Time Management | Control the Controllable

Everyone has days or even jobs in which they may not be able to do everything that needs to be done.

Additionally there are times when the obvious choices of what to do are not always the best choices.

So how do you select the best things to do for that day?

A good approach is to make a list of things to be done.  Then examine the list for the things that will most successfully accomplish your overall mission.

A second thing is to look for synergies.  These are things that when combined have a bigger impact than doing each of the things separately.  These things may simply complement each other or include elements that are identical.

For example, a teacher who only has time to teach two subjects in a day but is faced with teaching grammar, a foreign language, and a math class on the same day, may opt to teach the foreign language and math, because the teacher knows that the foreign language studies include grammar as part of the curriculum for that subject.

Learning how to recognize what can be controlled and what is better to let slip to the side is important to success in a career, a relationship, a project, or an event.

The best decision makers lay out a plan for their day. They decide what they can accomplish with their resources and their time. They then proceed with the plan that most effectively allows them to get done the things that they can actually control.

In sports, the best coaches know that there are certain advantages another team has over his or her team.  This manager may play away from the other team’s advantages.  For example, a basketball team may have a very effective shot blocker.  The coach of the opposing team will direct players to take shots  when the strong shot blocker is not in the play.

Really thoroughly planned controls can allow the person or team to take advantage of situations where giving up an advantage in one instance can open a greater opportunity in the next instance.  In chess, one might sacrifice a pawn to capture a rook or a queen.

A baseball manager may choose to walk a very strong hitter even if the next hitter is an equally strong hitter but tends to hit balls that are very likely going to lead to two outs resulting from one hit.  The player tends to hit into double plays.

In football, a team may have a kickoff/punt returner who is so skilled that the manager of the opposing team will take many other options in play calling to avoid kicking the ball to that player.  One of those options may be to kick the ball to an area which has the greatest likelihood of leading to the manager’s team recovering the ball.

So control the controllable.  Don’t try to get everything done, but do make choices that have the most successful impact on your day.

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