Paul H. Burton – “Time is the most important non-renewable resource we have.”
Paul H. Burton is a former corporate finance lawyer, software executive and time management speaker/author/trainer. Eight years ago he developed the QuietSpacing method – a time management system for busy professionals. Since that time he has helped thousands of clients regain command of their day, get more done, and enjoy greater personal and professional satisfaction.
1. Why does efficient time management make sense?
Burton: “Time is the most important non-renewable resource we have. Making good use of time is how we lead ‘successful’ lives because success is a feeling not a result. At the end of our time here, we all want to say, ‘Yes, I made good use of the time I had.’”
2. What is the biggest mistake impeding efficient time management?
Burton: “The general opinion that time is infinitely renewable. Maybe it’s a product of our mortality, but individuals and organizations alike routinely treat time as infinite.”
3. Where should I begin, if I want to keep my appointments better?
Burton: “Start measuring (or simply being honest) about the transition time – the time it takes to get from one appointment to the other. Even jumping from call to call takes a minute or two.”
4. What are the basics for meeting all my deadlines?
Burton: “There is no way to meet all deadlines, even those we set for ourselves. The best practice is to assume that 4+ hours per day will be consumed by the unexpected. Set deadlines according to a four-hour work day and you’ll need to waste less time requesting extensions!”
5. How can I strengthen my willpower to follow my plans?
Burton: “Will power is also finite. Following plans is a habit, just as brushing one’s teeth is. If your habit is to break plans, then you’ll break them. Habits change when people make the (real) decision to change, then commit to a period – relatively short – of moving through what I call the Tunnel of Discipline. Habit A is on one side of the Tunnel of Discipline and Habit B is on the other. Remember, habits are mindless, comfortable activities and discipline is mindful and uncomfortable. The ultimate goal in change management is to move from one state of mindless comfort (Habit A) to the other (Habit B). The only sure way to do that is to travel through the Tunnel of Discipline.”
6. What can I do if others complicate my own time management?
Burton: “Good question. Assuming you have no direct control over them – that is, authority – the best thing to do is change what you do have control over – your behavior. It’s hard to give specific solutions without specific examples, but the general objective is to remove oneself from the environment causing the problem – physical, emotionally or intellectually.”
7. Which examples provide orientation for efficient time management?
Burton: “Understand that most people follow the same rhythm for productivity – highly productive in the morning hours, better at group/collaborative effort in the mid-day period, and best at administrative effort towards the end of the day. Align the workload with the available energy and focus available to be most efficient.”
8. What is the difference between time management in private life and in professional life?
Burton: “Nothing. The basic principles are the same. Time is a non-renewable resource. Making good use of it leads to ‘success’ in the sense that we are happy with what we did during that period – personal or professional.”
9. What personal price do I have to pay for more efficiency?
Burton: “Moving from Habit A to Habit B. See Answer 5 above.”
10. What success does a better time management yield?
Burton: “Memories are snapshots in time. Thus, memories are the currency of life. The more happy memories we create, the more successful our lives are. Focus on creating good memories.”
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