A while back, I read the 1965 classic – The Effective Executive, by Peter Drucker. Surprisingly or not, it is full of relevant management and leadership wisdom.
Here are some of his comments on the topic of time management that I found very insightful:
First of all, Drucker wisely acknowledges,
“An executive’s time tends to belong to everyone else.” (Page 10)
Does this sound like your world?
Drucker accepts this as a reality and describes how effective executives approach this circumstance.
Effective executives consolidate their time.
By acknowledging that only a small percentage of your time throughout the day will be your own, the best you can do is to consolidate the 1.5 to 2 hours which you might have alone.
This makes so much sense to me since it’s practically impossible to accomplish any type of strategic decision that requires an hour of time, in four fifteen-minute intervals throughout a day of interruptions!
When is the best time of day to give yourself uninterrupted time? You will need to establish personal limits and ask others to respect your uninterrupted time. Drucker shares a classic comment from an effective executive on one of the most robbing interruptions:
“I have yet to come across a crisis that could not wait 90 minutes!” (Page 48)
Although everyone is different with respect to the time of day they are at their best, I think a majority of business owners can be productive if they carve out their uninterrupted time early in the morning before the workday gets busy.
Remember, this book is from 1965 but his comments about trying to take work home in the evening are priceless:
…Even if this means working very early so as to get to the office on time, it is preferable to the most popular way of getting to the important work: taking it home in the evening and spending three hours after dinner on it. By that time, most executives are too tired to do a good job. Certainly most of the middle age or older are better off going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. And the reason why working at home at night is so popular is actually its worst feature: It enables an executive to avoid tackling his time and its management during the day. (Page 50)
This may not be the newest advice from a management guru, but it is still quite valid and wise in 2022!