Four Superskills!



Four Superskills!
Do you want more? More out of your life, more out of your career, and more in your bank account? You
may be technically proficient as an accountant, but the higher you climb your particular corporate ladder,
the more you’ll realise something significantly and subtly ‘more’ is required of those who succeed the most in
life. That elusive something is tied to an 18th century observation by one of the most influential American
founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin — “Time is Money.”
If you learn to manage your time better than those around you, in all likelihood nothing will ever be able to
stand in the way of your personal advancement. Either your superiors will recognise the rare catch that you
are and pay more to keep you on their payroll, or a competitor will soon hear through the professional
grapevine that you are something rare — an effective, world-class professional — and make an attractive
bid for your services. Either way, you win. That’s why Accountants Today brings you
this regular feature on pragmatic time management …
Conquer Your Private Everests with
Four Superskills!
Rajen Devadason
irst the bad news: Sir Edmund
Hillary died on 11 January 2008.
As you probably know, Hillary,
a Kiwi, was the first person to
stand at the top of our planet when he conquered Mount Everest with his Sherpa
guide, climbing partner, and eventual lifelong friend Tenzing Norgay on 29 May
What you might not know is
Hillary subsequently reached
the South Pole, in 1958; the
North Pole, in 1985 with
the first man on the
Moon, Neil Armstrong;
and from the mid to late
1980s was New Zealand’s
High Commissioner to
India and Bangladesh and
its Ambassador to Nepal!
Hillary was a towering individual
worth learning from …
He said, “It is not the mountain we
conquer but ourselves.”
So, here’s the good news, within the
context of racking up personal victories:
Whether we’re talking about a
billionaire like Tan Sri Ananda Krishnan,
Warren Buffett or Sir Li Ka-shing, or a sad
tramp or pauper, the amount of time each
of us has is the same: 24 hours a day.
Because the economic results people
generate vary so greatly, the key determinant of success can’t be the amount of time
we have each day, but rather how we use
How do you use your time?
Do you squander it on a job you hate and
on mind-numbing activities aimed at easing the pain of frustration you feel over
your wasted life? Or do you fill each
day with significant, profitable
While I work as a retirement
planner, financial planner and
life planner for my varied client
portfolio, the bulk of my time is
spent reading, thinking, writing,
speaking and consulting on retirement planning. That’s why,
as I mull over which time management skills to leave with you
today, my mind keeps gravitating towards what you might
want to learn to do well in your
bid to retire a happy, healthy,
wealthy individual.
A golden retirement is defined by great health, financial
abundance, social significance
Conquer Your Private Everests with Four Superskills!
and a wonderful family. All time management principles you learn today and apply
tomorrow should move you closer towards
those four ideals.
This means you shouldn’t work such
long hours that you isolate yourself from
those who love you and whose approval,
care and companionship mean the most to
you. So, what you might need is a recipe
for enhancing your personal productivity
that will allow you to get more done in less
You’ll still need to work long hours, but
they don’t need to be so extensive that
your own children begin calling you
‘uncle’ (or ‘aunty’) when you shock them
by turning up at your home before they
fall asleep!
Regardless of how lousy or how great
your life is now, there are tangible steps
you can take to conquer the high mountains of your world and, more importantly,
vanquish your innate tendencies to sabotage yourself.
Each of those steps involves learning and
honing a distinct new skill, so pay close
In your bid to craft an amazing life
marked by great health, financial abundance, social significance and a wonderful
family, do focus on developing these four
key skills that can catapult you to an ideal
1 Schedule your important activities a
week ahead at a time
2 Read, think and write about your specialty
3 Network effectively
4 Constantly seek to identify your bliss
SKILL 1: Schedule your important
activities a week ahead at a time
The best book I’ve ever read on learning how to schedule your life one full week
ahead is Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of
Highly Effective People — Powerful Lessons
in Personal Change. Buy it, read it and pay
careful attention to the planning section of
Covey’s ‘Habit 3 Put First Things First.’
In that chapter, Covey writes about the
need to carr y out both long-term and
weekly organising.
When it comes to long-term organising,
the defining and guiding document should
be your personal mission statement. Paying the price in time and effort to create
one for yourself helps you figure out the
central roles of your life and, from those
roles, to formulate appropriate goals.
Weekly organising then involves revisiting those key roles ahead of each week,
reminding yourself of the associated goals
and making appointments with yourself to
work on each important, but probably not
urgent, goal. Just make sure you leave
plenty of ‘white space’ within your week’s
schedule to grant the flexibility you’ll need
as the inevitable ‘brush fires’ of life erupt
around you!
Then, as your week progresses, you’ll
discover the fire-fighting you need to carry
out won’t necessarily decimate your entire
(For immediate help in writing your own
Mission Statement and in setting your important goals, check out my eReport How to
Craft Your Very Own Mission Statement and
my ebook Unleashed, both at www.freecool
SKILL 2: Read, think and
write about your specialty
If you aren’t much of a reader, take steps
to overcome this major failing. The catchy
phrase ‘readers are leaders’ may not be
accurate, but if we turn it on its head we
end up with ‘leaders are readers’, which
does mir ror reality; just think of the
bibliophilic examples of former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and of
Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew.
I suggest you visit a big bookstore next
weekend and browse through the sections
that carry books on your specialty. Buy one
or two titles (at a time) that interest you.
Read them and as you do so write your
thoughts, ideas and impressions in the
margins. That exercise will permit you to
engage in a mental dialogue with the author that transcends the miles and years.
Finally, as you finish each book, get out
a journal and write down all your briefly
jotted thoughts, ideas and impressions in
more complete form.
If you’ll do this work repeatedly, you’ll
discover that within six months of beginning to read, think and write widely, the
quality of your brain output will soar astronomically. And in our present day, it is the
quality of our thoughts that has the most
relevance to our future income.
SKILL 3: Network effectively
Within your journal begin writing down
the names of people you’d like to meet over
the next couple of years; individuals of stature and significance who have the ability
to propel you upward.
As you revisit and rearrange that list of
names from time to time, look out for networking opportunities at work or in public
settings, perhaps through professional associations or special interest groups where
you’re likely to ‘bump into’ these movers
and shakers.
Take your time, though, in meeting
them. You want your gradual enhancement
of Skill 2 through reading, thinking and
writing to provide you with the mental
ammunition necessary to make a good first
impression and, hopefully, an even better
second or third one.
SKILL 4: Constantly seek to
identify your bliss
Expand the use of your journal to include
personal ideas on what would make you
blissfully happy in each of the four core
areas of great health, financial abundance,
social significance and a wonderful family.
Then blend those fresh thoughts with
your newfound facility in Skill 1, as you
schedule important activities.
The majority reading this article will
reach this ending, put the journal down,
and never act on this potent information.
An elite minority, however, will cut out this
article or make a photocopy of it, reread it
and then meticulously apply each of the
ideas presented.
Your actions now will indicate whether
you belong among uninspired valley dwellers or in the company of towering Everest
conquerors. AT
Rajen Devadason, CFP, is a speaker, author and independent consultant. He’s the author of the time
management e-book Unshackled — 7 Ways to Make
TIME for MY Dreams. Through his free time management eCourse, his corporate workshops, and
his Personal Effectiveness Training (PET) online
consulting module, Rajen has helped professionals around the world enhance their personal value
in the job market. His internationally read, free electronic magazine GET BETTER can be subscribed
to at no cost at Rajen
welcomes feedback at [email protected]

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