If you EVER use this phrase or a variation of it, I will suggest two things about you:
- You are not as accountable as you should be; and,
- You are bad at time management.
Tough medicine? Well, let me explain why I think this way and why it is so important that leaders never to use this phrase.
Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, whether you’re Bill Gates or the garbage man. It comes down to how you use that time and being accountable for that.
Effective time management is constantly making effective decisions to direct your time toward the activities that are most important in hitting your goals.
If you say “I didn’t have time to do that,” you are essentially blaming something else – some other force of time – for not being able to do something. In reality, you chose to do something else instead and you need to be aware of that and accountable for that decision.
If that decision was spending more time with your family or watching the football game, there’s nothing wrong with that, just be aware and accountable for the decision you made.
I’ve gotten frustrated with staff before and told them if you don’t hit your goals for the week I’d like you to say the following to me:
“I decided that everything else I spent working 40 hours on last week was more important than what you asked me to do.”
Harsh? Well, it’s to make a point. I’m sick and tired of people pretending they don’t have control of their day or week. We all have tons of interruptions and distractions. You need to understand that if you don’t get something done, you’ve assigned a higher priority to whatever else you did.
One of the most important things any successful person can master is time management but you will never do it unless you accept that you are the one ultimately responsible for how you spend your time.
The other part of this is making sure you have clear goals and a purpose. You need to know what your goals are for the quarter, month, week and day in order to make those effective decisions about how to spend your time.
If you have clear goals, then when someone comes to your office door and asks you to do something, you will measure doing that task against what you need to get done for your goals that day, plus the list of other things you need to do.
If you don’t have clear goals, you might just go off and do whatever someone asks you to do that’s urgent to them. Or you might spend your day responding to emails and putting out fires. Then you get to the end of your day and realize you haven’t gotten anything done.
I’ve found the more I focus on managing my time to hit my goals, the more it forces me to figure out how to do more in the limited amount of time I have every day.
It all starts with never saying “I didn’t have time for that.” I’ve told members of my team to call me on it if I ever say that.
So here’s a challenge for you. The next time someone asks you if you’ve done something, keep yourself from saying “no, I didn’t have time to do that.” It may be a little difficult but I’m confident you can do it.
Instead, say something like “I haven’t done that yet” or “I wanted to finish that sales proposal yesterday first before doing that.” I can guarantee you will feel much better about yourself and more in control.
By eliminating “I don’t have time” from your vocabulary you are becoming more accountable and you’re forcing yourself to be better at time management. You’ll be much more successful as a result!
How do you feel when someone tells you “I don’t have time?” Post a reply and I will take the time to reply.
One of the most important things any successful person can master is time management. ~Brendan Howe Tweet this