Mother’s Day is just around the corner and I thought it appropriate to give my mother a shout out!

“Thank you for instilling in me the opportunity of time.”

When I was growing up, I can remember my mother coming into my room to wake me for school. She’d turn on the light and say, “Up and at ‘em!”

“Up and at WHO?!”

“Who’s Adam?”

“Augugughhh…time for school…already?”

Thinking…“I can sleep in another 15, 20…30 minutes…and still make it to the bus stop on time.”

Nope…my mother wouldn’t have it. Up and at the world…it was time to get a ‘move on.’

You parents know the routine…we hear it from our kids every day. We see it in their sleepy eyes as they try to get up to shower, brush their teeth, dress for school and down that waffle before heading off to their day of learning. “Do I have to?”

Waking up a child…one that can obviously sleep until noon…is a tall order. Take it from me…I have two that can sleep until…tomorrow!

Fast forward some forty-five years (give or take) and I have become a stringent clock-watcher!

I hate to be late and, I abhor those that are late.

And, I cannot stand excuses by those who blame someone else for their tardiness.

I can go on and on about time. And, I have my mother to thank (or blame) who made sure I kept on schedule each and every day.

And, as a result, I make sure my kids are time-sensitive each and every day as well.

My role in my family is not only as a husband, a father, a repairman and a dog walker…but, a clock-watcher.

Even to this day, I make sure everyone is up for work and school on time. My kids get the “Up and at ‘em…” line every time I can squeeze through their bedroom door, navigating my way through scattered tennis shoes, soccer bags, piles of dirty clothes and book bags (don’t pretend you don’t know what I am talking about!).

I fling open the door, turn on the light…and gleefully yell that wonderful phrase!

And, to my delight…I get, “Awww…Dad…turn off the light!”

What my kids are learning today (hopefully)…is that time IS an opportunity. And, the ability to set their priorities, allows for the balance of opportunities.

Time opportunities.

My goal is not only for my family to be on time…but, for them to do more things they want to do.

Same goes for your agency.

Stephen Covey said it best: “How many people on their deathbed wish they’d spent more time…at the office?”

You see, balancing your time creates more opportunity…more opportunity at the office…and, more opportunity at home.

A good time management system, keeps you on schedule, on task and on time. The thing is, however, is that you have to WANT it. Much like me waking up to my mother’s “up and at ‘em”, you have to want to take that suggestion and make something out of it. It starts with putting one foot in front of the other.

There are literally hundreds of websites, articles and blogs on time management. Do your research and find the best plan that fits your agency and, your style. Not every suggestion is a fit…but, that does not exclude you from searching out a solution to your time challenges.

Here are a couple of web-based time management systems I would suggest you look into:

RescueTime – This application records how long you spend on each daily activity as you go. It also generates an analysis of how you’re using your time to help you plan more effectively for the next week. Obviously, it will help you decipher where you and your staff are wasting most of your time!

StayFocusd – This Google Chrome extension blocks your biggest time-wasting websites. It works like a timer, and asks you to set the maximum time you want to waste on your customized time-killer sites before they’re blocked. It is a great tool to manage timewasters.

Again, there is countless number of opportunities for you to research on time management. Implement a time management system for you and for your staff…one that provides for an organized day, full of priority-setting and balance-creating. You’d be quite surprised at what you could generate.

Create the system that works best for you and your team…get organized…and find the balance.

Lastly, what would happen if you walked down the hallway and shouted to your staff each and every morning…“UP AND AT ‘EM!”? Try it…warning, though…you might just get the “Do I have to?”

Thanks for your early morning message, mother…and, a very, very Happy Mother’s Day!!!