Effective Time Management for High Achievers Part 1


Prelude

“I just don’t have the time to do everything
I need to do.”

“I have always wanted to do that but can’t seem
to make enough time.”

“I don’t have the time for a social life.”

“There’s just one last thing I have to do before I leave.”

Do these sentiments sound familiar? If so, it is likely
that you are a high achiever. As such, it is a part of your
psychology to want to succeed at everything you do,
and to continually seek new challenges to conquer. If
you fit this description, read on and discover a tried
and true method of time management that will change
your life forever. One word of caution: effective time
management is a serious endeavor that will require
your whole-hearted commitment and active participation
in order to succeed. I promise you that Effective
Time Management for High Achievers will produce
results if you are committed to following each of the
steps outlined in this process:

1. Build an Action Plan

2. Take Advantage of Existing Habits

3. Use Your Energy Wisely

4. Build a Day Plan

5. Schedule Tasks

6. Organize

7. Keep Your Schedule Current

8. Prioritize Objectives

9. Make Time To Review

10. Effectively Handle Interruptions

11. Keep The Commitment

12. Reward The Success

By following the instructions, you will find the preoccupation
of wondering, “what else needed to be done”
will virtually disappear. You will also find it possible to
schedule time to take care of those projects that never
seem to get crossed off the task list. One day a realization
will come over you that you are all caught up on
what you wanted to do: no last minute details to finish,
no urgent surprises to handle.

I know these claims seem wondrous at the moment,
but I assure you there is no fantasy in these statements.
Many high achievers, all of whom make similar claims
of finding “hours per day,” have successfully implemented
this time management program and continue
to live by its teachings and principles.

A Story from the Author

I am an entrepreneurial business owner, at times involved
with several businesses. As such, I never seem
to have time enough to complete the projects I wish to
complete. However, I do have my projects organized
and prioritized in alignment with my business and
personal goals. As a result, I am considered by most to
be a successful businessman with a balanced life and a
healthy future. While I still do not have enough time to
pursue all of the ideas and opportunities that surround
my life, most people that know me would tell you I am
the most productive person they know. I don’t think
this has anything to do with intelligence, upbringing,
attention span or energy: I feel that the secret to productivity
lies within a time management system.

As a result of my entrepreneurial spirit, I love to be
involved in the creation of a business. In fact, I make
the time to be involved in so many different projects
that I would most assuredly go insane if I was forced
to manage all my activities without an effective time
management system. It was not too long ago when
I was without a practical and effective time management
system.

Going back a few years, I can vividly remember a time
when the business was growing rapidly and everything
about my professional and personal life seemed out of
control. I was desperately trying to juggle all of those
seemingly important items all at once. I was a generalist
at all duties and a master of none. Physical and
mental health was jeopardized as I incessantly pushed

harder to accomplish what I felt was needed on any
given day. Then a revelation came to me on the day
that would change my life forever.

While on an airplane, I began to reevaluate my personal
and professional life. I wondered if things would ever
get better, or if this was all I could expect from being a
business owner. I asked myself if I should give up, or if
I should try harder? I knew that I controlled my future,
and I knew that I could succeed with enough effort. At
that point I made a decision to reprioritize my life and
take control of managing my efforts. Coincidentally,
there was a brief article about time management in
a magazine I was flipping through, so I made time to
read the article while on the airplane. After reading the
article it was clear to me that the key to balance in my
life would be effective time management.

I began to gather time management information
through books, seminars, magazine articles, audio and
videotapes. I found a wealth of information in each of
the programs, but I was not successful at implementing
any of them. It seemed that I could not get ahead of
my workload in order to get scheduled and then stay
there. After all the information gathering and failed
attempts at scheduling, I was still working twelve hour
days from Monday through Saturday and I was working
most Sundays as well.

Once again, I found myself on an airplane reevaluating
my personal and professional life when I realized that
I had built a devastating cycle that would prevent me
from accomplishing what I wanted out of life. This
time I asked myself, “Why I was not acting to affect
change in my behavior?” I concluded that the time
management programs I had been experimenting with
were not designed for people with my motivations,
and it was at that moment I decided to design a time
management system that would work for me, a high
achiever. Work began immediately and an outline was
completed before touching down at my destination
that day.

I began my time management efforts and kept a record
of how much time I was able to gain through using the
system and improving the time management system
over time. This time I was able to stick with the program
after making a strong commitment to changing
my life for the better. After one year of fine tuning the
time management system into what is presented in
this program, I was able to generate an additional two
hours per day of productive work time and I was able
to altogether stop working on Sunday. When I added
up the time-savings per year I was amazed: in total, 832
hours, or nearly 13 additional sixty-hour workweeks
per year!

Shortly thereafter I began issuing the time management
program to the management staff at my company,
all high achiever personality types. To my surprise,
they were able to implement the program within a
couple of months and found average time-savings on
the order of six to ten hours per week! That is when I
knew that this time management system really works.

I know it seems fantastic to think that a simple time
management program can make such a difference in
one’s life. However, a committed high achiever can
accomplish many things that seem fantastic. Consider:
if you are a high achiever, you have the opportunity to
invest a few dollars and a few weeks into a customized
time management system that will generate potentially
hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of time
for you in the future. This is probably one of the best
opportunities ever presented to you.

While I cannot guarantee you will encounter the same
results as I have, I can promise that you will be an
excellent time manager after successfully completing
this program. And who knows, this program may just
change your life too.

Foreword

A program designed to help high achievers with the
time management process should be brief and direct.
This guide will not waste your time with concepts and
thoughts unrelated to effective time management. All
of the information in this program is valuable in some
way. Often, the information is presented in a specific
order to allow the reader the experience of contemplating
the application of the topic to his/her own life
experiences prior to moving on to the next step in the
time management system. The process of understanding
what is being read is only a small part of the time
management system. A much larger part of the time
management process is developing self-awareness
while designing a customized process that suits your
individual time management needs. This program
will not benefit all people equally, however the high
achiever who takes the time to really understand themselves
and their goals will create an incredible value
from this time management program.

This guide is presented in a series of brief steps that
are organized to best enable the successful implementation
of the time management program. It is not
recommended that any step be skipped, cut short, or
executed out of order. High achievers will want to read
ahead, or perhaps read the entire guide and then go
about implementing the steps. Please do not attempt
to do this; you will most assuredly fail if you do. Years
of experience with the time management development
process have proven that those who try to cheat
the system will not succeed. High achievers want it all
right away; this author understands that better than
you know, however you must fight the urges to proceed
at a quickened pace. The time frames outlined in
the time management process are specifically designed
with the most efficiency. Hurrying the steps along will
only cause failure in implementing the process.

To maximize your success, follow each of the chapter
instructions in detail. After just a few weeks, you will
find yourself able to manage your time, make free time,
and concentrate on the project at hand with ease and
comfort. Perhaps more importantly, you will find yourself
no longer wondering if everything is getting done.
Not only will your mind be clearer, but you will also
find that there is free time available to think and grow
and enjoy your accomplishments. You will rest easy
knowing that your priorities are being handled completely
and efficiently, and that your direction in life is
clear. You will have control of your destiny, and you will
have the time to make the correct decisions at the right
times that will make you increasingly more successful
and fulfilled.

Behavior Modification:

Effective time management cannot be turned on or
off when convenient. It is a set of skills and behaviors
that become a pervasive part of one’s professional
and personal life. Make not mistake in judgment, after
committing to and completing this time management
program, you will be changed for the rest of your life.
And, like anything truly worthwhile, this time management
program will require significant effort at first, until
the system is mastered. You will not be able to read
through this guide and magically manage time better.
Quite to the contrary, it will take commitment, hard
work and relentless attention to forcing proper behaviors
at all times. With all this effort, you would expect
the payoff to be substantial, and it is. The payoff will be
a life-changing behavior set that will excel your performance
beyond that of those around you and provide
you with the tools necessary to take control of your life
in the workplace and at home in order to create balance
and fulfillment.

