Why is it that some judges are very good at case management and others struggle with a caseload that just keeps rising? Why is it that some judges work until late at night and are in on weekends and others are far more efficient? Perhaps the answer is not enough judicial education has focused on time management. Harvey Mackay is not a judge nor is he a lawyer, but his commentary in the Star Tribune might give you insight into improving your performance as a judge.
“How do you explain the relativity of time?” a professor was asked.
“Well,” she replied, “if I am rushing to catch a plane, and the check-in clerk is so slow that I miss my flight, the extra two minutes don’t mean much to him, but they sure make a difference to me. That’s relativity.”
Time is one gift that we are all given equally. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. The only variable is how many years we each have. And that alone is reason enough to make every minute count.
Have you ever wondered where all your time goes?
The average person spends seven years in the bathroom, six years eating, four years cleaning house, five years waiting in line, two years trying to return phone calls to people who aren’t there, three years preparing meals, one year searching for misplaced items and six months waiting at red lights.
That’s why prioritizing your time should be a top priority.
February is National Time Management Month, a perfect time to develop a plan to ensure that everything you do is moving you in the direction of your goals and limiting the distractions that prevent you from realizing them. Do a quick audit of your day to consider whether you are working hard or smart.
I’m a time-management freak, so anything I can do to save time is important to me. That includes returning phone calls at the end of the day, being specific in leaving messages when I’m available to prevent telephone tag, calling ahead to confirm an appointment and even the best place to park to get going quickly. Time is money. I can get more money, but I can’t get more time.
The value we place on each minute of every day will have a cumulative impact on the remainder of our lives. Maybe that’s why Ben Franklin said, “Waste neither time nor money, but make the best use of both.”
Peter Drucker, the late management guru, said, “Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed.
“Everything requires time,” he added. “It is the only truly universal condition. All work takes place in time and uses up time. Yet most people take for granted this unique, irreplaceable and necessary resource.”
My friend Wally “Famous” Amos sent me this story years ago. A man was working on a Saturday when he realized how he had lost track of his life’s priorities, including spending time with his family. He did a little arithmetic and figured the average person lives about 75 years. He multiplied 75 times 52 and came up with 3,900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person will live. With his age, he figured if he lived to age 75, he would have 1,000 Saturdays left, so he went to a toy store and bought 1,000 marbles and went home and put them in a large jar.
Every Saturday after that, he took one marble out and threw it away. He found that watching the marbles diminish helped him really focus on the important things in life.
There’s nothing like trying to gauge your time here on Earth to get your priorities straight. When every minute is precious, you learn to use them to the fullest. As humorist Bob Murphey said, “The only person to succeed while horsing around is a bookie.”
A little boy, late for school, asked God to help him get there on time. He ran, stumbled and breathlessly said, “God, I asked you to help me, but don’t push me.”
Don’t let your time push you. Take the time to manage your time.
Mackay’s Moral: You can save time, but you can’t bank it.
Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman. Contact him at 612-378-6202 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.