An article ran in a recent Wall Street Journal suggesting that one of the biggest issues facing executives is time management.
It reminded me of a lunch I’d had several years ago with the CEO of an ocean-going container ship company at a Young Presidents’ Organization University in Athens. I do not recall the exact size of his company but I do remember its ranking was impressive, particularly for a private company.
I and about ten other CEOs were dining in his corporate headquarters, enjoying a lovely harbor view. I was seated next to our host so had the pleasure of a wide-ranging conversation. He spoke of the intriguing challenges facing his company and of how he was looking to expand and diversify by investing in real estate, particularly in the Eastern European countries north of Greece that were just joining the European Union.
When he spoke of the scale of monetary investment he needed to make to justify the time investment, he made a statement I have always remembered. “Five million or fifty million, one worry.”
In other words, he only had so much “mind space” available and he had to save it for concerns and issues of sufficient importance.
I have always thought that time management is as much energy management as anything else. You are managing and allocating your energy (you also can think of it as self-management).
I don’t know about you, but I’ve got more time than energy. While I’m always looking for ways to work smarter and to increase and expand my energy levels, I know there are certain times when I’m at my peak. I tend to schedule my most important meetings in the morning and early afternoon when I’m at my best. I like to schedule property walks in the afternoon when physical activity helps keep me alert.
Managing my energy levels, keeping them high and focused, staying aware of what events, words, and people energize or drain me, has always served me in good stead.
This is a classic from the NSC Blog archive. Originally posted January 2, 2008.