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Time Management – What’s Sucking Up Your Time?

Time managementNothing will help you with time management more than having a baby. Since having my son, deciding what to say yes and no to has become very easy. I do just what I have to and really, really want to, and say no to everything else. Work that wasn’t where I should be spending my time is now done by someone else. Social events that I didn’t really want to attend get declined.

Time is the only thing in life you can’t get back. You can make friends and lose friends. You can make money and lose money. You can gain weight and lose weight. But you never ever get back your time.

So where is your time going? What are you doing that you know someone else should be doing? What are you doing out of obligation that is devoid of enjoyment? Where do you invest more time than you need to, requiring you to give short shrift to another priority?

It may seem odd that a communications expert is writing about time management. I don’t speak or train on time management. But I am knowledgeable and passionate about people loving the work they do, where they do it. And it’s hard to love what you and do your best work when you don’t allocate your time well.

Here are five time management questions:

Time management question one: What are you doing that you know someone else could or should do?

Time management question two: If you invested a few hours training someone, what could you give up to create room for something new?

Time management question three: What personal relationships do you invest time in because you think you’re supposed to?

Time management question four: Which family events are you attending out of obligation?

Time management question five: What do you give 110% percent to that 70% would be more than sufficient, leaving more of your time and energy for something more important?

You only have so much time and energy. Where are you going to put it – on the things that matter most or on distractions that seem important?

I’m not suggesting you skip every family event you don’t want to go to. But perhaps go for less time or skip every third event. I’m not advocating cutting corners or doing mediocre work. But sometimes we spend much more time on things than we need to, when investing less time would deliver the same result.

Here are a few examples of what I mean by 70% being more than enough:

  • You spend 25 hours on the formatting of a presentation when the content is what’s really important. You create gorgeous tables and graphs when five bullets were what the client really wanted.
  • You host a party and make hand painted table tents describing each food, when your guests will have a great time with typed descriptions or no descriptions at all.
  • You maintain friendships you know should have ended long ago because it seems like the right thing to do.
  • You avoid calling friends if you don’t have an hour to talk instead of calling and saying, I only have ten minutes but really want to talk with you.

Invest your time in what produces the greatest results and maximizes your enjoyment. Work hard, do great work, invest in your family and friends, and know when “no thank you” is the right answer.

Time management


Shari Harley is the founder and President of Candid Culture, a Denver-based training firm that is bringing candor back to the workplace, making it easier to give feedback at work. Shari is the author of the business communication book How to Say Anything to Anyone: A Guide to Building Business Relationships that Really Work. She is a keynote speaker at conferences and does training throughout the U.S. Learn more about Shari Harley and Candid Culture’s training programs at

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5 Responses to “Time Management – What’s Sucking Up Your Time?”

  1. Larissa says:

    Thank you, Shari! Your last point on the 70% being enough list really resonated with me. I am not doing a very good job keeping in touch with friends, exactly because I always feel like I don’t have enough time to spend on the phone catching up. In reality, a (max) 10 minute conversation is really all I need to stay connected.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for this Shari! I really believe this post is just another signal from the universe pushing me out the door of my lifeless job and toward what I really want to do.
    I particularly like your suggestion to take 10 minutes with a friend or loved one rather than avoid the call. I’m putting that one to use right away!

  3. Sohaib says:

    Good suggestions to apply. However, the utilization and application of some of these suggestions is dependent on where you sit within an organization. 🙂

  4. Lucinda Pick says:

    Hey Shari,
    Still loving your blogs! You touched on an important point here that may be worth elaborating on. I manage my time very well, but at the end of my day, I find myself spent, with little to give back to my family or to myself. This has made me more aware of the importance of managing my energy. I can’t go full throttle all day and have anything left in the tank…it just isn’t possible. So I have to take breaks, eat, stretch and plan ahead so that I’m not bombarded throughout the day. Cheers!

  5. Cheryl says:

    Thank you SO much. So true, so simple and so easy to do right now!

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