Being in Command of Time = In Command of You

Most people I speak to have learned to manage their time by blocking off specific times for meetings and scheduling in personal work time…and sticking to it as much as they can. When your schedule takes control, what often happens is that you can’t deliver what needs to get done and everyone loses. This woman talks about the importance of being in control of your time and not to think as someone starting out that you can’t ask for a meeting of the “times”.

“You have to be in command of your time. That’s something that I learned over the years. I used to run around like a crazy person, being on everybody’s schedule. Then one day it dawned on me, “What am I doing?” From there on I took control of my schedule. If people wanted to see me, I would set up days that I was doing meetings and I would make all my appointments then.

As a consultant, I thought everything had to be at other people’s convenience. But do you know what? When you simply say, ‘This it the time I’m available for meetings, will this work for you?’ no one questions you. I think it goes back to my philosophy that when you say things with conviction, no one questions what you say.

Early in my career I was so erratic with my time. I wanted business and thought if I didn’t do things exactly when they said when they wanted, it would be a reflection on me. It was completely in my head. It was simply not taking control of the situation. That’s what they mean when they say “manage your client’s expectations”. You have to if you want to have a life. That’s something I had to learn over the years. Sometimes it doesn’t work out but for the most part, there’s always a happy meeting ground.

People are willing to compromise. People understand people are busy and that they’re not the only job. You shouldn’t be difficult about it but I don’t see any reason why you can’t take control from the beginning so people know where you stand. It doesn’t mean saying, ‘I was out last night’. I think approaching things with honesty and sincerity really works and gets people on your side. It’s just diplomacy.” — 40-sometthing, consultant, NYC

Good advice for managing expectations. Of course there are times when you are starting a business when the meeting is critical or there really is no other opportunity (e.g. someone is in from out of town) or there really is a deadline. That is different.  Respect other people’s time and they will respect yours. Conviction goes a long way to creating an impression that you are in command of more than your time.


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