Originally posted here.
Mark Batterson wrote, “If you don’t control your calendar, your calendar will control you.”
Alan Lakein said, “Time is life. It is irreversible and irreplaceable. To waste your time is to waste your life, but to master your time is to master your life and make the most of it.”
Scott Peck is credited with saying, “Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.”
And I’ve heard a hundred preachers say, “Show me your checkbook and your calendar, and I’ll tell you what you value.”
I agree with all these statements. Leaders who don’t have control of their calendars will constantly be spinning out in the dirt without making much progress. Life will seem frantic and hurried, yet it will be difficult to pinpoint what they are actually getting done.
I’m not the king of time management, but I do live and die by my calendar. Everything that is important in my life goes on my calendar.
Here are six principles that help me:
1. Put priority items on your calendar first.
Perhaps you’ve seen the illustration where the presenter tries to fill a jar with a combination of big rocks and little rocks. If the presenter fills the jar with the little rocks first, he is not able to fit very many big rocks in the jar. However, if he fills it with all the big rocks first, then he can add many of the little rocks in and around the big rocks.
The analogy breaks down if you go very far with it, but the foundation is true.
You must put priority things (e.g., time with your spouse and kids, vacation, strategic planning, and vision time) on the calendar first.
Otherwise you’ll never find time for those priorities.
2. Stack your meetings.
If it’s within your control, try to schedule all your meetings on the same day or two each week.
I knew I wouldn’t get much productive work done on those days, but I was going to have some great conversations, help move the ball down the field on some projects, and keep my staff moving forward because of our connections.
Stacking your meetings will keep you from getting bitter about meetings ruling your life, and it will leave you with a couple of days where your schedule is relatively open.