Time Power
Charles Hobbs

Time Power is one of the Eighteen Books That Have Changed My World.

How often do you have the kind of day when you feel you hold the world on a string? The moment you feel this way is the moment when you are most in control of the events in your life: most in control of what you are doing, most in control in your relationships with others. p. 1

You do have choices and you can learn to be in charge. One happy outgrowth of being in charge is high self-esteem. As you come to control more of the events in your life, your self esteem rises. p. 1

The Time Power System is built on three key concepts: time management is the act of controlling events; congruity represents balance, harmony and appropriateness among the events in your life (a workaholic is a person in a state of incongruity, out of balance in his total life perspective; and concentration of power is the ability to focus on and accomplish your most vital priorities. p. 2-3

When you have the ability to focus on and accomplish your most vital priorities, you produce your optimal effect. p. 3

A goal with an associate value is a priority. The process of prioritizing is a process of valuing. p. 4

When you identify your highest priorities of life, what you value most, you anticipate those events. When you bring them under control, you experience a profound self-esteem you cannot get in any other way. It is the greatest surge of of self esteem that anyone can ever have. p. 4

You cannot plan an effective list of goals for today without a clear picture of intermediate goals. You should not start on meaningful intermediate goals until you have your long-range goals written, refined and prioritized, and your long-range goals should not be prepared until your unifying principles are similarly written, refined and prioritized. We call this continuity in goal planning and it is basic to the Time Power System. p. 5

Insist upon yourself, wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay Self Reliance, for nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. What you must do should be your concern and not what other people think. Therefore, hold fast to your convictions whey know in your own heart that you are right. p. 8-9

There are five distinguishable categories of anticipated events: events you think you cannot control, and you can’t; events you think you cannot control , but you can; events you think you can control, and you can’t; events you think you can control, but you don’t; and events you think you can control and you do. p. 9-10

When you are faced with an event that you think you cannot control and you’ve tested and checked in every way to see if you might control it and conclude that you can’t, you must adapt. Adaptability is the most appropriate action. p. 10

Time management is the act of controlling events. Understanding the real nature of events going on around you is essential to prioritizing them appropriately and bringing them under control. As you secure control of events, you make proper adaptations, and your self-esteem grows. Self-esteem contributes to productivity, and productivity to self-esteem. p. 13

Identifying priorities: A signifies vital; B signifies important; C means of some value; and D means a complete waste of time. p. 14

People often confuse urgent trivialities with vital events. p. 15

Urgent simply means calling for immediate action. p. 17

…Can you do everything you have on your desk in one day? Of course not. So you end up with many screaming urgencies in the form of papers piling up around you. This is totally incongruous. The wise thing to do is to prioritize all these papers carefully and keep only the highest priorities in one small stack in front of you, with the rest of the desk clear. You now have a sense of urgency associated with these vital priorities, and the lower-priority items you have put out of sight, thus removing the sense of urgency. p. 18

My theory of accessibility states that if a goal is meaningfully, directly and continually visible, your chances of achieving it increase. p. 18

People are incessantly jumping at trivial twigs because they seem urgent but ignoring the camouflaged rattlesnakes that don’t appear to call for immediate action. p. 20

The principle of self-unification is simple: when what you do is in congruity with what you believe, and what you believe is the highest of truths, you achieve the most gratifying form of personal productivity and experience the most satisfying form of self-esteem. p. 21

What are my most vital priorities? What should I value more than anything else in life? This is not only the first question to ask in time management, it is the most significant question you will ever ask in life. p. 21

A unifying principle is a gold nugget of truth used as a guide for goal planning and living. p 25

Rationalization is living incongruently with unifying principles, and it is the worst of all time wasters. p. 28

Rationalization provides us with a way of justifying our inappropriate actions. p. 29

You actually have two options when your performance pulls away from a unifying principle. One is to continue the inappropriate action and suffer. The other is to define the unifying principle clearly — getting as sharp a picture as possible of what it means, and what its implications are — and then systematically to bring your performance into line. p. 29-30

A failing life is a succession of failing days, a paraphrase from Ari Kiev’s A Strategy For Daily Living. p. 31

When Benjamin Franklin was twenty-seven years old, he felt a great need to improve his life and decided to identify the most universal of all truths.He identified twelve and called them virtues: temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility and chastity. He took these to a Quaker, who said, I think you should add a thirteenth: humility. p.32

Happiness is living all your unifying principles. p. 33-4

I suggest that you adopt Carl Roger’s notion that we are always in the process of becoming. p. 34

I recommend the following questions in prioritizing your unifying principles:

What do I value more than anything else in life?

What does my conscience tell me are the highest priorities, or values, or truths in my life?

Of all the world’s literature, what do I consider to contain the noblest principles?

If I could adhere to only three or four unifying principles, which would they be?

In a long-term perspective, which of these unifying principles will give the highest payoff to me, to my family, to my friends and to the company for which I work?

In what ways will I suffer or will others suffer if I don’t apply each unifying principle?

If I failed to adhere to any unifying principle, which would prove the greatest threat to my spiritual survival?

p. 38

The more you can pull performance into line with unifying principles, the more self-unification you have, the better base you have for reality testing and the better able you are to make decisions. p. 39

Interruptions are not your worst time wasters; disunification is. p. 39

The seven steps leading to self-unification:

Prepare a list of what you value most, your highest priorities in life.

Write each valued principle as an action statement.

See that your unifying principles are the highest truths and mutually compatible.

Write a paragraph of clarification under each unifying principle you put down.

Prioritize your unifying principles.

Evaluate your performance over the past few weeks or month with regard to each unifying principle.

Bring your performance into line with your unifying principles.

p. 40

In order to attain an appropriate balance among your long-range goals, you categorize them, making sure that all aspects of life are included. I suggest six categories: spiritual, professional, financial, social, intellectual/cultural and physical/recreational. p. 42

Seven steps for goal planning:

Prepare goals within the framework of your unifying principles.

Plan your goals within reach of your abilities, of what you realistically think you can accomplish.

Write down each goal.

Make your goals as specific as it is appropriate to make them and write them so that specific results can be measured.

See that every goal is your very own.

Seek appropriate help.

Ask: Am I willing to pay the price?

p. 44-8

Wishing is fishing without a hook. p. 49

Stretch your thinking far into the future in long-range anticipatory planning. p. 50

You will have greater self-esteem if you prepare only a few vital goals and accomplish them than if you prepare a great many and fail. p. 50

Few people identify their highest priorities in life systematically and then bring them under control. I believe the main reason for this is that we do not like to leave our comfort zones. p. 50

As you lay the basis for goal setting, consider these two basic principles of human action: first, we gravitate toward our comfort zones, and second, when we can’t get to our comfort zones, we recreate them. p. 50

I recommend that you take hold of the gauge of your life and push that thing, not to 70 — 70 is like sitting back and watching television — but up to 120. Don’t go to 150. You’ll cook. But put that gauge up to 120 at least. In other words, set goals that are significant, that are going to make you stretch. p. 51

Andrew Carnegie defined the mastermind principle as: an alliance with two or more minds working in perfect harmony for the attainment of a definitive objective. p. 57

In practice, urgent trivialities often supersede carefully prepared goals. p. 65

As you proceed to manage your day, you will discover two essentials for managing it well: a period of solitude for planning and a set of guidelines to make your planning fruitful. p. 67

Projects coming at you from all directions can easily fall through the cracks. You need a place for them because somewhere down the line they may become significant. That place is your grass-catcher list. p. 68

You must commit yourself to having your datebook organizer with you always, carrying it with you wherever you go. You never know where or when a flash of inspiration will occur or a useful idea be presented to you. p. 69

If a goal is overwhelming, chances are it is too general. Cut it into manageable chunks. p. 83

Seven questions for identifying your high-priority immediate goals:

Of my long-range and intermediate high-priority goals, which should I work on today?

What projects will give the highest return for the time invested?

What projects, if left undone, will represent the greatest threat to my survival with the company or the survival of the company itself?

What projects does the boss consider the most vital?

Which items in my previous daily action lists are grass-catcher list should I work on today?

What do my unifying principles suggest?

What has not been considered that will help yield long-term significant results?

p. 83-5

Five questions to prioritize you most vital goals:

Which of the items I have listed will best help to achieve my long-range and intermediate high-priority goals?

What will help yield the greatest long-term results?

What will give the highest payoff?

What will happen if I don’t do each of these projects today? Whom will it effect? Will anyone suffer?

On a long-term basis, which items will make me feel best if I accomplish them?

p. 85-8

Whenever a useful idea comes to mind, never drop it, no matter what else you’re doing. Take a few moments to write it down in your datebook organizer. There are two appropriate places: the first is the grass-catcher list, and the other is in the to-be-done-today section of the datebook organizer on the particular day you think it best to work on that particular project.

Which of these two lists has the greater sense of urgency? The daily action list, of course. Therefore higher-priority ideas goes there; the lower-priority ideas on the grass-catcher list. p. 92

If you want to motivate your associates, never elevate yourself above them. Don’t dazzle them with your knowledge. Focus on a few high priorities that each does best. p. 101

Any time we are preoccupied, we are out of touch with reality. We are not in a position to manage our time well. p. 114

While imaginative rumination is basic to effective time management, irrelevancy and obsession are devastating. p. 114

You can increase your output as you increase your capacity to get accurate, clear, fast impressions of what is going on around you. James T. McCay. If we do not picture events clearly, we should not act. p. 114

The preoccupied sit in meetings voicing objections to issues not raised, agreeing with ideas not presented and answering questions not asked. p. 115

We all have routines that with a few adjustments could bring us better control. A good question for you to ask yourself is, What other routines in my day could I change? p. 115

It is often wise to leave the work environment and take a few minutes to go out for lunch. You will generally find yourself at a higher level of productivity when you return. p. 115

Six Time Power Procedures: change routine, cultivate observation, make your motions faster, think with a pencil in your hand, make comparisons, use the spontaneous goal (ask what is the purpose of your action, pulling yourself into focus on what is relevant, on the vital issues).

A golden brick is a positive reinforcer, a compliment, an expression of care or concern. Example of golden bricks include: respecting, rewarding, acknowledging, complimenting, cooperating, caring, showing enthusiasm, trusting and loving.

Dirty bricks are negative reinforcers like putdowns, blaming, threatening, criticizing, ordering, labeling, preaching and ignoring. p. 118

Make decisions at the lowest level where necessary information and judgment are present, and have those answering to you bring answers, not problems. p. 121

Nine steps in the delegation process:

Select the people who have the ability to do the job.

See that the people you select understand what you expect.

Let your associates know that you sincerely believe in their ability to carry our their tasks.

Negotiate deadlines.

Secure your associates’ commitment to follow through.

Let your associates know in the beginning that you are going to follow up and then do it.

Provide latitude for your associates to use their imagination.

Do do the job for them; allow them to reserve the right to make mistakes.

Reward your associates commensurately with the results they produce.

p. 123-5

Nine ways to improve meetings:

Double preparation time and cut the meeting time in half.

Always use a written agenda.

Commit to times for starting and ending (latecomers should not be rewarded.

See that only the people who need to be there are there.

Try not to hold regularly scheduled meetings.

Hold the meeting standing up; when people come into your office for a meeting you might say, “I’m going to invite you to not sit down.It will save your time and mine.” Sometimes it’s good to hold your stand-up meeting in a corridor where there are no chairs.

Meet in someone else’s office.

Pass information to others in writing rather than in meetings.

Limit verbosity.

p. 126-8

Seven ways to leave a meeting early:

Raise your hand and ask “Is there any further contribution I can make to this meeting?”

Have someone interrupt you.

Open your datebook organizer and do some planning or write diary information.

Put your mind on something more productive.

Ask to be excused.

Sit at the back of the room and slip out when the meeting is no longer productive for you.

Give the I message: tell your boss, “I’m attending meetings I think I don’t need to attend. I’m losing a great deal of time in these meetings when I could be producing more significant results for you. I would feel greatly relieved if we could get this matter resolved.” p. 129-30

Nine techniques for reducing a visitor’s overlong stay in your office:

Always maintain a businesslike stance and a formal tone.

Set a time limit.

Do not allow interruptions.

When the time comes for the visit to end, stand up.

Always keep a timepiece where you can see it.

Say, “It’s time for the meeting to end.”

