Archivist’s Pick: Guarding Time to Make Time

Here’s this month’s piece from the Drucker Institute’s archivist, Bridget Lawlor. By drawing lessons from the vast treasure trove of papers and other objects that are collected in Peter Drucker’s archives, Bridget is giving new life to decades-old material.

Peter Drucker’s reputation for being generous with his time is legendary.

A.G. Lafley, the CEO of Procter & Gamble, recalled hoping to spend an hour with Drucker at his Claremont home, then getting four. When a Wharton MBA student phoned Drucker on behalf of the school newspaper, he got “a lengthy interview . . . full of insight.” Drucker gave half of his consulting time, pro bono, to nonprofits.

And yet Drucker was able to heap so much attention on the people and things that he really cared about because he protected his time so zealously. Seen here is a standard reply card that Drucker kept at the ready in order to politely but firmly decline all manner of potential distractions.

“Your accomplishments and your effectiveness,” Drucker wrote, “are set, or limited, by the way you manage your time, your scarcest resource.”

Photo: Anne Fishbein