I am currently reading a book, Four Thousand Weeks; Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman. The Author is aligned in his thinking with my good friend, Rich Sheridan, author of Chief Joy Officer. Rich presented last week at Leaders Connect breakfast. You can see his video here. In his book, “Chief Joy Officer”, Rich emphasized that to have joy in life, one must have a purpose. Furthermore, one must have discipline, which requires effective management of time.
The same message is a theme of “Four Thousand Weeks”. Four thousand weeks refers to the number of weeks you have in your life if you live to be eighty. If you think about it, this is a very brief time here on earth. Given that nobody knows how long they will live, we need to cherish this gift as much as we can. This means we must learn to manage our time.
I have been a student of time management for my entire life. I have always struggled with keeping myself organized and using my time effectively. I didn’t understand why this was so hard for me until I began researching Attention Deficit Disorder, ADD. Only as I read the book, Driven to Distraction by Edward Hallowell and John Ratey, did my difficulty make sense to me. In the assessment part of the book, I checked 19 out of the 24 markers for ADD. I realized why it was so hard for me to manage my time well. As a result of ADD, I frequently lost things and got distracted when I was doing one task and switching to another. Despite all of this, I have somehow managed to be quite productive in my life. Upon better understanding of ADD, I have realized that it can also be a gift which can enable me to be successful. This is because part of ADD is learning to hyper-focus on a task. The trick is, how to get into that hyper-focus mode.
I want to start sharing with you some of the operating principles that I have learned throughout my life that enables me to focus on the right things and to stay disciplined.
Here is one of key of the principles:
Do the hard things first and then reward yourself with the fun things
This also is referred to as Grandma’s Law: Grandma was the one who said eat your peas first, then you can have your ice cream. And she stuck to it.
When I was in junior high school, my father emphasized this rule. After dinner, he made me stay in my room to do my homework, before I could join the family and watch TV. He stuck to it and it taught me the discipline of getting the hard things done first and then rewarding myself with joyful activities. It wasn’t until I started to study psychology at Michigan in 1965 that I understood that my father was teaching me a basic rule of behavioral psychology. Who knew?
Speaking about discipline, another way to find it is to make a commitment to others, who will then expect you to follow through on your commitment. I’m going to apply this rule here and commit to you, my readers, to continue to present ideas about effective time management. I will be emphasizing that it’s not just about using apps or hacks, but it’s about having a long-term purpose in life. I’d love to hear your ideas about what you have done to manage your four thousand weeks productively and enjoyably.
Events Coming Up
Thomas Zurbuchen – Webb Space Telescope First Images
Thomas will be speaking on the Webb Space Telescope on May 17 from 8:00 am – 9:00 am for Leaders Connect.
Growing up in Switzerland, Dr. Zurbuchen was a keen observer of the natural world from an early age. His curiosity led him to pursue degrees in physics, and he has served on and led innovative scientific teams that have helped enlarge our perspective on the solar system and the universe. Previous points of focus have been the planet Mercury and our Sun. On a daily basis, Zurbuchen works to ensure that NASA’s science missions build partnerships across disciplines and with industry and other nations to generate new questions and help advance the frontiers of knowledge and exploration. He brings a wealth of scientific research, engineering experience and hands-on knowledge to NASA’s world-class team of scientists and engineers. Zurbuchen sets the NASA Science strategy and inspires the teams to carry it out.
Dr. Rob’s Leaders Read: John U. Bacon Presents Let Them Lead
John U. Bacon will present his book Let Them Lead on Friday, June 3 from 8:00 am – 9:00 am.
Let Them Lead
By John U. Bacon
New York Times Bestselling Author
UNEXPECTED LESSONS IN LEADERSHIP FROM AMERICA’S WORST HIGH SCHOOL HOCKEY TEAM
An uplifting leadership book about a coach who helped transform the nation’s worst high school hockey team into one of the best. Bacon’s strategy is straightforward: set high expectations, make them accountable to each other, and inspire them all to lead their team.
Dr. Rob’s Leaders Read: Rob Pasick Presents Self-Aware: A Guide for Success in Work and Life
I will present my book Self-Aware: A Guide for Success in Work and Life on September 16 from 8:00 am – 9:00 am.
Self-Aware: A Guide for Success in Work and Life
By Rob Pasick
In over 45 years as a practicing psychologist, social entrepreneur, and professor, I have learned that emotional intelligence is the key to success in work and in life. I also know that becoming more self-aware is the key to developing strong emotional intelligence.
I have taught, coached, and counseled people on how to become more self-aware and how to develop their social-emotional competencies. Both activities lead to higher emotional intelligence.
This book presents the best practices developed and delivered in my teaching and in my psychology practice. If you follow the process, you’ll end up with a self-made vision for success in both work and life. Furthermore, you will learn to set goals and develop the support that will enable you to make your dreams come true.