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Steve Robson

Marine Industry

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Time Management Courses


If there is anybody out there who has been on a Time Management course could you share what you are now doing differently as a result of the course?

I may be wrong but I think a Time Management course could be a waste of time?

18 Responses

  1. Reformatting

    There is a thread just below this one with 64000 + reads and 50+ people asking for a TM exercise.

    Maybe just one person will come forward and explain what happens on one of these courses?



    Reformatting hundreds of slides for someone and need a distraction. Or maybe I need a Time Management course?

  2. a serious answer from someone who runs them nowadays

    I used to be really good at procrastinating, which was really bad for me. I’d put things off and put things off until they either became moot (and I got a bollocking or let someone down), or I tried to do them at the last minute and guess what? A last minute job never lasts a minute.

    Then I learnt some attitudes, approaches and some methodologies on a time management course… I seldom procrastinate, and virtually always complete things on time.  As a result I’ve become quite well known as someone who is very productive and can be generally expected to turn something around quickly.  This has helped me in my work, my home life and my social/community life… has also helped me to have five books published internationally in 2 years, a sixth due out in Februiary and a seventh on the writing table as we speak.

    I hope that helps answer the question but……

    once I was running a time management course for a company and I began by asking each delegate why they were there.  One chap responded that his boss had sent him as a punishment for being late to work three times in a month………I just loved being used as a big stick to beat people with (not)


  3. alone? Qui moi?

    Hi Steve

    I’ve had response from people who have been on my own Time Management Courses who have reported that

    a) using the DREAM Mnemonic has helped them to manage their intray far better

    b) encouraging people to change their habits has made massive savings in time wastred dealing with unimportant emails

    c) removing or reducing non value added tasks has helped them to concentrate more on the things that matter

    d) learning to say "no" has saved them enormous amounts of time.

    So lots of people get a lot from Time Management courses….it is just that the name is ghastly!

  4. Does it actually exist?

    Whenever I run our time management module, my first challenge to the delegates is – what is time management? I then set them a task to define what management is, and then apply that to time. More often than not, when they do that, the lights start to go on that actually the concept of time management doesn’t actually exist at all. We talk of DeLoreans, Tardis’ (or is it Tardii?) and time machines…and how those are possibly the only ways of managing time itself…what the concept should be is how to manage OURSELVES in time. They then have control over what needs to be done and how it can be applied, with subjects such as delegation and influencing then starting to play a part.

  5. Is it a Course?

    In my experience the people who are rubbish at managing themselves don’t actually think they are rubbish.

    In fact they think the messier their desk, and collection of old stuff they don’t need anymore, and unanswered e mails is a sign of being important.

    I actually think its something " going on upstairs" if you know what I mean, and course isn’t going to help with that!

    PS…considering the 64000 reads of the other TM post not many Time Bandits are coming forward?

  6. A Rose by any other name…..

    I’ve tried talking about my courses "personal effectiveness" – but people look confused.  When I explain, they eventually get it and say, "Oh, you mean time management!"  So I’ve given in and refer to them as Time Management courses – but with the strapline "Time Managment You’ve Got Time For"!  (At least it raises a smile….).  

    For the record, I get huge amounts of positive feedback – people say they benefit immensely, in fact I get better feedback for this than almost any other course I run.  When I do follow up people usually report having made quite small sounding changes, but it seems to make a big difference to their working lives. They generally report feeling much more in control of their work, which enables them to make better decisions about how to spend their time and consequently be much more effective.

    Personally, I can testify that learning about time management (as it exists in the 21st Century) and putting it into practice has made a huge difference to me.  When I put it all into practice I’m hugely more productive and satisfied – and when I let it slip it just feels like I’m faffing around.

    One thing though – time management isn’t about managing time.  Its about managing what you do with it.  Perhaps its better to think of it as managing our attention – choosing what to focus on and how to maintain that focus for as long as needed.  So a course on mindfulness is another good option.  

    (At the risk of self-promotion, I’m writing a micro-book called "Escaping the Time Trap" – let me know if you’d like to see an early draft. It outlines all the elements I think need to be in place for excellent use of time, helping people pin-point where to make changes for maximum effect)



     p.s. just realised I didn’t answer your question Steve – what am I now doing differently?

    * clearing my inbox every day

    * batching up emails and other messages and doing them all together, which is much quicker

    * always staying on top of my email – after a 2 week break I can be in control within 5 minutes

    * maintaining overview of all commitments and deadlines so I never miss any

    * setting myself reminders to chase up things I ask others to do – so things don’t slip in that way either

    * allowing time to get to events so I’m not rushing, late or stressed

    * dedicating daily time for all the things I have to do every day – so I’m not overcommitted and I am leaving on time

    * reviewing progress on a daily, weekly and monthly basis – so I’m feeling good about the progress I’m making and clear about priorities

    * regularly reviewing what I’m aiming for so I can prioritise accurately

    etc etc!

