How Can You Find the Time?

We once had a lawyer, I'll call her “Joyce” (since that's her name), who worked in our firm. It was many years ago, and she was older than the rest of us.

She was married and had a kid. Most of us weren't married and didn't have kids. We lived in a very different mental space from Joyce.

Joyce got to the office at 8:30 and left at 5:30. The rest of us got in early and stayed really, really late. It wasn't unusual to find some of us hanging around at 10 or 11.

Joyce sat down at her desk and 8:30 and got busy. She cranked through the work hour after hour, drafting documents and making calls. She was diligent about recording her time. At 5:30, she had recorded about seven or eight hours of billable time. She was a machine.

The rest of us were having a great time. We sat around chatting, drinking coffee, and debating what to do for lunch. By 11 at night, we were lucky to have recorded six hours. We weren't machines.

Joyce had her priorities straight. She came to work to get her job done, earn a living, and get home to her husband and child. She wasn't interested in us or our silly conversations.

Joyce was motivated to manage her time. The rest of us were motivated to have a good time.

There are zillions of approaches to time management, but the good ones all come down to one thing: priorities. Joyce identified the priorities that motivated her: she loved her husband and child. That's what motivated her to stay focused and manage her time.

Joyce would have loved hanging out with us and killing time, but that wasn't her priority. She ignored us and got home. Joyce never had a time management problem.

What matters to you? When you answer that question. you'll find the time.

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