Sharing this article from Mr. Collins’ website because I admire both his and Peter Drucker’s work.
Foreword to the 50th Anniversary Edition of The Effective Executive
#3: WORK HOW YOU WORK BEST (AND LET OTHERS DO THE SAME)
If you’re a tool put here on this Earth to be useful, how does the tool best work? Some people work well at night; others work better in the morning. Some absorb information best by reading, others by listening. Some thrive in full-immersion, others work better in short bursts with variety in the day. Some are project oriented; others are process oriented. Some need vacations; others think the best part about vacations is that they end. Some prefer teams, whereas others produce much greater impact working alone. Per Drucker, we are wired for ways of working the same way we are right-handed or left-handed. I discovered early that I cannot exchange morning creative hours for afternoon creative hours (the morning ones are always better). Drucker gave me the confidence to calendar white space in the morning and to be belligerently reclusive during creative hours. No one but you can take responsibility to leverage how you best work, and the sooner you do, the more years you have to gain the cumulative effect of tens of thousands of hours well-spent.
#4: COUNT YOUR TIME, AND MAKE IT COUNT
Drucker taught that what gets measured gets managed. So, how can we possibly hope to manage our time if we don’t measure precisely where our time goes? Inspired by Drucker’s challenge, I’ve kept a spreadsheet with one key metric: the number of creative hours logged each day, with the self-imposed imperative to stay above a thousand creative hours a year. This mechanism keeps me on the creative march—doing research, developing concepts, and writing—despite ever-increasing demands for travel, team leadership, and working with executives. But you also have to make your time count. The “secret” of people who do so many difficult things, writes Drucker, is that they do only one thing at a time; they refuse to let themselves be squandered away in “small driblets [that] are no time at all.” This requires the discipline to consolidate time into blocks, of three primary types. First, create unbroken blocks for individual think time, preferably during the must lucid time of day; these pockets of quietude might be only 90 minutes, but even the busiest executive must do them with regularity. Second, create chunks of deliberately unstructured time for people and the inevitable stuff that comes up. Third, engage in meetings that matter, making particular use of carefully constructed standing meetings that can be the heartbeat of dialogue, debate, and decision; and use some of your think time to prepare and follow up.