It’s holiday time and gift-giving is on everyone’s mind. But how about those intangible gifts that are not wrapped up in packages and tied with a bow?

Time is one of them.  When you carve out the time to mentor someone it is indeed a very special gift. Your gift of time tells that person that they matter to you, and that you value them. On the other hand, when you repeatedly postpone or cancel meetings, it sends a different message– my time is too valuable for you, our time together isn’t important or you are not worth the investment of my time.

out of timeRemember Stephen Covey’s Four Quadrant Model? Covey makes the distinction between urgent and not urgent activities and those things that are important and not important. Urgent and important items are the crises, pressing problems and deadlines that get most of our attention. We tend to put off things that are deemed important, but are not urgent – like mentoring and personal development. Because they lack urgency nothing compels us to act immediately.  Like many people, you might find yourself putting mentoring on the back burner, confident that you will get to it when the crisis du jour is over. Even with the best of intentions you don’t, because sooner or later another crisis takes its place.

If you are waiting to find the time to give to mentoring others, forget it. You will never find the time unless you make sure you make it a priority. Time has a way of slipping by and with it goes the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life.

What You Can Do
  • Put mentoring dates and time on your calendar well in advance.
  • Commit making time for mentoring a priority.
  • If you have to reschedule, do it ASAP.
  • Select the tasks, assignments, decisions, etc. you can delegate to someone else so you can free up your calendar. (Ideally, your delegation should provide an opportunity for someone else to grow and develop.)
  • Use planning and time management strategies to make good use of the time you do have.


 Questions to Consider
  • Where does the priority of mentoring currently fit in your world?
  • Who could really benefit from quality time with you? 
  • How available and accessible are you to the people who need you?
  • What tasks are you doing now that someone else could do?