As mentioned before, behavior modification is not
easy. For that matter, effective time management is
not easy. However, if you are truly a high achiever and
have faith in your ability to succeed, you will be able
to permanently modify habits such that effective time
management is a natural ability. Before long, effective
time management habits will become a reflex, and
then you will understand the true power of time management.
According to psychologists, it takes several weeks
of continual corrected performance to permanently
modify a behavior, and then continued practice to
keep the behavior a habit. When trying to develop a
new behavior, it can be difficult to stick with the effort,
because old habits can be very hard to break. However,
you are a high achiever, and as such you have
what it takes to make a commitment and stick with the
program until you succeed. To make the process easier,
this guide presents a series of stages that will assist in
the successful implementation of your behavior modification
program.

If you choose to follow in detail the steps in this program,
you will succeed in dramatically improving your
time management.

Chapter 1: Action Plan

Before going any further, you must make the commitment
to improve your habits by precisely following
each of the steps presented in this time management
program. Without that commitment, I suggest you not
waste your time reading the remainder of this guide, as
it will do you no good. The choice is yours:

• I choose to diligently pursue this self-improvement
effort to effectively manage my time.
(Read on and begin the improvement process)

• I presently do not have the commitment necessary
to complete this program.
(Close this guide now, and come back when the
commitment is there)

Congratulations on choosing to embark on this effective
time management self-improvement process: you
will not be disappointed with your decision as long as
you remain committed.

The first step in the process is to take the commitment
and enthusiasm you have right now and transform it
into a tool that will hold you accountable for your performance.
This step is called the action planning process.
We will use the action planning process several
times throughout the behavior modification program.
Please use the blank action plan form to record your
personalized entries.

Objective

The action plan begins with recording what it is you
wish to achieve.

Objective
What do you want to
achieve?

Example:
Effective Time Management
Goal

The second step in designing the action plan is to
record the specific behavior you want to address along
with how you want to address it. It is important to be
very specific so that there is no confusion about the intention
of the action plan. If you feel it is necessary to
complete numerous action plan forms to address the
specific goals you have, please complete several action
plan forms. The more specific you are, the better your
performance will be.

Goal
What specific behavior
do you want to address,
and how do you
want to address it?
Example:
Successfully implement and
complete each process step in
Effective Time Management for
High Achievers.

Action

The third step in designing the action plan is to record
the specific action that will be taken to modify your
behavior to achieve the goal. Again, the more specific
you are the better your success will be. It may be necessary
to list numerous actions to achieve a single goal.
It is perfectly acceptable to have several actions for a
single goal as long as there are measurements (recorded
in step five) for each of the actions.

Action
What specific action
will be taken to modify
your behavior to
achieve the goal listed
above?
Example:
1) Read, understand and absorb
all the Chapter 1 information.
2) Complete the action plan for
the rime management self-improvement
process.

Target Date
The fourth step in designing the action plan is to
record the date(s) that your performance will be measured.
It is crucial to the process that this date be realistic.
High achievers are notorious for selecting deadlines
that can be overzealous: this is not a good tactic
when dealing with self-improvement efforts. Choose
deadlines that take into account potential delays and
the involvement of others. Try to make your deadlines
as realistic as possible while still holding yourself accountable
for immediate and continual action.

Target Date
What date will performance
be measured?
Example:
1) One week after opening the
guide = Time, Month, Day,
Year.
2) One day after successfully
completing action #1 = Time,
Month, Day, Year.

Measures
The fifth step in designing the action plan is to record
how your performance will be measured. The measurements
must be quantitative and objective in order
to retain validity throughout the behavior modification
program. The measurements must also be specific and
detailed. Please take the necessary time to develop a
strong measurement system as your performance with
the behavior modification program relies on it.

