Change the Grains

Now that you have identified your Platinum Activities and set your Time Gain Goal, it is time to start the Time Edge process As laid out in Time as a Commitment, this involves changing the activities that you allow in your day, and the next step in the process is to start to replace the grains of sand falling through your personal hour glass with higher value activities.


The driving concept behind The Time Edge is that your personal time is like an hour glass. There is nothing that you can do to stop time passing, to stop the grains from falling through the hour glass…but you can proactively change the grains that you allow into the top half of your hour glass and change the value of the grains that do fall through.    

Put simply, the root of most people’s “Time Management” problems is that they are simply trying to do too many things and what they need to do is to redefine the things that they allow in their day. To develop your Time Edge and become an effective time manager you have to change the grains in your personal hour glass - get rid of the activities and commitments that don't belong in your day to make room for the activities and commitments that do. 

Only by doing this can you really get control of your day. This means ruthlessly eliminating as many as possible of the things you find yourself doing that don’t fit within your Platinum Activities. It is difficult to get things out of your day, and it takes some work. Different things work for different people, and later in this section we will examine some different techniques that you can employ.

There are two major difficulties that will hinder you from starting to identify tasks for elimination and stand in the way of your success. Before looking at the different techniques you can use, it is important to understand these two major impediments and how to overcome them. They are:

  • the analysis paralysis that occurs when we bundle together the activity to be eliminated and the actions needed to eliminate it
  • the way the tyranny of the urgent requires that we just get things done now instead of taking a more strategic approach to eliminating them.

The secret to success in eliminating inappropriate activities boils down to two simple concepts that will overcome these impediments: the first is to Unbundle Identification From Action and the second is to Control the Tyranny of the Urgent by writing down every task to be eliminated and create a To Don’t List…… a fearless inventory of tasks identified as candidates for elimination.

In the sections that follow I will examine these two problems and then lay out the systems and processes that you can use to overcome them.

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