10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management


By Hyrum W. Smith

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Written for anyone who suffers from “time famine”, this essential handbook provides simple, effective methods for successfully taking control of one’s hours–and one’s life. Smith shows how, by managing time better, anyone can lead a happier, more confident and fulfilled life.




Proven Strategies for Increased Productivity
and Inner Peace


"Hyrum Smith's new book…will enable you to seize control of your life and gain inner peace in the process.…It is destined to become a classic."

—Louis A. Tartaglia, M.D., contributing editor, Success magazine

"Managing time effectively is a key to success in business and in life. Hyrum Smith offers us a compelling look at the ins and outs of managing this important resource."

—Charles Garfield, author of Peak Performance

"Our values, relationships, and objectives can be accomplished, and with more inner peace and happiness and with a higher degree of self-satisfaction, by subscribing to and understanding natural laws the way Hyrum has well described in his book."

—Jerry C. Atkins, chairman, president and CEO, Skywest Airlines, Inc.

"Extraordinary! In a day and age when too few of us believe our personal choices have any effect upon our lives, Hyrum Smith offers real-life, specific steps to master the world around us."

—Warren Bennis, author of the bestselling on Becoming a Leader

"Bravo! Regardless of your Self/Time Management experience, Hyrum Smith's stimulating and well-written book provides both inspiration and scores of practical tips for getting the most out of your personal and professional life."

—William Lacey, president, Productivity Plus, Inc.

"Anyone who invests the time to read the book will find it hugely profitable. It's also a fun, thoroughly enjoyable read…. His methods have made MCI a more successful company."

—Timothy F. Price, president, business services, MCI Telecommunications Corporation

"I thought I had heard or read everything pertaining to time management—boy, was I wrong!…The tools, the exercises, the concepts, and the philosophies that he presents in the book are real, new and useful."

—John R. Felone, coauthor, The Fall of the House of Hutton

"TEN NATURAL LAWS is the consummate work in time management, and a blueprint for happiness…. This book will change your life!"

—Marc and Vicki Sorenson, National Institute of Fitness

"For today's complex world, controlling one's use of time is the most important focus…. Hyrum's book provides a road map to helping set the right priorities with time and life."

—John L. Steffens, executive vice president for private client accounts, Merrill Lynch

"Hyrum Smith has developed a way to help us discover our own values and then organize them so we can live with greater satisfaction and enjoyment."

—J. Oliver Crom, president, Dale Carnegie & Associates

"If you have been waiting for 'hands on' material to help you organize your life and foster more effective time management, this is it! Buy it and use it…it works!"

—Patricia DeMatteo, president, International Center for Creative Thinking

"This is a remarkable book, written by remarkable people, and worthy of serious consideration by anyone interested in self-improvement."

—Rex E. Lee, president, Brigham Young University

"Hyrum Smith speaks with the force of natural law. I guarantee you a 10:1 return on the time invested in reading this pragmatic and soulful book."

—Gifford Pinchot, president, Pinchot & Company, and author of Intrapreneuring

"You've got to like a book that can change your life and entertain you at the same time. Hyrum Smith's 10 NATURAL LAWS does just that."

—Blake M. Roney, president, CEO, Nu Skin International

"Hyrum Smith adds practical advice about how to use truths to make our business and personal lives more satisfying and more productive. Every time I pick the book up, I learn something new."

—M. Anthony Burns, chairman, president, and CEO, Ryder System, Inc.

"Offers a blueprint that will help assure improvement The ten laws start with taking personal responsibility for behavior and end with life-enriching insights."

—Bruce L. Christensen, president and CEO, Public Broadcasting System

Copyright © 1994 by Hyrum Smith

All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored ina database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Business Plus

Hachette Book Group

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New York, NY 10017

Visit our Web site at www.HachetteBookGroup.com.

Originally published in hardcover by Hachette Book Group.

First eBook Edition: November 2008

ISBN: 978-0-446-55102-1

The Business Plus name and logo are trademarks of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

To my wife

The shadow by my finger cast

Divides the future from the past.

