Like most of you, I “work” a lot. I spend countless hours a day, reading, writing, videoconferencing, teleconferencing, and on the phone. I also find myself constantly checking and updating the calendar, checking my phone for text messages, chatting on more than one chat client, and conversing on Twitter. It’s typical that I have a minimum of two browsers open, with at lease four tabs running on both (closer to 10 on Firefox). I also have a PC running a couple different CRMs that only run in a Windows environment (yeah I know, some vendors are too cheap and/or lazy to create products that operate in different environments, but I digress). Still I find some time to run a business. With all of this stuff to handle, the “work” is really managing it all.

Most of my clients have it worse. They also have the various channels of communication to manage. They have reports to run. They have people to manage. They have discussions with their managers. They have storewide meetings. And, best of all, they have customers that show up at random. The lucky ones have the budget to work with external resources to help manage and streamline operations, but the majority still find themselves trading their personal time for work time.

For those who keep trading their time, I got bad news for you: There are only twenty-four hours in a day. End of story. Your kids are going to grow up. Your spouse is going to grow older. While your clients are going to put that gold watch on your wrist, they’re not going to come to your funeral.Clock

Time is the most valuable resource. Once it’s gone, you can never get it back. It’s time to fanatically manage your time. If someone wants to take your time, push back. Learn to prioritize your day. Learn to stick to accomplishing what’s most important, and move on. People understand that you will call them back. They’re busy, too. If emails required an immediate response, they would come in the form of a phone call or a knock at your office door. Manage your time wisely, and have the time to enjoy the results.