The Centenarian and the Reporter (First Step to Effective Time Management)
What is the first step to take in order to better manage your time both in your personal life and your professional life? Stephen Covey said it best... "Start with the end in mind."
Many people go on with their daily lives and focus on short term efforts to get through the day. By staying so busy with the daily problems, it may be a challenge to think about what the possible long-term results of our daily activities and habits will lead us to over time. Then they reach a time in their life when they feel that they are not where they want to be in their lives and are looking for a way to make some changes in order to create a more fulfilling and prosperous lifestyle.
The habits and skills of successful people have been analyzed and studied by several social psychologists… but two of the most popular are Stephen Covey (7 Habits of Highly Successful People) and Charles Garfield (Peak Performance.)
To truly be successful, it is not always about how much money or the position you acquire in life….but have you accomplished the most important things in your life?
What is the most important thing? Both Stephen Covey and Charles Garfield identify the number one behavior of successful people is that they have a Mission and purpose for what they do. What is your passion? And they have an overall vision of who they want to be and what the end result of what they want to happen.
Then the next step It is about identifying and getting the activities in your schedule that will help you to reach your goals. It is about putting your priorities into your schedule rather than having your schedule dictate your time and activities.
In business we call these the IPA’s (income producing activities) or for our personal lives we can refer to them as the RPA’s (results producing activities) and getting them in your schedule.
Here is an activity I have used in Time Management workshops to help participants to begin to think about where they want to be and what actions they will need to take.
It’s called “The Centenarian and the Reporter.”
Find a partner. One person is the “reporter” and the other person is a Centenarian. The reporter will ask questions of the centenarian and write down what they say.
A second way to do this is to just write down your own thoughts to the questions and to visualize who you will be if you should live to 100 years old.
Projecting yourself to the age of 100 is not easy for some people, especially if they are in their 20’s or 30’s. So, here is another variation. Project yourself out 20 years from now, identify who you will be, and the activities you did to accomplish this.
Here are the specific instructions and questions.
The Centenarian and the Reporter
Project yourself to 100 years old. You are being interviewed by a reporter on what you did to be so successful in life after you took this time management class. (Only reflect from 100 years back to today’s date, do not focus on what you did before this date.)
Here are the basic questions to answer. You and your reporter may think of others.
1. Describe your successful accomplishments you had in your life.
2. What are some things that happened during this time?
3. What did you do that you are most proud of?
4. How did you maintain your health and energy?
5. What were your RPA’s (result producing activities.)
6. What advice would you give to others for planning their time and what they can do to
have a happy, successful life?
Here is a variation for employees: Employees of the Year Award.
Project yourself out 1 year from now. You have just received the “employee of the year award!” Here are some questions:
1. Describe your accomplishments through the year that got you the reward.
2. What are the IPA’s or RPA’s that help you accomplish getting the award?
3. What advice would you give others for planning their time and to contributing to the
success of the company?
Knowing where you want to be, who you want to be and what you want to accomplish is the first step. There are 3 more steps to managing your time… organizing, planning your schedule, and dealing with timewasters and interferences.
Learn more about how to identify priorities and the other key steps to effective time management in our online, self-paced course “Making the Most of Your Time.”