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What not to do

November 18, 2015

When I was younger, I was convinced that the smartest and most successful people in the world knew exactly what to do. Surely, they were successful because they understood what was most important and the right thing to do. As I have gotten older, I realize that the truly successful people of the world understand something far more important: they understand what not to do.

It seems incredible that the most, and least, successful people in the world are limited by the very same thing: time. Think of the most successful person you know. How many hours are in their day? Think of the least successful person you know. How many hours in theirs? Same 24-hour limit–vastly different results.

Time management is such a huge factor that a multi-million dollar industry has sprung up around it. One can spend vast amounts of money (and ironically, vast amounts of time) reading about how to manage time. The truth is, we cannot manage time. We can only manage ourselves within time.

The truth is, we cannot manage time.We can only manage ourselves within time.

How is this even possible? How do we manage ourselves within time? Answer: by choosing what not to do.

This has been an incredibly busy semester. So busy that I have not taken time to write about the great success of the opening of Music on the Square (but I did write about it here), the incredible visit of DeCoda (interview here), our time with A Far Cry (conversation hereor the great visit by Sweet Honey in the Rock (story here).

Much of my time seems to be spent doing rather than telling about the doing (example here) and maybe that is okay. I am trying to learn to manage myself within time and sometimes that means choosing what not to do.

I catch up on this blog during a lull in the action of the National Association of Schools of Music Commission on Accreditation. This is my last service on this commission because I had to decide not to do this any longer so that I had time to do other pressing and important things. It was hard to give up. I enjoy my time with the other commissioners and believe in the work we are doing. I have dedicated three years to this effort. Fortunately, there are many talented people to take my place here. And I will move to the next thing.

Like doing a better job of keeping up on this blog.

Successful students know this all too well. It is choosing not to do this so you have time to do that. There are an infinite number of choices to fill the severely finite limit of time.

I have been involved in higher education across four decades and am still trying to get this right.

We never stop learning.

One Comment leave one →
  1. gsandow permalink
    November 19, 2015 8:44 am

    Love your blog post! So much truth and honesty. What you describe happens to many of us. 

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