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Four Generations of Time Management

In Habit 3 we are dealing with many of the questions addressed in the field of life and time

management. As a longtime student of this fascinating field, I am personally persuaded that the

essence of the best thinking in the area of time management can be captured in a single phrase:

Organize and execute around priorities. That phrase represents the evolution of three generations of

time-management theory, and how to best do it is the focus of a wide variety of approaches and


Personal management has evolved in a pattern similar to many other areas of human endeavor.

Major developmental thrusts, or "waves" as Alvin Toffler calls them, follow each other in succession, each adding a vital new dimension. For example, in social development, the agricultural revolution

was followed by the industrial revolution, which was followed by the informational revolution. Each

succeeding wave created a surge of social and personal progress.

Likewise, in the area of time management, each generation builds on the one before it -- each one

moves us toward greater control of our lives. The first wave or generation could be characterized by

notes and checklists, an effort to give some semblance of recognition and inclusiveness to the many

demands placed on our time and energy.

The second generation could be characterized by calendars and appointment books. This wave

reflects an attempt to look ahead, to schedule events and activities in the future.

The third generation reflects the current time-management field. It adds to those preceding

generations the important idea of prioritization, of clarifying values, and of comparing the relative

worth of activities based on their relationship to those values. In addition, it focuses on setting goals --

specific long-, intermediate-, and short-term targets toward which time and energy would be directed

in harmony with values. It also includes the concept of daily planning, of making a specific plan to

accomplish those goals and activities determined to be of greatest worth.

THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE Brought to you by FlyHeart While the third generation has made a significant contribution, people have begun to realize that

"efficient" scheduling and control of time are often counterproductive. The efficiency focus creates expectations that clash with the opportunities to develop rich relationships, to meet human needs, and

to enjoy spontaneous moments on a daily basis.

As a result, many people have become turned off by time management programs and planners that

make them feel too scheduled, too restricted, and they "throw the baby out with the bath water,"

reverting to first- or second-generation techniques to preserve relationships, to meet human needs, and

to enjoy spontaneous moments on a daily basis.

But there is an emerging fourth generation that is different in kind. It recognizes that "time

management" is really a misnomer -- the challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves.

Satisfaction is a function of expectation as well as realization. And expectation (and satisfaction) lie in our Circle of Influence.

Rather than focusing on things and time, fourth-generation expectations focus on preserving and

enhancing relationships and accomplishing results -- in short, on maintaining the P/PC Balance.


Date: 2015-02-03; view: 339

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