2. Make time for thinking

Thinking is hard work, and in our fast-paced society, said Drucker, it is sorely devalued. The point, he urged, is to break from the daily grind and think about where you are and where you’re going. You might not have the desire or means for Drucker’s suggested “week in the wilderness,” but surely you can carve out an hour now and then for self-reflection. Take a walk, practice yoga or meditation, or sit in nature.

3. Practice “systematic abandonment”

“People are effective because they say no…because they say ‘this isn’t for me,’” declared Drucker. Practice what he called “systematic abandonment” stepping back, at regular intervals, to determine which of your present activities can be scaled back or eliminated. Only then can you make way for something more fruitful, such as teaching, learning, or volunteering.

4. Volunteer your time and talent

Drucker saw volunteerism as essential to the smooth functioning of society, as well as a satisfying way of ensuring that work doesn’t consume your life. Today, there are hundreds of volunteering opportunities to choose from. Drucker’s recommendation was simple: Find an organization and cause you believe in and get to work!

5. Become a mentor

Mentorship may be broader than just showing someone the ropes in a group or organization. It can include wide-ranging career and life advice, and as Drucker said, provide big benefits not only to the “mentee” but also to the mentor. If you’ve been guided by mentors of your own, pay it forward by mentoring others. If not, look for opportunities to both mentor and be mentored.

6. Learn the art of leisure

Drucker observed that “loafing” is easy, but “leisure” is difficult. As important as work is, avoid allowing it to be your only source of fulfillment. Find an outside interest or two, focusing on things that may bring you pleasure, satisfaction, and a heightened sense of self-worth.

7. Be the CEO of your own life

Drucker saw self-management as an ongoing discipline, requiring self-knowledge, introspection, and personal responsibility. “In effect,” he said, “managing oneself demands that each knowledge worker think and behave like a chief executive officer.” Start now to think of yourself as the CEO of your own life and career, and take accountability for your decisions and actions. Know who you are, what is important to you, and how you will contribute at work and in the world.

Finally, take a deep breath and don’t expect everything to happen at once. Start where you are and move towards your total life one step at a time.

Bruce Rosenstein is author of Living in More Than One World: How Peter Drucker's Wisdom Can Inspire and Transform Your Life. A former business writer and librarian at USA Today, he has studied, interviewed, and written about Peter Drucker for more than two decades. He is a speaker, writer, and freelance journalist. Contact him on the Web at