The Productivity Institute

Personal Productivity Solutions to Leverage Your Impact


The Time Management Reality

By: Dr. Donald E. Wetmore

I typically conduct 150 training days per year, sharing with my audiences tools and techniques to help them to increase their daily personal productivity and get more time and balance in their personal lives.

Wherever I am asked to speak, I find people typically have “too much” to do. Most have more to do than time allows for completion. We will never get it “all done.”

But here is the reality. While there is never enough time to do it all, there is always enough time to do the important things.

In the early 1970’s, my wife and I were both working, our schedules were full, we did not have a minute to spare, or so it seemed. Then, in the winter of 1973 our first child was about to be born and a few weeks before she arrived, my wife and I were agonizing over how we would find the time for this new responsibility because, you know, babies, they take time. They cry, you have to feed them. They need to be held, loved, and tickled.

So what happened? Our daughter was born and we found the time. Did we still have a social life? Yes, not like it was before her birth, but yes, we still had a social life. Did we still have time for our other family members? Sure, perhaps not as before, but still we made it happen.

I am always amazed at the busy business executive who is so consumed by their responsibilities that they cannot seem to find the time for the things they truly would like to do. They are at work first thing in the morning before anyone arrives and they are the last to leave in the evening. They never seem to have the time to enjoy a game of golf or watch their daughter perform at the school play or read a novel or otherwise take time for themselves to enjoy.

They believe if they were not present all the time that “this place would fall apart.” (A funeral director friend once told me that in 20 years in his profession, he never once met the widow who complained that her husband spent “too little time” at the job.)

Now here is the irony. That same person, who can never seem to get the time for anything beyond the job, gets a phone call one mid-afternoon. Their mother has passed away unexpectedly. They drop everything and four hours later they are on an airplane, gone for the next week, attending to this important family matter.

When they return a week later, do they have anything to come back to? Of course. Did things go wrong? Probably. But that can be fixed.

Why does it take a death, a threat of a divorce, or a looming health crisis to do what we know we ought to be doing now?

I often ask my audiences to answer two questions.

  1. “What would you do differently in your life today if you knew you only had six more months to live?” (The responses, typically, are “get closer to my family,” “spend more time with friends,” “travel,” “read the books I’ve been meaning to read,” etc.)
  2. “What are you waiting for?” That’s question #2. Why are you waiting to find that you only have six months left to do the things that you know you would do if you only had six more months to live?

Why can’t you be closer and more attentive to your family now? Why can’t you spend more time with friends, travel, read the books, etc.? The answer? You can. There is never for everything but there is always enough time for the important things.

When is that time for you? It can always be found somewhere in the next twenty-four hours. Sure, we want to do a great job of the things we “have to” do. Exceed expectations, do more than you are being paid for, and spend some of those twenty-fours satisfying those responsibilities. But also be sure to take some of those twenty-four hours to do what you know is truly important.

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Dr. Donald E. Wetmore

Certified Executive Coach, Consultant and Trainer
Author, “Organizing Your Life” and “The Productivity Handbook”
Productivity Institute
Personal Productivity Solutions to Leverage Your Impact
127 Jefferson St.
Stratford, CT 06615
(203) 386-8062
(800) 969-3773
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