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The Top Performer’s Field Guide: Can I Take a Moment of Your Time?

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“Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” –Peter Drucker

by Jeff Standridge

It’s been one of those days … and you know with supernatural precision how many straws are resting on your camel’s back. With equal confidence, you estimate that one more straw will be THE spine-crushing limit. Coffee is possibly the only substance that will fortify your spirits, and you make a mad dash to the breakroom when you hear someone ask, “Can I take a moment of your time?” You break a lifetime of courtesy training and workplace team building by replying, “No, you may not.”

If you thought the reply was rude, consider if that person asked you to fork over your wallet. We often say that time is our most valuable asset, so it should be easier to give up your debit card than five minutes of your time. However, we would fight tooth and nail for a few dollars but are routinely complicit to time banditry. The difference between our wallet and our watch is where we place value and our perception of self-worth.

Can I take a moment of your time? No, but I can give you a moment of my time. The difference between the request and your response is one of self-controlled choice. Anyone who takes your time is baring you from achieving your goals and aspirations. Whether through complete altruism or by gaining something in return, when we consciously give of our time, we retain control of that precious commodity. While that may sound like a game of semantics, it is a game with a purpose. At the end of the day, time is all we have. How we manage that time often means the difference between success and failure. Top performers maniacally manage their time.

Can I Take a Moment of Your Time?: Accelerators

  • Identify your two biggest time wasters.
  • Now list out the impact these two time wasters have on your productivity.
  • What actions are you willing to take in order to better control these time wasters so you can be more productive?

READ MORE: The Top Performer’s Field Guide: Train to Win

Jeff Standridge

Dr. Jeff D. Standridge is the best-selling author ofThe Innovator’s Field GuideandThe Top Performer’s Field Guide.”  He serves as Managing Director for the Conductor, and teaches in the College of Business at the University of Central Arkansas.  Jeff spends the vast majority of his time helping organizations and their leaders generate sustained results in the areas of innovation, strategy, profit growth, organizational effectiveness and leadership. Learn more at

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