On Being Organized

Adapting my thinking from something I learned from Steven Covey, the issue is one of “time-focus.”  These focuses are developmental:  you must become skilled at each level before being able to have skill at the next level.

The 1st Focus of Time Management comes from the urgency to simply get things done.  You identify tasks then create “checklists.”

The 2nd Focus of Time Management comes from the urgency to make sure there is time for everything.  You schedule activities in a calendar.

The 3rd Focus of Time Management comes from the urgency to make sure that Important things get done first.  You assign priorities to activities that are consistent with your goals and values.

The 4th Focus of Time Management comes from the urgency to build capacity for the long term.  You work on improving practices and processes to get more done with less effort.

The 5th Focus of Time Management comes from the urgency to develop people so that they can build capacity.  You leverage relationships so that people help you get things done in a win-win manner.

If you find yourself overwhelmed with what lies before you, it is sometimes helpful to drop back a level or two and get a grasp on accomplishing your priorities. However, if you stay back too long, you will reduce the capacity to build more buffer; thus it is essential that you find ways to elevate to the 4th and 5th focus from time to time.  This may require a “retreat” so that you can advance beyond firefighting.

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