Time Management and a Book for Your Summer Reading List JenEMiller June 14, 2023

Time Management and a Book for Your Summer Reading List

Summer officially starts next week…even if many of us sometimes might habitually mark the beginning of summer with Memorial Day, warmer weather, or the end of the school year.

Last week, I shared a bit of insight into why The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel Brown is one of my favorite go-to leadership books. 

This week’s post includes commentary on time management. As well as a few notes on the phenomenal book Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman. If you haven’t read it already, it probably belongs on your summer reading list.

Where you are a year from now is a reflection of the choices you make today. –Jim Craig 

Time Management

For years and years, I’ve heard sales professionals tell me they want to improve their time management skills. And many have believed making better time management decisions and routines would be the one thing, maybe the only thing, they needed to magnificently catapult their careers to the next level. 

I have often countered with asking if it’s really time management they are after, or a broader or deeper discussion around time prioritization. We’ll get to that in a minute. 

First, let’s go ahead and tackle the time management discussion. An entire industry, including books, tools, and systems, exists because people want to harness the often elusive goals of managing our days (and lives) better. 

Harvard Business Review does an excellent job highlighting that time management is actually comprised of three components. And that one must pay attention to all three if success, not failure, is the desired outcome. 

Eric C. Dierdorff calls out these three elements in his 2020 article on the topic:

  • Awareness: thinking realistically about your time by understanding it is a limited resource.
  • Arrangement: designing and organizing your goals, plans, schedules, and tasks to effectively use time.
  • Adaptation: monitoring your use of time while performing activities, including adjusting to interruptions or changing priorities.

Only in recent years have I given serious thought to all three of these categories. I used to concentrate my efforts on only one, sometimes two, of the three. 

Allowing myself to really acknowledge that time is a limited resource came after I read Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman. A phenomenal read. I highly recommend it. With humor, wit, and practical observations, the book challenged me philosophically and made me think deeply about our time here on Earth.

Time Prioritization

Reading Mr. Burkeman’s book on time management led to even more reflection on time prioritization. 

And if you haven’t yet read much from Harry M. Kraemer from Kellogg School of Management, it’s worth it to do so today. He reminds all of us that we only have 168 hours a week, and how we choose to use those hours will determine our priorities. This brief article on the topic is a must read if you are seriously wanting to create new habits or break bad ones. As we need time, attention and focus in our days and weeks to even prioritize something new. 

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. –Jim Rohn

Next week’s blog will be a short summer reading list – several categories – all curated from your recommendations. If you want a top pick of yours included, simply add to the comments on the LinkedIn post, private message me, or text me before next week’s post!


(Photo credit Jon Tyson)