November – Time Management Revisited

I have been working on a number of contracts that require meeting with various managers. I am amazed at how busy they seem to be and how difficult it is to get on their agendas. To me, it is often a sign of a manager that needs help, needs to prioritize, and learn how to delegate. Good managers need to have time to be available to the right people, including subordinates as well as free time to be creative. If you have staff waiting outside your door lined up to see you – you are a problem manager. In my ABZs of Planning Management book, I show my calendar from my last government job managing a staff of 350. I programmed all my high priority items each week and then I had 50% of my time free for other activities.

I used to teach a course on time management that included the now familiar; set clear goals and objectives, make priority lists each day, etc. While many of these are still helpful, here are a few new ideas from my readings.*

YOUR AWESOME TWO HOURS

Josh Davis in his book Two Awesome Hours (4) suggests that you can get the most important work done in two hours – find which two hours are for you; when your mental energy is at its peak. He also suggests:

  1. Give thought to what you should be doing next.
  2. Don’t fight all distractions; daydreaming may give you a refreshed and new focus.
  3. Connect your mind and body; eating, exercise, breaks, etc.
  4. Get your work place or office in order so its works for you.

BUSY – BUSY – BUSY

Tony Crabbe in his book, Busy (4) says that the Information Age gives us too much to do. Being busy doesn’t mean being productive. He suggests:

  1. Make tough choices about what to eliminate.
  2. Shift from managing time to managing attention.
  3. Focus on innovation, not productivity of more of the same.
  4. Develop deeper relations with fewer people.

FREE WEEKENDS

Elizabeth Saunders in her book, How to Plan Your Week to Keep Your Weekend Free (2) suggests:

  1. Front load your calendar to leave more open space as the week progresses.
  2. Set aside half of Friday to tie up loose ends so you leave on Friday work-free.

* My ideas come from my consulting practice, and:

1. Harvard Business Review

2. Harvard’s quick reviews free on the Internet

3. Bloomberg Business Week

4. Soundview Executive Summaries

Give them a try.

Also revisit December 2007 article by clicking here.

the Management Doctor