Judy Dobles, General Management Consulting


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  • On Friday, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend The CEO Hour live, with co-hosts Bruce Peters and Diana Palotas.  The CEO Hour airs every Friday between 11am and 1pm on WCEOhq Radio.  The featured guest, February 1, was Laura Vanderkam, a nationally recognized writer, journalist and author.  Whether it is your morning, your weekend or your workday, Laura discussed strategies that help you make the best use of time – your most precious commodity.

    Each of us, periodically, wonders where our time went.  We did things we “had to do” but never seemed to get to the things we wanted to do.   In other cases we felt like puppets on a string with others controlling our time.

    Even though a week has 168 hours, time is a scarce resource and once it is gone, it is gone forever. Laura has written 3 e-books on the subject of time management and shared her insights and those of successful people she has interviewed. Here are my favorites:

    [1] Look backwards at your calendar.  During my career I have keep a time log, but the twist from Laura was to capture the data also by time slot.  That way, for example, you can discover that 2pm to 4pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays are pretty open.  You can then choose to use that time slot in a constructive and purposeful way.

    [2] Have a plan for what you want to do.  Think about carpenters building a house.  They do not show up at a worksite and begin sawing and hammering.  First they look at the blueprints and understand the plan.  The same is true in life – do not just wake up and jump into the day without a plan.  Think about what you want more of and then build a plan around it. Doing nothing is impossible – you will do something.  If there are no plans it will not be as meaningful as you wish it to be.

    [3] Identify your time wasters.  Much of life is a choice.  Time wasters can be things that you think are important but not advancing you towards your goal.  Here are two some examples we discussed:

    1. Chores:  You can get sucked into the never-ending maw of work of be done around the house.  This is an area where you must really think about what you value.    When younger, I had a mental picture of a clean house.  A clean house was ‘spic and span’ and gleaming from top to bottom.  As time pressure started crushing me, I realized that I valued spending time with friends and the laughter of children.  I wanted my tombstone to say, “Marvelous Friend” not “House was Spic and Span”.  So, I adjusted my expectations and in this case it meant accepting a house with some clutter.
    2. Television:  There is most likely one TV program that each of us enjoys.  However,  we can also admit that once we sit down to watch our favorite show we get stuck in the chair and cannot get up for 3 or 4 hours.  So, one hour of enjoyment turns into 3 hours of guilt and self-flagellation.  We ask ourselves, “Why did I do that?”  The key is to watch the show we want and then quickly turn off the TV.


    [4] Plan things you really like to do into your free time.  Life cannot be all drudgery; build in some fun.  Studies have shown that anticipation is a significant part of mood boost and happiness.

    [5] Paying in.  To achieve your dreams you need a certain supply of career capital.  Ensure you are doing something every week that ‘pays in’ to your career capital account.  It can be networking, researching and learning new skills or getting out of your comfort zone.  Consider this your life-long garden. You must continually be planting seeds in order for the garden to grow. Keep in mind that some things that you plant may not bear fruit for many years.

    We each have time during our 168 hour week that can be repurposed to something we really want.  Think about who you are and who you want to be.   Think about the words of William H. Johnsen, “If it is to be, it is up to me.”  Make the commitment now to repurpose some of your time.

    Laura Vanderkam website


    WCEOhq Radio website


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