No Time to Learn Time Management

Goose and the Golden Eggs

You may be stressed and slammed and busy and overworked and overcommitted and up to your eyeballs in obligations.

You want to learn more about time management. You think perhaps a new system might help – or perhaps reading more about how to optimize some routine tasks you perform.

But the problem is you don’t have time to do the reading! You can’t find the time to learn about the new techniques. You can’t find the time to get going with the systems.

An Investment

This is just part of reality – for many spheres of life.

A small business owner will expand his capacity if he hires people, but the hiring and training process takes a lot of time on the front end.

Getting an education is an investment of time before it starts paying off.

When we integrate a new system, whether it’s for our personal productivity or some enterprise-level business application, we’ll find that it’s a painful and slow process at first. But it eventually yields benefit.

It feels weird when you start to learn the correct golf stroke or typing technique. You get a little worse before you start to see improvement.

I could go on and on.

The Golden Goose and Sharpening the Saw

Stephen Covey uses the classic analogy from Aesop’s Fables: the goose that lays the golden eggs. You want to maximize the amount of golden eggs you can harvest, but pursuing the golden eggs at all costs eventually will kill the goose.

This is the essence of what Covey labels as the P/PC Balance – or the balance between production and production capacity. Sometimes we must reduce our production to maintain or increase our production capacity. In other words, we take fewer eggs in order to make sure the goose is healthy.

Most people, of course, think about resting to avoid burnout. That’s certainly important, but this principle goes even further.

We could continue our education in order to make ourselves more effective at work. We stop the woodworking and take the time to sharpen our saws.

A Good Thing

So make sure you view this process in the right way.

This isn’t a mere necessary evil. Working on your production capacity isn’t a distraction that you must tolerate.

It’s a great opportunity to get better. Investing the time necessary to make yourself more productive is something that should excite us.

Photo Credit: James St. John (Creative Commons)

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. However, this doesn’t affect what I write about, what I choose to say, or what I recommend. Learn more here.

  • Barb Raveling

    It does excite me, and will excite me even more when I actually start implementing what I learn on a more permanent basis!

    • Loren Pinilis

      Ha ha.

  • Dave Arnold

    Good word. I remember reading Covey’s book and gleaned so much from his time management principles. I have been challenged to reading about the life of Jonathan Edwards and how he used his time – always keeping his eye on eternity as he went about his daily tasks. Great post!

    • Loren Pinilis

      Jonathan Edwards is certainly an inspiration. I would love the opportunity to be a fly on the wall to have observed him for a day.

  • mickholt

    I took one of the FC trainings and began using the planning system they sell…but like all things yo MUST be intentional about the procedures you want to implement.

    • Loren Pinilis

      Yes, that’s true. But I also think we can try different things until we find one that seems a little more effortless for us.

  • Steve

    I’ve found that starting new systems can be hit or miss at first. Some make things a little worse at first before I get better, but I’ve also had it work the other way around – I get quickly better before getting worse again. I don’t know, maybe that’s me. Anyway, the important thing is that I’m constantly working on improving on myself. I’ve never heard of P/PC balance before and I found it rather intriguing.

    • Loren Pinilis

      That’s a fine thing to happen. It’s all about a process of improvement like you said.

  • DS

    Reminds me of a video interview with Skip Prichard and Rory Vaden I watched yesterday.

    Definitely agree with your point about investing in yourself. We find ways to do things that we want to. It.Will mean saying no somewhere else. Yet we find time for things that matter to us.

    • Loren Pinilis

      Oh, I’ll have to check that one out. I know Rory Vaden is big about investing in future improvement.

  • Lea

    Needing to learn but time management but not having the time for it is a clear sign that you need it. At that point you need to carve out some time to get started. Otherwise you’ll just continue the same endless cycle with no end in sight.


    • Loren Pinilis

      It’s so easy to think the opposite, but you’re right!