What To Do When You Have Too Much To Do

Excerpt from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

“Time management” is really a misnomer—the challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves. Satisfaction is a function of expectation as well as realization. And expectation (and satisfaction) lie in our Circle of Influence. Rather than focusing on things and time...focus on preserving and enhancing relationships and on accomplishing results—in short, on maintaining the P/PC Balance.

The only place to get time for Quadrant II in the beginning is from Quadrants III and IV. You can’t ignore the urgent and important activities of Quadrant I, although it will shrink in size as you spend more time with prevention and preparation in Quadrant II. But the initial time for Quadrant II has to come out of III and IV. You have to be proactive to work on Quadrant II because Quadrants I and III work on you. To say “yes” to important Quadrant II priorities, you have to learn to say “no” to other activities, sometimes apparently urgent things. You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically—to say “no” to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger “yes” burning inside. Only when you have the self-awareness to examine your program—and the imagination and conscience to create a new, unique, principle-centered program to which you can say “yes”—only then will you have sufficient independent will power to say “no,” with a genuine smile, to the unimportant.

We accomplish all that we do through delegation—either to time or to other people. If we delegate to time, we think efficiency. If we delegate to other people, we think effectiveness. Many people refuse to delegate to other people because they feel it takes too much time and effort and they could do the job better themselves. But effectively delegating to others is perhaps the single most powerful high-leverage activity there is. Transferring responsibility to other skilled and trained people enables you to give your energies to other high-leverage activities. Delegation means growth, both for individuals and for organizations.