Focus on Self-Management, Not Time Management in 2015

Pharma brand managers are busy. Many of you tell me that you need a better time management system to keep up with everything. I believe that the solution to this problem is more about self-management than time management.

Self-management is about making the most of the time you have. It encompasses managing your thoughts and emotions and dealing effectively with your work, family and other commitments. Get good at self-management and you’ll be able to effectively deal with the things you have to do to achieve your goals. My best self-management tip is to determine your peak energy times. Schedule high brain tasks when your energy is high and low brain tasks when it is low.

A long time ago I learned that my energy is high at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day. My energy is lowest midday. I schedule myself accordingly. I reserve the morning for my important and urgent tasks—writing and posting my blog and social media updates and conducting coaching calls. I use late afternoons and early evenings to work on my important but not urgent tasks—like writing my books and other thought pieces. Midday, I catch up on correspondence, return phone calls, exercise and run errands.

This works for me. I think best and most clearly in the morning and have a bit of a sinker mid-day. My energy and mental acuity picks up again late in the day. Knowing this is really helpful. I get a lot done late in the day when many people are biding their time getting ready to go home.

Yes, this schedule works for me, but it may or may not work for you. You have to determine your peak energy times and schedule yourself accordingly.

However, no matter how well you plan your day, surprises and interruptions will always come along. I have found that sometimes I have to deviate from my preferred schedule to handle matters that are out of my control.

Because self-management is about knowing what to do at any given moment, you cannot become a slave to your to-do list or your personal preferences. No matter how well you plan, you will be faced with new problems and opportunities every day.  Sometimes, what I want to do is different from what I need to do. I bet you find this to be true, too.

Do your best to schedule yourself so that you can deal with high brain tasks when your energy is highest. But when circumstances create different demands, suck it up and do the best you can every moment you have. That’s self-management in action. Don’t be so focused on managing your time that you miss opportunities because they fall outside of your plan for the day. Self-management is different from time management because it allows you to respond at your best to the inevitable surprises that come along during your day.


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