Can We Control Time? by Russ DeVan

Russ DeVan

In 1977 as part of training for a sales career with a large textile company, my training “class” was required to complete three assignments outside of our field and product knowledge work.

The first was to read “How I Raised Myself From Failure To Success In Selling by Frank Bettger; still among my top five personal development books of all time!

The second was to complete a three-day “Xerox Professional Selling Skills” Course…literally the STANDARD sales methodology by which all other programs have been measured- including IBM’s.

The third was a Two- Day Class based upon and included the reading of: “How To Get Control Of Your Time And Your Life” by Alan Lakein; my very first exposure to the idea of time “management.”

 Although all of these experiences were huge in terms of forming what I would become and how I would think about the principles of success for the rest of my life, from a 45 year- later-perspective, I can see how they have also shaped and formed paradigms that many people struggle with today.

In my opinion, the notion that we can control or manage time is an illusion.

That’s the bad news. The GOOD news is, that if productivity is the desired outcome, it’s not time that we need to manage. What if results were a product of “action” instead of time?

 Every time management program I’ve ever taken, including Lakein’s, was mostly, if not entirely about organizing priorities and actions, not time!

How often have you had a potential sponsor practically demand that if you are serious about income, you will set aside ten or more hours a week to work the business? Have you ever “played with” a names list or stared at an address book for an hour without making a single call? I have.

Then I learned an important possibility; the distinction that productivity is a function of actions, not time

If you know your goal… and I say all true goals must live within the framework of time and have measurable criteria for success; the right actions to bring it about, reveal themselves.

No, we can’t control time. However, we can prevent time from controlling us.


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Russ DeVan
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