“If you don’t make the time to work on creating the life you want, you’re eventually going to be forced to spend a LOT of time dealing with the life you don’t want.” -Kevin Ngo

We all struggle at times to get life’s tasks under control, whether personal, work, or social. Even though we all have the same hours in each day as all other human beings, some seem to thrive and have more control. How can that be?

Well, Lee Cockerell in his book, Time Management Magic lifts the veil that blinds us all and provides advantageous tips to take back our schedules and get needed things done – on time and with little stress.

In case you don’t know, Lee Cockerell is the famed former Executive Vice-President of Operations at Walt Disney World Resort. If anyone has ever had a busy schedule, he takes the cake. Yet, with all the pressures, Lee Cockerell thrived and is remembered by those he lead as not only well planned but also a leader who had an open door policy and was never afraid to get out of the office and walk the park.

If this all sounds too good to be true, it’s not. It all came down to Cockerell’s relentless planning and time management. Finally, in this book, we have access to learn his tricks and skills to gain back control of our schizophrenic schedules.

Because I hope you buy the book, I won’t give away all the secrets, but I will provide some major points to help you start TODAY on your way to being more productive for your organization. Because in reality, that’s what matters – our companies and our lives – thriving!

In the book, Cockerell explains the need for a system. No matter what you use – paper, electronic, apps, or whiteboards – the tools must be systemized and used like clockwork to make your planning a reality and successful.

“Someday, ASAP, and when I get time…is not a system.” – Lee Cockerell

Planning and time management is about prevent fires not running around putting them out. As he comments further, “Most people are not overworked…they are under-organized.” Maybe you feel overworked right now. More than likely, even a small amount of planning will provide needed relief for you. This is vital because our role as leaders is to do what has to be done, when it has to be done, in the way it should be done, whether you like it or not and whether they like it or not. In leadership, results are king. Without results, you never know if you are making progress of getting from here to there.

Cockerell believes time management is the act of controlling the events in your life. Here are his 6 tips to gain a higher level of control.

  1. Surround yourself with great people.
  2. Train and educate your team.
  3. Be crystal clear about your expectations.
  4. Anticipate issues and practice solving them.
  5. Leave some space in your calendar.
  6. Do it now – some issues must be acted upon, ready or not!

Another large problem when dealing with time-management is what to truly consider when planning. Some people separate business and personal, others plan out details under detials, and others just utilize catch words to remind them of what is needed done.

When planning, Lee Cockerell asks himself these things (and he’s very detail oriented):

  • your job responsibilities
  • house and home responsibilities
  • family needs and issues
  • place-of-worship responsibilities
  • community and social commitments
  • financial responsibilities
  • health responsibilities
  • commitments to others
  • communication needs
  • personal development

Although the list above may seem daunting, the deeper level of thought and details you bring to the planning table, the less time it takes to get things done. Detailed planning results in a fast pace of execution and is much more advantageous to those on the team striving for the same goal on certain projects.

“Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.” -M. Scott Peck

Do the right things is important. Doing the right things in the right order is vital. So Cockerell uses these categories when he is planning, and doing them in this order:

  1. Urgent Items – must be done TODAY
  2. Vital Items – must be done IN PART today to meet FUTURE deadline
  3. Important Items (after the previous) – what most people consider their TO Do’s
  4. Low value (only if it must be done) – these should be delegated when possible

The idea here is to not only grab and plan your work responsibilities, but to also schedule the priorities in your life right into your calendar.

Although this is not all the wisdom the book provides, this info is a great start to leading a more productive work and home life. You will be able to, “do what has to be done, when it needs to be done, in the way it should be done, whether you like it or not!” teaches Cockerell. It is how you will be BOTH effective AND efficient.

All in all, I highly recommend this book to anyone who is absolutely ready to be better at planning to achieve control over their time-management. Lee Cockerell has so much more wisdom in his book, but you will need to grab a copy yourself and dive deep. Don’t wait till tomorrow, start today!

“A year from now you will wish you started today!” – Karen Lamb

Cockerell, Lee. Time Management Magic: How to Get More Done Every Day to Move from Surviving to Thriving. Tulsa: Emerge Publishing, 2014. 144pp. $22.95.