    (But remember I’m the trainer not the trainee – although I mention all those things in a 1 day course, people generally just take away what they feel is most valuable for them right now)

  7. It’s natural

    But that just seems like common sense to me and I have never been near a Time Management course?

    It’s a bit like people who are naturally "messy" or naturally "tidy"

    Naturally messy people have no idea they are messy and don’t see the problem of clutter so would therefore not see the point in trying to do something about it?

    Sorry, still not convinced. This is a Managers job not a Trainers.


  8. My useful tip ….

    I attended a TM course yonks ago and the trainer advised us not to keep piles of magazines and newspapers with an article that we planned to read at a later date.  Instead she advised us to tear out the pages to keep aside and discard the rest of the publication.  I’ve done just that and it’s a great way of having a ready pile of stuff to read on those rare moments when I have this luxury.  Works for me!  ūüôā

  9. Here’s one I used this week

    Really interesting thread!  I too have had lots of positive feedback from TM courses I run.

    I actually used one of the tips myself this week! I was writing a long report, so had to do it in fits and starts.  In my TM courses I do a session on managing paperwork and suggest that, when writing reports that you have to leave unfinished, write the next heading or start of para, so when you pick it up again you know exactly where you were and don’t have to reread what you did last time to remind yourself what comes next.  It really worked for me this week!


  10. “Common Sense”?

    There are two realities about "common sense"

    1. just because I know it is common sense it doesn’t necessarily mean that every one else is consciously aware of it, all of the time; ie is isn’t actually ‘common’.

    2.  There is usually a massive gulf between that which I know and that which I do; people know that it is a bad idea to put things off, but they still put things off because they have more motivations than pure logic. If this wasn’t the case no one who worked as a medical professional would be overweight or would smoke……but take a walk around your local hospital and you will see that there are probably as many obese and nicotine stained doctors and nurses as any other profession.


  11. Fat Doctors

    Good point Russ…but

    If you asked a fat nicotine stained Doctor to go on a health awareness course they would most likely still smoke and eat pies afterwards.

    If their weight or smellyness was affecting their work then line managers would have the power to put measures in place to improve their performance.

    I love going on courses but the thought of someone telling me to empty my inbox every day and the various other suggestions made in the thread is a little bit patronising? It really is common sense and if I wasnt doing it then I should be taken aside and spoken to!

  12. which, of course, brings us to the point……..

    ….that it could be argued that all Training Courses are a complete waste of time, because we could all just read a book, or ask someone who knows or is good at something…….

    Often, the point of a "soft skills" course is to give a person the confidence or the self belief that they can do something, rather than just telling them what to do.  In other words, to affect a change in behaviour rather than simply to impart information.  Certainly my experience is that for many people in many topics they may know the theory, but lack the self belief, or the belief that their boss/employer would "allow" a certain type of behaviour. 

    Well run (designed and delivered) time management courses can be of great benefit to people, but, as with any learning, the mind is like a parachute….it only works well when properly open. 



  13. Hmmm

    From another perspective…

    If my boss sent me on a Time Management course I would be horrified! If would be more embarassing then the nitty nurse finding one and announcing it to the whole school?

    Imagine sitting in a room full of people with cluttered desks and unanswered e mails?


  14. what does a cluttered desk have to do with time management?

    Ah, so you see training as remedial and therefore attending a training course is something to be ashamed of?

    Remember that you don’t have to be bad to want to get better!


  15. Parallel Lines

    This could be one of those parallel lines debates that will go on for as long as I have slides to update (nice distraction from PPT tsunami) so probably best to agree to disagree. 

    New question just appeared…surely more interesting than this one…let’s take a look.

  16. before we go….

    … I just wanted to say, Steve, that if you are already doing all of those things then you probably wouldn’t benefit from a one day time management course.  Very few people are as well organised as you are, e.g. VERY few people actually clear their email inbox every day, and its common to have thousands of emails in there. Some people even see it as a badge of honour!

    So if you do still want to make even better use of your time, you probably either want to read a great book or invest in some 1-1 coaching.  A coach would help you clarify the particular benefits you’re looking for, and find you quick and doable ways to get those benefits, either by drawing on your own resources or finding ways forward for you from the time management literature.

    But maybe you just want to move on to the next thread?

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Steve Robson

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