This Friday (April 19th) I will be going to the EntreLeadership 1-Day event in Oklahoma City. I’ll be sharing a couple tidbits from the book, EntreLeadership. Today, I want to look at time management. I tend to have difficulty with time management. I have great intentions, but I tend to let things slip.

In chapter 4, Dave Ramsey shares a time management system he calls “Steak Sauce.” It is based on Stephen Covey’s explanation of the four quadrants that we spend time in:

I have tried several times to use different to-do lists, from simple pen and paper methods to computer programs to iPhone apps (stay tuned for episode #009 of the podcast for information about Evernote). I would get started and plan out several things. I would get things prioritized. My list was looking great!

But I would spend too much time planning that I would then rush into the rest of the day. I would ignore that list that I spent so much time on and just go from my own memory. That’s not a very reliable source for trying to get things done. I tend to get distracted by the different events that come up. There are things that come up that “have to be done NOW!” So, I follow it and leave my prioritized list buried alive.

These things fall into the 3rd quadrant. These are urgent (they need to be done NOW!), but they aren’t important – at least not important for you to do. This is a difficult quadrant to fight off, especially for people-pleasers. We don’t like to say ‘no’ or disappoint people, so we accept. Dave suggests that we delegate these to someone else:

  • Kids
  • Spouse
  • Friend
  • Co-worker
  • Subordinate

The trash needs to be taken out every so often. Usually this is indicated when the trash is heaping over the top and stuff falling on the floor. There is an urgency for it to be taken out, but it’s not necessarily important (well, it becomes more important the longer it goes undone). Do I have to do it? When I was first married, it was my job. But now I have kids. It is now usually my son’s job to take the trash out. It has been delegated.

The second quadrant is another difficult one. These are important things that need to be done, but there seems to be no urgency for them. There is nothing that is really pushing you that they have to be done now.

Exercising is an important thing for everyone to do regularly. This is something that most people know, but few put into practice. I am one of those…that don’t. I have spurts of time that I do a little exercise, but nothing really regular. (note: I have gotten better over the past couple months, but I still have to get better with regularity.)

Why is it so hard? Nothing screams at us to do it! (Unless your spouse is…but that’s a little different) Our time seems to be committed to everything else that we don’t think we have time for it now. We’ll get to it some time.

We have to learn to identify these important things and MAKE time for them. We have to do them on purpose. We have to make a plan and stick to it, or we won’t get these things done.

Back to steak sauce.

Dave suggests to list everything that had to get done. Write an “A” next to the things that have to get done today. Write a “B” next to the things that would be nice to be done today, but can wait until tomorrow. The rest become “C.”

Then you take all of the “A” items and prioritize them. If there is only one thing that can get done, what is the most important? That item gets a “1.” Number the rest of the “A’s” the same way. The do the same with the “B’s.”

Your priority then becomes the things listed as A1. This is your steak sauce. As you finish A1, you cross it off. A2 then becomes the new A1.

Quesiton: What kind of time management ideas do you have?