Measures
How will performance
be measured to reflect
specific performance
results?
Example:
1) I am quizzed on Chapter 1
content and understand all key
concepts.
2) My action plan is complete
and my supporters understand
the plan and have agreed to
participate.

Support
The sixth step in designing the action plan is to determine
who will help you in your self-improvement
effort. Try to involve people that will hold you accountable
for your performance and provide you with guidance
when needed. The people in your support system do
not necessarily have to be good time managers
themselves; they simply need to be able to observe
your performance on the goals set forth in your action
plan.

It is also necessary in this step to determine what
resources you will need in order to achieve the action
plan goal. Resources such as finances, equipment, software,
cooperation, etc. should be listed in detail.

Support
Who will help me in
this effort?
What resources will I
need for this effort?
Example:
People to hold me accountable:
my supervisor Chris, my family,
Charlie, and Pat.
Resources needed: new files,
scheduling software, personal
data assistant, desktop in-box.

Status
The last step in designing the action plan is to record
your performance. Using the measurements listed in
the action plan, assess your performance on the target
dates listed. The results, whether positive or negative,
are recorded on the action plan and shared with your
supporters.

Status
What is my performance?
Example:
1) Chapter 1 quiz resulted in
complete understanding of the
chapter.
2) Action plan is written however
supporters have not given
commitment to help.

If you have not already done so, please complete an
action plan for your overall commitment to being an
effective time manager. Do not continue until your
action plan is complete.

Chapter 2: Habits

Now that you have committed yourself to improving
your time management skills, you are ready to participate
in the next tool in the process to developing an
effective time management system. This tool is split
into two parts:

1. Report your current time management
performance.

2. Assess your time management habits.
You may wish to use an action plan, similar to the one
generated in Chapter 1, for one or both of these functions.

Report your current time management
performance

Everyone has developed a set of time management
habits that influence their daily activities to a level beyond
that which they would like to admit. By reporting
your own habits, you will be able to use them to your
best advantage without needing to entirely rework
your current time management approach. It is beneficial
to make smaller changes to your schedule since
it will be easier for you to comply with the necessary
changes.

Reporting your current time management performance
is simple if you are committed to the effort. It is
crucial that this process is not shortcut in any way. The
entire reporting process will take five days to complete,
and must be completed as a series of five consecutive
days. If there is a break in the reporting process, please
start over again until five consecutive days are recorded.
Remember your commitment to creating a personalized
time management system that will improve the
quality of your life? This chapter will be testing that
commitment. I know you want to move on and create
the changes necessary to manage your time better, but
my experience has demonstrated that this step is crucial
to the success of the overall time management system.
Stick with the process as described and you will
experience the benefit of the time and effort invested.
The process is as follows:

Supplies Needed

• 1ea, letter size pad of lined paper with a left-hand
margin

• 1ea, permanent ink pen

Process

1. Label the top page of your paper pad as “Day 1”.

2. Near the top of the page in the left-hand margin,
insert the label “Start of Day”.

3. Starting with the top line of the page, record what
it is that you are doing at the moment. Do not
write down what you will be doing, or what you
have just completed. Only record the task that you
are performing at the moment. The task description
should be very brief, try to keep it to only two
or three words if possible.

4. Every time your task changes, record the new task
on the next available blank line. Continue this
process throughout the day, being careful to record
all task changes. If you run out of room on the first
page, please continue with a new page after putting
an appropriate label and page number on it.

Do not write on the backside of any page.

5. At mid-day, insert another label in the left-hand
margin entitled “Middle of Day” adjacent to the task
change occurring at the time.

6. Continue to record all task changes.

7. At the end of the day, insert the label “End of Day”
in the left-hand margin adjacent to the last entry
made that day.

8. Repeat the entire process with a new sheet of paper
for Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, and Day 5…

Do not continue with this guide until you have completed
the five-day time management performance
report.

Closing

These are the first two of Twelve Chapters in Effective
Time Management for High Achievers. Next month,
the process of improving time management and improving
the balance and quality of life will continue

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