Dear Manager,

In the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to plug into the reality of a number of professionals nationally, for whom I hold a great deal of respect. There seems to be a common theme that’s created (especially in recent years) strain and struggle for managers and professionals, regardless of industry. Most would define this challenge as an unrelenting inner conflict, sense of expectation, and lack of fulfillment in meeting the often self-imposed requirements on their time.

I believe that business culture in America has lost an element of respect for time. With individuals seemingly being “expected” to give more and more to meet today’s multi tasking standards, there’s an element of despondency in fulfilling all of the personal and professional requirements in their lives. If the scenario becomes hopeless, it can easily evolve to a state of “what difference does it make anyway” and, yes, a lack of respect for this commodity we call time.

While I’ve met a number of individuals who’ve tackled this concern, they seem to be the exception. This month’s issue proposes that individuals must address this problem if they are to reach the Promised Land of fulfillment. Once again, I’m speaking from experience!

I’ve seen friends and associates with anguished, almost sullen expressions, as it relates to their day-to-day realities and sense of responsibility. Their “to do” lists are overwhelmed with messages to return, emails to respond to, and under-whelmed with very little personal opportunity to effectively and creatively manage their organizations. In this scenario, all fundamental respect for time has been lost. My own observations would suggest this issue has only intensified in recent years. If, indeed, individuals can lose respect for their own time, how can they possibly hold:


It’s true. I think we all find ourselves frustrated by those who fail to hold any regard and respect for our time. Be it a doctor appointment, meetings with clients, or the very simplest courtesy of a returned phone call. What was once an inconvenience has now become much more common place. I’m here to suggest we shouldn’t accept this in ourselves or in others. This single factor, this lack of respect for time, is professionally and economically costly to American business.

How often have opportunities been lost for the simple reason that individuals have shown a lack of professional follow up and execution? How many doors, ever so briefly opened, were closed? Whether we admit it or not, there’s a surprising number of important decisions made with limited or incomplete information, because someone didn’t take the time to return a phone call.


There’s no question that we, as professionals, are much more productive than in the past. Commonplace technology and tools have had an extraordinary and positive effect over the past decade. These tools now provide us with the reality of being connected 24/7 if so desired. Are we thirty percent more productive than ten years ago; at some level has our culture “taken us for a ride?”

The daily use of these tools, and their relationship to productivity, is too often misconstrued to mean that we are, in equal parts, much more efficient. In fact, just the opposite is true. Simply because we may be more productive in no way implies we are any more efficient. Tools can only provide increased productivity, while efficiency is a direct and quantifiable reflection of one’s own personal discipline. It’s the evidence of who/what controls and defines ones schedule: ones technology or ones intellect.

In the new age of technology, this distinction has become blurred. The problem with an evaluation based on productivity is that there can be no true quantification of having fulfilled ones potential. We can all give an additional ten minutes today, add ten more minutes tomorrow, and on, and on, and on. There’s no beginning, no end, and ultimately no fulfillment.

Efficiency, on the other hand, is synonymous with discipline and personal control, regardless of any potential for increased productivity. I’ve often heard the lament, “I ‘have to’ do this; there’s no way to consider a vacation this year, there just isn’t ever enough time.”


A schedule can only have one “owner,” and that’s YOU! There are no excuses, rationalizations, justifications, defenses, or apologies acceptable. We are not only responsible for our personal and professional schedules, but also the implications of how this ownership demonstrates itself. How many times have we heard excuses, only to come to our own conclusion: “Your choices, and their reflection on your actions, have become very clear to me, and have been noted for future reference and consideration.”


I learned that our need and appetite for time is insatiable. An eight-day week would no more meet our needs than seven. I realized, in fact, that the world would not collapse with ones periodic absence and, with very few exceptions, with ones eventual and “ultimate” appointment. It’s liberating to know that “no” is an acceptable answer. I also realized that important aspects of one’s professional schedule could, in fact, adjust to varied personal and professional priorities.

We have been given the opportunity to enjoy a new level of productivity. What better time to evaluate each of our own schedules and priorities on a daily and annual basis? I see the anguish in the unknown faces at the airport; I see it in the known faces of some of my clients. We now have all the tools. The only piece missing is in the personal resolve to translate new priorities with higher efficiency and improved discipline. The greatest advantage held by the best and most contented managers I know is that they have figured this out.

Personal Regards,


INTERPERSONAL© is published by INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM, Keenan Longcor, Editor, ©2012. Duplication of this publication is permitted for both personal and business use. Excerpts may only be quoted with acknowledgment of INTERPERSONAL/INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM as the source. For re-publication rights, please contact the editor at KEENAN@INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM