. What you choose is what you get. Take care of the most valuable resource – not your time, but your energy.