Behind its unreturning line,

The vanished hour, no longer thine.

Before it lies the unknown hour,

In darkness and beyond thine power.

One hour alone is in thine hands,

The now on which the shadow stands.

—Poem inscribed on a sundialat Wellesley college


No effort of teaching and communication is ever a solo performance, and this book is not an exception to that natural law. Many people have shaped its content and the direction of my life and thinking over the years, and at the outset I need to express to them my sincere and heartfelt gratitude.

Richard I. Winwood, one of the founders of Franklin Quest Co., is deserving of special mention. Dick and I go back a long way, and I don't believe there is another person on the planet that I am closer to than Richard. My respect and love for him is very hard to describe, but without his influence in my life, the company would not exist nor would this book.

To Lynn Robbins, Dennis Webb, Bob Bennett, and Greg Fullerton, the other founding members of Franklin Quest, I express sincere appreciation for their personal impact on my life and their contributions to the success of what we have accomplished together. Arlen B. Crouch, Jay L. Atwood, and Val John Christensen, who serve on the executive committee of Franklin Quest Co., have also contributed much and have directed us to the successful point at which we find ourselves now in corporate America.

I would also mention Marion D. Hanks, a deeply spiritual man and powerful communicator who has played an integral role in my life for many years. He has been a very serious mentor in shaping my thought processes, my inner convictions, and my ability to communicate them to others. To him I express a sincere love and appreciation.

Deep appreciation is expressed to Jerry Pulsipher, who assisted me in writing this book and, along with Kurt Hanks, helped refine the Reality Model and many other key intellectual concepts taught in Franklin's seminars. Jerry has helped me translate concepts and thoughts I have felt strongly about into written form, and I extend heartfelt thanks and appreciation as a colleague and sounding board. Without Jerry, the book literally would not have come to pass.

A special acknowledgment needs to be made to my wife, Gail, and my children—Glenna, Stacie, Sharwan, Joseph, Rebecca, and Jacob—who have been such a source of support and strength and encouragement through the last twenty-five years. Gail has been an absolute rock through some major financial difficulties early in our life together and in the fragile beginnings of Franklin Quest Co. Without her, there is no question that none of this would have happened. To Gail and my six wonderful children, I say thank-you and express my love.

A book like this is always the combined effort of many others who have helped to clarify the principles and processes of personal development. My own thinking has been strongly impacted by many of these individuals, some of whom I have been privileged to know personally and others who have influenced me through their writings and the spoken word. Many of them are acknowledged in the text, but I want to give special recognition to Alan Lakein, Alec R. MacKenzie, Charles R. Hobbs, and James W. Newman. The clarity of their thinking has made my own task immeasurably easier.

Thanks too to many individuals who for many years have encouraged me to put these things into printed form. I especially note the contribution of Ken Shelton, who first suggested the overall organization of the book, assisted us in finding a publisher, and kept after me to see that I got the book written.

Many others helped shape the manuscript. Roger Terry provided valuable assistance in the book's initial draft, and Joann Davis, executive editor at Warner Books, gave consistent encouragement and suggestions that gave clarity and polish to the finished manuscript. Thanks, too, to Carol Force, my executive assistant at Franklin Quest, who helped keep all the loose ends together.

I would like to mention the many others at Franklin Quest Co. who have played a role in making this all possible, but space will not allow more than a blanket expression of appreciation to all of the Franklin Quest team who have brought us to this point in our venture. I feel that we have just dusted off the surface of what we can accomplish together and know that we have yet to accomplish many great things that will continue to make a difference in the lives of others.

Why You Should Read This Book

If you don't read anything else, read these few pages.

I often wonder why people buy books with titles like this. Perhaps the answer can be summed up in an experience I've repeatedly had teaching time management seminars all over the world.

At the beginning of each seminar, I ask participants, "Why did you come today?" The initial responses run something like: "Well, I want to be more productive." "My boss asked me to come." "I would like to spend more time with my family." "I would like to get more done in eight hours so I can get home earlier." "I would like to be less frustrated at work." "I want to reduce my stress."

