The reading level for this article is Novice

“Slaves to the clock” was the cover story in the March issue of CEO magazine.

“You can never out work a problem, you have to out think it.” said A.G. Lafley, Proctor & Gamble’s CEO.”

Too much to do. Too little time. It’s a universal problem. From the CEO to the newest hire.

We’re bombarded with information. E-mail, faxes, voice mail, overnight deliveries and old-fashioned snail mail. Unexpected phone calls, impromptu meetings, and emergencies that force us to drop everything.

So many projects, tasks, problems, opportunities, and people are fighting for our time and attention that it’s almost impossible to separate the important from the urgent from the unnecessary.

With so much clutter it’s easy to lose track of long- and short-term goals. And… the proposal that’s got to be finished by 3:00 p.m. this afternoon.

It’s easy to spend eight, ten, or twelve hours each day doing things that don’t have any real payoff.

And we wonder why we feel like we’re stuck in quicksand. The more we struggle the deeper we sink.

“P&G’s Lafley says, “I’m here by 7:00 a.m. so that gives me a stretch of uninterrupted thought before the workday officially swings into action and the phones start ringing.”

“Time is the one thing that limits us. The common lamentation is ‘If only I had more time.’ That’s the wrong premise.

The problem is we’re using our valuable and precious time, in unproductive and non-rewarding ways.

Busy… yes. Productive… NO!!!

Think differently. Don’t manage your time.

Do come in early so you can get some work done before everybody else arrives? Before the phone starts ringing? Before your meetings start?

Before the day – and your schedule – falls apart because of the many fires you must put out?

Fires! Fires! Fires!

Someone didn’t do what they were supposed to do, when they were supposed to do it. Now it lands on your desk.

You’re forced to drop everything and put out the fire. Your whole day goes up in smoke and you don’t realize that somebody’s guilty of arson.

To be successful in today’s highly-competitive world you must be focused. You must have long and short-term goals.

When you know where you want to go, it’s easy to determine whether or not the work, tasks, and projects you’re working on will take you there.

Here are three strategies you can use to leverage your time:

1. Block out time for yourself. Close the door. Turn off the phone. And give yourself an hour of uninterrupted time each day.

2. Work on your most important work, tasks and projects. Only do the things that have value. Eliminate everything else.

3. Use your Prime Time. There’s a time of day when you do your best work. When you’ve the most energy and enthusiasm. Tackle your most important work at the time of day you’re at your best.

Set your goals. Leverage your time. And you’ll become more successful than you ever dreamed.

© 2004, Jeffrey J. Mayer,

This Personal Development article was written by Jeffrey Mayer on 2/14/2005

Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey Mayer’s Newsletter. Jeff helps individuals, business owners, corporate executives, and sales professionals set their priorities, get focused, and achieve their goals; so they can grow their business, get ahead in life, and live their dreams. To subscribe to Jeff’s free newsletter, visit: