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Time Thieves by Jim Stovall

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

Throughout my 40-year business career, there has been a proliferation of books, videos, and training courses on the subject of time management. Any number of experts will take your attention, effort, and money to fulfill the mission of helping you to manage your time. Managing time is as absurd a concept as managing the weather. You can’t control the weather. At best, you can prepare by equipping yourself with an umbrella, a warm coat, or rain gear. Whether you prepare or not, the weather will do what it’s going to do, and whether or not you and I are organized or productive, there will always be 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, and seven days each week.

Once we understand that we can’t control time, we face the ongoing challenge of controlling ourselves. Controlling how we utilize time is difficult because we are forever confronted with time thieves. These are the people, activities, and distractions that gobble up our minutes, hours, and days.

It’s important to realize that you cannot judge what is an appropriate utilization of your time unless you have a specific objective and a definite goal. A goal is a dream with a time limit and an action plan. Without a deadline and a plan to reach your objective, you don’t have a goal; you simply have a wish. Once you’ve established a firm goal, you can then begin to control yourself and your efforts within the context of your daily schedule. Even after you’ve established a firm goal and an action plan of how to achieve it, the time thieves will not leave you alone. In fact, they may increase their efforts to distract you.

One of the biggest time thieves for entrepreneurs is government paperwork and reporting. This thief is not optional and cannot be avoided, so it should be reduced to a bare minimum and delegated to the greatest extent possible. Without getting partisan or political, I tend to support candidates and initiatives that reduce these burdens on entrepreneurs. Since small businesses create the majority of new jobs and opportunities, government roadblocks impact us all.

There are salespeople, survey takers, casual acquaintances, and other people who will call you, send you an email, or drop in while you’re trying to focus on your goals and objectives for the day. You can’t control yourself unless you control these potential time thieves.

As you go through your day today, set your goals, control your activities, and time will reward you.

Today’s the day!

Jim Stovall is the president of the Emmy-award winning Narrative Television Network as well as a published author of more than 50 books—eight of which have been turned into movies. He is also a highly sought-after platform speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK 74145-9082; by email at; or by phone at 918-627-1000.

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