However people state it, the responses generally come down to one very simple idea: "I'm here because I want to feel better about myself and my life." And the reason people want to feel better is because they sense that their lives are out of control: The things that matter most in life are too often hostage to the things that matter least. They have come to the seminar because they believe that managing their time more effectively will help them gain control, and that's true—but only to a point. The real solution—the way to "feel better"—goes beyond simply managing time more efficiently.

I recently came across an article and a couple of books that talk about an important part of this problem. According to a recent issue of Time magazine, we live in the age of "time famine." Life is getting more and more hectic. The daily treadmill is accelerating, and we have to run faster and faster just to stay in one place. People all across America are feeling the crunch. The demands of the competitive marketplace put such a premium on personal productivity that if you're not productive, you're out. The result is a tremendous pressure to perform, coupled with a sense of overwhelming insecurity about the future.

The increasing time demands of our careers are reflected in our personal lives as well. In his thoughtful book, Time Lock, Ralph Keyes describes our current condition as the time equivalent of gridlock on our highways. Our lives ile so filled with things we must do or should do, let alone the things we want to do, that we feel trapped, literally unable to do anything.

In his book, The Harried Leisure Class, Staffan B. Linder points out the time demands placed upon us by the things we own or acquire. The purchase of a new boat or car or even a new book brings its own time requirement—time needed to learn how to use it or to maintain it or just to read it. Each new thing or person coming into our lives literally says to us, "Hey, spend time with me," and we do, even when we don't find much satisfaction in it. Paraphrasing the words of the old TV commercial, are you doing more now and enjoying it less? If you're like most people today, the honest answer is too often yes. Indeed, the pace and pressures of life have become so insane that people feel they're losing control of their lives.

Everyone wants to be in control. This is one of the most compelling desires of all human beings. There is no worse feeling than being out of control, sensing that other people or external circumstances govern what we do (and when and how we do it), feeling that we are puppets on a string, being yanked back and forth by forces over which we have no influence. In fact, psychologists have discovered that suicide is very often the ultimate quest for control: "The only thing I can control is whether I live or not." When something or someone else controls our lives, we are neither happy nor productive, and we don't experience inner peace. Unfortunately, peace, productivity, and happiness are three commodities that seem to be in short supply today, because people sense that they are not in control of their lives.

The focus of this book, then, is not exclusively on time management but on achieving inner peace—the transcendent feeling of fulfillment and well-being we all seek. Time management is only a set of skills and tools to help us more efficiently control the events of our lives. But efficient time management alone will never give us inner peace. Ralph Keyes correctly points out that "Timelock persists and gets worse despite the fact that time management concepts are widespread.…With their emphasis on getting more done in less time, too many approaches to managing time are more part of the problem than of the solution."

The secret to achieving inner peace lies in understanding our inner core values—those things in our lives that are most important to us—and then seeing that they are reflected in the daily events of our lives. In other words, doing a better job of managing our time is meaningless unless we are managing it to accomplish those things that are of greatest importance in our lives. That critical difference between simply managing our time and finding the fulfillment that comes from being in control of our lives is what this book is all about. And this simple concept—of making sure that our daily activities reflect our deepest core values—is the concept that has made all the difference in my own life. Let me illustrate.

On June 3, 1992, I found myself standing on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange with my wife and family to witness a singular event in our lives. It was the day that Franklin Quest Co., a company that had been given birth in my basement less than nine years earlier, was to become a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange.

Earlier that morning we had been the guests of the Exchange, along with the other founders of the company, at a lovely breakfast. We were then taken down to the floor of the exchange to witness the stock come up on the big board for the first time.

After preliminaries involved in pricing the stock, a per-share offering price was established and a flurry of activity of buying and selling of shares of our company on the NYSE began. I looked up at the big board and there, for the first time, FNQ came across the ticker tape at $16.50. I can't begin to describe the emotions that flooded through my system. I stood there amid three thousand people scurrying on the floor of the Exchange, with my partners who had helped create the company standing around me, and wept like a baby.