Give a summary for action.

Use body language.

Have your secretary interrupt you if necessary.

p. 131-3

Four techniques for reducing phone conversations:

Use a stopwatch to keep you posted on where time is going.

Use the monologue approach.

Use the spontaneous goal.

Use body language (believe it or not, it works).

p. 133-4

Take the to-do lists that have been lying in a swirl in the drawer and go through each one. Copy what is appropriate into your grass-catcher list or, if it is of higher significance, into the to-be-done section of your datebook organizer to be incorporated as part of a daily action list. p. 137

Next to the dog, the wastebasket is man’s best friend. p. 137

Handling papers only once is a good time management goal. p. 139

Thirteen ways to avoid procrastination through the concentration of power:

Be flexible, if you don’t build flexibility into your daily action list, you will not succeed.

Do tomorrow what you could not do today.

Use your grass-catcher list as a procrastinator’s handbook.

Do one thing at a time where thought is required.

Place your A1 right in the center of your desk for tomorrow.

Select the best time of day for the type of work required and put it off until then.

Use blank spaces of time constructively: never leave the house, never leave the office, never go anywhere without taking a high A with you: a carefully selected book, a report to complete.

Commit to a deadline.

Chain yourself to your desk until the task is done.

Eat the crust first.

Do it now.

When bogged down, take a break from the project.

Turn difficult tasks into games.

p. 143-7

Selections from One-Hundred-One Time Management Goals:

1. Using my unifying principles, evaluate my present performance.
7. Make preriodic checks to be sure I am enjoyng a balanced perspective.
8. Ask myself periodically, What is the greatest threat to my survival spiritually, professionally, financially, socially, intellectually and physically? Then plan accordingly.

10. Prepare a priortized daily action list each day.
11. Make a grass-catcher list monthly.
12. Make complete use of my datebook organizer in recording, cross referencing and retrieving data.
14. Leave my comfort zone at least three times a day.
15. Have my A1 on my desk in front of me in the morning.

17. Chain myself to my desk until my highest A is done.
19. Select the best time of day for each task.
20. Do the most vital tasks now.
23. Use blank spaces in my time; always have a high A with me.
24. Use my support staff to reinforce my vital priorities.

26. Set deadlines for each vital task.
30. Memorize the five questions for prioritizing and use them to negotiate interruptions and accomodate the priorities of others.
34. Say no when a request is not vital.
35. Do a job right-right.
39. Keep a writing pad and pencil at hand. If anything worthwhile comes out of your notes, record it in your datebook organizer.

41. Set up a systematic, highly selective reading program.
43. Limit TV programs to a vital few — if any.
45. Unblock natural drives by doing what I enjoy.
46. Implement a blanaced exercise program.
59. Throw golden bricks at others.

60. Throw golden bricks at myself.
61. Throw no dirty bricks at others.
62. Throw no dirty bricks at myself.
85. Replace my in-basket with an in-drawer and out-basket with an out-drawer.
86. Have on the desk only the current task.

89. Handle papers only once.
91. Clean my desk every afternoon before leaving work.
96. Have subordinates bring me answers instead of problems.

100. In setting out to achieve my goals, apply William James’ four rules for changing habits.
101. In working toward my goals, seek evidence of the efficacy of faith.

p. 155-9

“Do not hesitate. Seize the earliest opportunity to act on each new resolution. Set about accomplishing your goal with the strongest possible initiative. Pursue your goals daily and never suffer an exception to occur.” William James. p. 160

In that fifteen to thirty minutes each day, you must face reality. In solitude you must know who you really are. Acknowledge the fact that you have not yet achieved a particular goal or that there is some incongruity between your performance and a particular unifying principle. But do not whip yourself for your failure. Throw no dirty bricks. Simply accept yourself for who you are and recognize your tremendous potential for achievement and change. p. 161

In your early-morning planning period, concentrate on the evidence of the efficacy of faith. There are four kinds of evidence. Apply them in your early-morning planning period to secure the essential assurance you need for goal achievement:

Think of achievements in the past that relate to your goals.

Imagine yourself performing the steps needed to achieve your goal.

Identify with a successful model.

Seek additional affirmation from a power higher than yourself.

p. 161-4

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