Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow is a mystery.
Today is a gift—that’s why it’s called “the present.”
Okay, this is where the rubber meets the road. This is where we face the ongoing challenge of translating what’s most important into the decisions we make every day.
Some of these decisions are made in advance, as we organize and schedule the way we plan to spend our time. Other decisions are made in the heat of the moment, when unanticipated problems, opportunities, or enticements to be spontaneous (or even a little lazy) challenge the earlier decisions we made. The objective is to make all of these decisions in a way that contributes to life balance, satisfaction, and joy.
This is no small task. It hasn’t been all that easy in recent decades. But today the challenge is dramatically exacerbated by the need to coordinate hundreds of details—including appointments, goals, contacts, information, financial data—in a world of rapidly changing technologies and tools that require time and effort to understand and often don’t even communicate with each other.
These technologies open whole new worlds of potential effectiveness, but they also intensify the challenge of satisfying the needs of daily living and the difficulty of finding time to implement the optimizers that could make a huge difference in the quality of our lives.
Traditionally, these kinds of challenges have fallen into the area of “time management”—of figuring out how to spend the 24 hours a day we each have in the most efficient and effective way. Over the past 30 years, this has been an area of prime focus for the two of us. As we have studied, researched, lived, written and taught, we’ve come to realize it’s not so much the “techniques” and “tricks” of time management, but the principles of personal leadership that truly empower people to identify and keep first things first in their lives. More than “doing things right,” it’s “doing the right things.”
In line with this personal leadership approach, our objectives in this chapter are to help you:
Explore your expectations about time
Implement high leverage optimizers that will empower you to identify and do what’s most important
Develop your navigational intelligence so you can make the best choices in the “decision moments” you face every day