“You don’t always get equal pay or equal treatment, but time comes to us all in equal amounts.” Those are the words of Charles E. Hummel, the late author and historian whose classic essay, Tyranny of the Urgent, has spawned the multi-billion dollar self-organization industry.
Hummel wrote his essay almost fifty years ago. Since then, contemporary authors have been making big bucks from reworking material from Hummel’s writings for their books about “how to get organized,” “how to organize your time,” and “getting things done,” among others.
Hummel’s philosophy about how to get things done is easily understood: “Everyone has all the time there is—twenty-four hours a day. It’s the choice we make about how to use that time.” So the secret is to get organized in the time we have.
Hummel advises you to make the hours count for what you think is important today, this week, or this month. To paraphrase an example given by the author—make-believe you’re clutching a fistful of cash that’s the exact amount you need to purchase a frying pan. You wouldn’t waste that money by grabbing point of purchase items on the way to the checkout counter. That’s because you wouldn’t be able to pay for the cooking utensil you came for and would wind up in the frying pan yourself. “So why not be equally artful with your time,” asks Hummel?
Your response might be that there are never enough hours during the day to get all your stuff done. Hummel answers your objection by stating even if you had more time to do things, you’d still be as frustrated as you are today because of Parkinson’s principle—“work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
The dilemma is much more than a shortage of time. “It is basically a problem of priorities,” says Hummel, whose first principle for how to organize your time is to decide what’s important.
Hummel’s suggestions for deciding what’s important, along with my coaching on how to implement his advice, will be covered in the next post Your Career Service. Stay tuned.
I’ve devoted an entire chapter, “Tips on Organizing your Job Hunt,” in my book, Your One-Minute Job Finding Coach.
Copyright ©2015 by Ransom (Randy) Place