Time Management

I am 60 years old and still learning. My AA sponsor told me years ago to “remain teachable”. I’ve done my best to heed that advice.

One recent lesson occurred through an unlikely channel for a Boomer like me – a podcast on Spotify while driving my Hyundai Genesis 5.0 streamed by Apple Play through an iPhone 7 Plus. Did I have an inkling growing up in the 60’s and 70’s I’d ever write a sentence like the previous one?  Or this technology even a possibility? Not me. Right Click shakes his head in awe at the coolness. Back to the topic…

I searched Spotify for podcasts on leadership and came across Coaching for Leaders, with Dave Stachowiak. Recently I listened to #431: Align Your Calendar to What Matters, with Nir Eyal.  Here’s my summary, follow the link to listen to the whole thing.

  1. Many people claim that technology distracts them. The question to ask is “What am I distracted from?” I thought about that. I’m usually distracted from something I know I’m supposed to do, but don’t want to.  Distractions also imply that you had traction with something else. Honestly, when I have traction with a task, project or activity I am not easily distracted.
  2. What matters most to you (me)? When recovery coaching, it’s a great question to ask a recoveree. I consistently ask myself on any given day, what’s most important for me on this day? How do the day’s scheduled activities align with my overall priorities – God/recovery, family, work?
  3. Does my calendar reflect what’s most important to me? If you looked at my calendar, would you discern my priorities? At the time I heard the podcast, work appointments dominated my calendar.
  4. To Do List? I’ve used a To Do List for years and years and I believe i used it with some degree of efficiency. Until Nir Eyal talked about rolling over tasks on his To Do list. Guilty! Especially, difficult or time-consuming activities.Then her shared an idea that became an epiphany for me…
  5. Put the To Do List in Your Calendar! This revolutionized my personal time management strategy. Immediately after hearing this suggestion, I went through my list and scheduled time for each item.
  6. If you don’t plan your time someone else will. This last thought also resonated with me. The “someone else” doesn’t necessarily have to be a person either.

I shared this lesson with CCAR at our weekly online staff check-in meeting.  For some, many of the concepts were brand new; others had been practicing skilled time management for years. Jennifer C. talked about blocks of time that worked well for her. Yoly has blocked out her time for 18 years; I know because I see it in her calendar. She is an extremely efficient, high-capacity professional who built our administrative foundation. Her schedule provides the structure for her work.

For me, I’ve been wanting to finish my book #continue about my Appalachian Trail adventure. 90% finished, I deeply believe it’s legacy work for my family. I keep telling myself I’ll get to it when I have spare time.  But when spare time rolls around (rarely), I don’t feel like writing or someone else takes the time. So after I heard this lesson, I reviewed my To Do List  where #continue sat stoically (and somewhat defiantly), resigned to be rolled over again and again. This time I blocked off 50 separate one-hour blocks on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6:45 am – 7:45 am.  I’ve adhered to the schedule and made progress.

We’ve all heard “time is precious”.  Do we really believe it?  Again I ask, what’s precious to you?

And are you scheduling time for it?

phil valentineIn 2015, I finished a thruhike of the entire Appalachian Trail, a trek of 2,189.2 miles. It took 189 days and 6 pairs of boots.  During that sacred time, my purpose in life became more precisely defined.  I am, simply, to coach recovery.  Recovery saved me from an early demise and brought purpose to my tattered life.  I have learned that I’m a coach to my very core. I am blessed to put the two together. I started work at the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR) in January 1999.  I became the Executive Director of this recovery community organization in 2004.  I have trained the CCAR Recovery Coach Academy© dozens of times and have a hand in modifying, improving and adapting various recovery coach curricula.  I’m old enough now to start considering my legacy. This is one way for me to share lessons learned in my recovery, in my role as Executive Director and a trainer. When I engage with others, I present the same messages repeatedly.  It’s time to write them down. 

Phil “Right Click” Valentine
Recovery established 12.28.87

5 thoughts on “Time Management”

  1. As always, Thanking for sharing your experience, strength and hope with us. Love hearing from you and the miracles that keep happening in recovery and with the great staff members at CCAR!!!

  2. richard pacukonas

    Only two things in life everyone equally shares: the love of God and his gift of 24 hours in a day. What we choose to do with the love and the time determines the “blessed” from the “wasted.” Only the “teachable” improve over time.

  3. As always very thought provoking and informative. Helpful tips and information for me to be more effective. I still need progress on scheduling “me time” but moving n the right direction.
    Thank you,

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