My tears came not because of my own newly enhanced net worth because of the shares of the company that I owned. Rather, it was because of what we had done in such a short time by following some deeply held core values. What flooded into my mind were the vivid memories of the road that had brought us to this point in our lives—of shaky beginnings, of hundreds of nights spent in hotels, of those who believed with us and produced our products and seminars, and of those who bought the products and attended the training and wrote to tell us of its impact in their lives. But most of all, I realized that the company's success was living proof of the idea that following your inner values really works.

Somewhere early in my life, I can't remember exactly where or how, I developed the obsession that for some reason I was supposed to make a difference with my life. I once heard Winston Churchill speak, and in his remarks he indicated that he had a similar obsession. As I came to appreciate the impact Winston Churchill had not only on Great Britain but also the world, I realized he was indeed a person who made a difference—for millions of people. So it was with my desire. From a young age, I have wanted to make a difference in people's lives. That has been a driving, compelling force inside me for a long time.

After graduating from college I discovered that I had abilities in selling. Eventually joining a national firm in the data processing business, I found myself at a relatively early age as senior vice-president of marketing and sales for the largest division in the company. During this period, I discovered that not only was I excited about selling, but that I also enjoyed teaching others how to sell and succeed. I discovered an ability to speak and motivate—skills that were in line with my obsession to make a difference in people's lives.

In February of 1978, my church contacted me and asked if I would be willing to take a three-year leave of absence to go to California and manage one of their missions. Because of my commitment to my church and my inner drive to make a difference, I and my family went to California and for three years worked with more than six hundred men and women who were doing full-time volunteer missionary service. During those three years, I honed my speaking and motivational skills and discovered that what I wanted to do most of all was to teach. I began looking at my options to move into teaching and quickly realized that I didn't have the credentials to teach in the academic world. If I was going to satisfy my desire to teach and make a difference, I would have to do it in the corporate world. After a great deal of thought and prayer, my wife and I determined that we would follow the road of teaching.

This was not an easy decision, especially in light of the fact that my former employers approached me a few months before our mission service was to end and offered me a very lucrative job in New York City as a senior executive of the firm. The offer was enticing, but I found myself saying, "Hyrum, if teaching is something you feel deep inside you are supposed to do, you'd better do it." By this time I had developed some pretty strong feelings about following what my inner values suggested I ought to do. So, we turned down that opportunity. Many of my former colleagues thought I was crazy. There were a few moments in the months to come when I wondered if that was not true as well. But that decision—to follow my inner governing values—was one of the pivotal decisions of my life.

In July 1981, my wife and I created a small seminar company. We called it Gem, Inc. for Golden Eagle Motivation, after another obsession I have had throughout my life—eagles. We initially developed two seminars, one on selling and another on personal improvement. Looking back more than a decade later, neither seminar was very good. But for one year, we beat our heads against the wall in an attempt to break into the seminar business in the corporate world. Through a small miracle in financing and some help from a very close friend, we were able to survive financially while we learned the seminar business and eventually moved into the area of time management training, working as an independent training consultant for a firm specializing in that field.

An old friend, Richard I. Winwood, also worked for the same firm, and together we began exploring better ways of teaching and implementing the principles of time management in the seminars we were teaching. Several years earlier, Dick had developed a simple but powerful model of value-based goal achievement called the Productivity Pyramid that resonated with my own feelings about following inner values. We began using the pyramid in our seminars and found that it had impact on others as well. We also identified the need for a special day-planning tool that would fit the principles and processes we were teaching more closely than any products then available on the market.

When it became evident that the training firm we were with was not interested in pursuing some of the directions we now felt strongly about, Dick Winwood and I, along with Lynn Robbins, Dennis Webb, and Greg Fullerton, created our own time management seminar firm, the company that would eventually become Franklin Quest Co. It was a pretty gutsy thing to do, as none of us had any money. But, we had a message we wanted to take to the world—a message we strongly felt would make a difference.

