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The 4R Approach: Lesson 4

“I try to manage my time, but my schedule is out the window within no time at all! How do I get — and keep — control of it?”

By John Counsel

Forget about managing time, for a start. It makes as much sense as weather management, tide management or earthquake management.

Organise your activities, events, tasks and goals within the time you have available. And, for the best results, organise them within clearly defined Roles

When planning your week (the most practical planning context), apply this simple procedure:

Note: There are examples of each form with the document downloads — see link on the Introduction page.

1. Identify the different Roles you’ll need to fill this week.

This is your starting point for retaining control.

2. Allocate blocks of time for each Role throughout the week.

Some will need time each day, others only once or twice a week or month.

3. Create to-do lists within your Roles

This gives you focus and relevance.

4. Allow blocks of time each day for activities such as returning phone calls, dealing with e-mail, mail, etc.

 Try to keep all calls within those times. Let clients know when to call you so your day isn’t fragmented by random calls.

5. Allow some spare 15-minute blocks here and there for unforeseen events, activities or meetings that run overtime, etc. 

This allows you a degree of flexibility and helps prevent extra stress.

6. When you begin each Role block, start at the top of your Role to-do list and work steadily down it. 

Then turn to the next item. Switch to the next role as soon as that time block is over. Focus!

One of the worst causes of waste is “faulty solenoid” syndrome. This is where you sit, jammed-up, stressed, unable to decide which task to do first because there are so many competing demands on you from so many sources. You end up getting little or nothing done.


This role-based approach will astonish you once you begin to apply it. FOCUS during each Role block. Your productivity will go through the roof, and the balance you achieve will be formidable. Stress will plummet.


Intro | Lesson 1 | Lesson 2 | Lesson 3 | Lesson 4

©1990-2019 John Counsel. All rights reserved.


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