BOSTON — "The next shift in time management is under way," says Sean Covey.
"Now it's prioritizing what is meaningful to you," says Mr. Covey, vice president of retailing at Franklin-Covey, a Provo, Utah, seller of management materials.
"It's knowing your governing values and mission statements. Instead of writing down all the things you have to do this week," he suggests, "think about your roles in life as a father, a mother, a working person, a manager. This is where you live your values."
Today, the nuts-and-bolts of time management aren't enough to clarify hectic schedules, some experts say. You must first clarify underlying values.
"The core of the problem," says Vicki Robin, co-author of the bestseller "Your Money or Your Life" (Penguin), is "the material interpretation of the American dream. People have trouble distinguishing between desires and needs that can be satisfied by stuff, and needs that can only be satisfied by inner values."
In Chicago, advertising executive Jim Paglia blends values and efficiency.
He moved his business from downtown to the suburbs to spend more time with his two children. "I save about 15 hours of commute time a week," he says. "It's like losing a part-time job and gaining access to my kids."
After spending several hours with his kids in the morning, he often arrives at work around 9 a.m. He seldom takes work home.
Mr. Paglia integrates the same values into his agency and community service.
"I spend a good part of every day working on my nonprofit interests," he says. "Too often, people who are looking for more efficient processes tend to exclude their own values from the equation."
At the office, Paglia is a minimalist, saving time by strategic use of computer, e-mail, faxes, and phone.
His desk is virtually bare, with no drawers. He has a receptionist, but no secretary, and answers his own phone. "A lot of things are committed to the computer that were on paper in the past," he says.
A little chaos can help
But his values also include disorder: "I'm also a big believer that creativity comes from chaos, and if one is too rigid in their organization, they can't invent."
For Pat Moran, time management begins with strict adherence to a daily calendar - one that reflects her values.
"Everything I do, every meeting, every phone call, is on that calendar," says Mrs. Moran, who heads J.M. Family Enterprises in Deerfield Beach, Fla., a 3,000-employee operation that includes the world's largest Toyota distributor. "If I want some private time, it has to be scheduled. [And} I schedule my kids and family on it."
Her days usually begin at 5:30 a.m., running on a treadmill at home for exercise. "It makes me feel good. I've done something for myself at the beginning of the day," she says.
"I used to work at the office until 7:30 at night, then work at home until 9:30," she says. "Now I am able to delegate more," freeing evenings for her three children and four grandchildren.