Time Management Secret: The Worth-Your-Time Test

There are no shortage of demands on your time, from meetings to pet projects and big picture thinking. For ever hour of the day there are five different ways to fill it. What you need is a way to sort through these competing commitments and figure out what is actually worth your time.

As first this seems like a Herculean task. You have to consider deadlines, difficulty, your degree of passion and skill for the project, and whether your participation impacts others. But before you go digging out your college math text to come up with some complicated algorithm to decide which requests to accept and which to reject, Peter Bregman, CEO of Bregman Partners, a management consulting firm, has posted a simple suggestion on the HBR blogs.
He writes: "I propose a little test that every commitment should pass before you agree to it. When someone comes to you with a request, ask yourself three questions." What are they?

  • Am I the right person?
  • Is this the right time?
  • Do I have enough information?
But what if a commitment fails the test but comes directly from your boss? No excuse, argues Bregman. "f your boss asks you to do something and her request fails the test, it's not just okay - it's useful - to push back or redirect so the work is completed productively," he says.

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(Image of man stressed about his to-do list by stuartpilbrow, CC 2.0)