Working out of my basement, Dick and I started going out and scratching together what seminars we could. Lynn Robbins and Dennis Webb worked to create and refine our own day-planning tool, the Franklin Day Planner. We saw it as a modern embodiment of the "little book" Benjamin Franklin devised to schedule his time and focus on improving his efforts. We began teaching people about the Productivity Pyramid and how to use the Franklin Day Planner to help them bring their daily activities in line with their inner governing values. We asked them to use the system for twenty-one days, and then to write to tell us how it was working in their lives. As letters started to pour in, telling about significant changes in the lives of these people, we were even more convinced that we were on the right track and redoubled our efforts.

In those early days, we were fortunate to find some major corporate clients—Merrill Lynch, Citibank, Nike, Northern Trust Bank in Chicago—who liked what we were doing for their people and kept inviting us back. Within a year, we were teaching so many seminars that we began hiring additional consultants to sell and teach for us.

From those beginnings, this little company of ours has grown to where we are now teaching over twenty thousand people in live seminars every month. Well over two million people all over the world use the Franklin Day Planner. One of the largest web press operations in the western United States is kept busy around the clock to produce planners and associated products. We ship Franklin Day Planners to 133 countries, and now sell through more than twenty-five retail stores in shopping malls and shopping centers across the United States. Several hundred customer service agents handle toll-free telephone orders for products listed in our twice-a-year catalog mailings. Franklin Quest Co. now employs more than one thousand people in the Salt Lake City area alone, not to mention those in area offices and retail locations around the country and abroad. In 1993, Franklin Quest's gross revenues will exceed $160 million.

To me, the most exciting thing about this story is the impact that we are having in the personal lives of the people who go through our seminars and discover the magic of the Franklin Time Management System. At the Dow Chemical Company, for example, we taught our first seminar in January 1985. Since that time, we have trained more than twenty-five thousand white-collar professionals at Dow Chemical, and have developed a special edition of the Franklin Day Planner designed to meet some of the special needs of their company. Most of Dow's training is now done by in-house facilitators using a video we have specially prepared for them.

Dow has done two studies over the last four years to quantify the impact of the Franklin Quest training and the use of the Day Planner in their company. The first study was completed four years ago and the other was conducted within the last year. Both studies show that more than 90 percent of the people trained at Dow were still using their planners and that the average increase in productivity was more than 25 percent. These are chemists and engineers.

There are over three thousand corporations and government agencies now taking our training and using the Franklin Day Planners. We also conduct public seminars in over 170 cities to reach people who work for small businesses and the general public. Our own studies verify the fact that over 90 percent of those who go through our courses are still using their planners two and three years later. Why? Because both the training and the tool work for them. The principles we teach do give people better control over their lives. They experience the inner peace we talk about. They know what it is like to feel better—to be in control.

All of these things flooded over me as I stood on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and realized that the dream was coming to fruition—that we were making a difference. Going public was only a beginning, giving us the financial capability to make that difference felt in the lives of an increasing number of people.

And we're going to continue to make a difference. We are taking our message to anyone who will listen. We are international now—with offices in London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Canada, Mexico, Australia. We are moving as fast as we prudently can to get the message of control and inner peace to the world with easily understood training and tools that can be used by anyone.

Let me share an experience that suggests the potential power that the natural laws discussed in these pages can have in your life. An executive with the Merrill Lynch Corporation attended our seminar several years ago at their corporate training facility in Princeton, New Jersey, as part of the advanced training Merrill Lynch provides its brokers after their first year with the firm. A year after this gentleman had gone through the seminar he wrote me a four-page handwritten letter that, even as I think about it today, makes me emotional. In his letter he said something to this effect: "Hyrum, I went to your seminar a year ago in Princeton. It never occurred to me that what I do on a daily basis ought to be based on my governing values. I found that to be a very exciting idea. I came away from that seminar and identified my governing values, the things that really matter most to me. In the process of that introspection, I discovered that one of my governing values was a good life for my son. When I admitted that to myself, I also had to admit that I wasn't doing anything for my son. This past year, I decided I would dedicate my life to making a good life for my son."


On Sale
Nov 15, 2008
Page Count
240 pages