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Time Management Training

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We have received a number of requests for development in this area. In general I am sceptical about this type of training - believing it to be more of an "on the job" coaching issue. Does anyone have any other thoughts or recommendations? Thanks,
W James

11 Responses

  1. Analysis, development and coaching needed
    Hi,
    In order to maximise the potential of any individual to successfully self manage (which is in essense what Time Management is all about) you need to start out with an analysis of the issue itself.

    Is it caused by over work, lack of skills in the role, too many interuptions, too much e-mail, etc, etc.?

    Is it an organisational issue or a personal issue?

    This data will help you to decide what intervention is best placed to really solve the perceived need for Time Management Training.

    If you’d like to talk through analysing the issues and the types of development and coaching best suited to solving them, please give me a call, I’m happy to help with giving you some tools to start the process.

    All the very best,

    Megan

  2. Time management doesn’t take much time
    As author of ’21 ways to make more time’, available on this site (go to the library and seach with ‘time’) I’m bound to have a view. I agree that there are many different time management problems so no one set of solutions. I’ve recently been running some 1 hour lunchtime workshops looking at the problems and coming up with solutions. They are going down well, which shows training need not be a whole day out.

  3. This might interest you
    The following appeared on TrainingZONE, 1st October 1999.

    Is time management training a waste of time?

    Time management courses are everywhere. But how many of them really achieve the objectives – greater productivity, better control of work and reduced stress? New research reported in The Observer on 26 September suggests that much TM training fails because it does not address one crucial factor: “time awareness”.

    Naturally good time managers seem to have this ability. They assess more accurately how long a task will take, and they sense time as passing more quickly than it actually does, so they work faster to ensure that they complete the work as planned.

    Poor time managers, by contrast, often seriously underestimate the time needed – the ‘planning fallacy’.

    Without good time awareness, standard TM techniques of listing, scheduling, planning and delegation are inadequate. For some people, making a list creates more stress because it emphasises the idea that they have a lot to do.

    The changing nature of work in downsized and delayered organisations – often seen as a reason for sending people on TM courses – actually makes it harder to put basic TM principles into practice. There may be few or no people to delegate to. So reallocating a task can involve lengthy negotiation with a member of the same team rather than a quick instruction.

    A recent study into work patterns suggests that with jobs less well defined than they used to be, people have to work more flexibly and respond instantly to changing demands.

    Even having to leave the office for a day’s training can in itself be perceived as a waste of time: better to stay there and be seen getting on with the work. And assertiveness – being able to say “no” to the boss – may be impossible when people fear for their jobs.

    It seems that to be successful, TM training needs to be tailored to individuals, to develop the skills of accurate prediction and strategies for keeping the work on track despite the obstacles.

  4. It’s not a complete waste
    Hi,

    having been on a few TMI and other Time Management courses, I would say that the learning has been patchy. I have some friends who lived by the book, and it seemed to work for them.
    My own learnings were around better understanding of urgent versus important. Also the whole issue of not realising how long things take to do and then getting into a tail spin when running up against the wall. I learnt to deal with these things from experience, and getting better at consulting people who had done what I was embarking on.
    I think it has taken me many years to get control of time, but I think when I was in corporate life it was a balance of 80 hour weeks followed by a few weeks of short working to get the balance right.

    If we somehow could get better at teaching people to say NO then we get more control of our time, and teach people and teams to do their best, but not get hung up if things do go off the rails.

    I guess also time management is about the 80/20 rule, where it takes 20% of your time to achieve an 80% rating of work, and then lots more time to break over the 80% mark. However I appreciate that it some industries the 80/20 rule is not good enough. In which case maybe we shoudl spend more time on risk assessment to make sure that what we need we can acheive with the resources we have in our team.

    Bottom line, I think the companies that paid for my training did not get the full benefit of the money they spent.

  5. A question of how you perceive time
    Having recently trained 1st Line Supervisors in the Utility Industry on time management issues it would seem some people are prone to not being able to plan work as a result of constantly receiving tasks from a continue urgent source (client, boss or system). A change in attitude to how they have spent their time in the day – a reflective look on what has been achieved instead of a constant negative of what has not been achieved can help. This change in your perception on how you spent your time has assisted some of these supervisors to see they are actually managing their time well and achieving objectives set. This can then allow for identification of when in the day you are most likely to have “free time” before the tasks start rolling in for your own tasks in the working day.

  6. Knowledge is only Wisdom when applied
    It is true that Time Management training is most theory, but if you don’t teach the theories and principles then application becomes extremely difficult. I do Time Management training and find that it really is primarily a matter of getting people motivated to take control of their time, rather than their time controlling them.

    It really only truly becomes a waste of time if the principles are not applied once the delegate is back at their normal working environment.

  7. Time management training
    Having been a user of the TMS personality profiling system for many years, I have developed a strong sense that much time management training is for the benefit of others, not necessarily the individual being trained. Many people prefer to work in a flexible way, characterised by such things as working on many projects at the same time, having a work area that appears disorganised and responding to issues and items as they arise. Otherds work in a more structured way, planning out their days, using to do lists, working on one thing at a time and having a “tidy” work area. Neither is better than the other, they are just different. In my opinion (I have a shelf full of abandoned time managers, filofax’s and the like) time management training is primarily by structured people trying to get flexible people to work like them. It doesn’t work, it annoys them and doesn’t value or positively the differences. Of course there are some general principles of time management that we can all benefit from such as proper prioritisation of work, meeting deadlines etc. But why not use the preferences that different people have in positive ways. Work with the grain, not against it. Like the story about training pigs to sing – it doesn’t work and it annoys the pigs!

  8. Time management
    I would endorse many of the other comments that much of the time management theory out there has been written by persons with the predisposition to be planned and organised themselves and fails to take into account different styles and preferences according to the various personalities out there.

    I think you may get better results focussing on building effectiveness through personal awareness and development. For instance, a program that uses the MBTI offers the chance for people to see why their preferences might be to be organised or flexible (via the J – P scale), and to develop strategies accordingly. I would also consider the use of a values indicator or activity, as these will also determine how one makes decisions and spends time. Additionally, I also strongly believe in taking an approach that builds on strengths (most time management programs I am aware of forces one to focus on areas of weakness), so a tool such as that developed by the Gallup organisation called Strengthsfinder, can be a useful way of capitalising on strengths , rather than compensating for weaknesses.

    Hope this helps!

  9. A useful tool for analysing strenths in time & self mangement
    Hi -I’d firstly like to agree with some of the other comments that it’s about self management & not time management, and that we should accept that some people are more structured in their approach than others.
    A tool I use which allows for this flexibiblity of approach but encourages people to consider their personal and interpersonal behaviors is the ‘What’s my time style?’ questionnaire by Mary Blitzer Field, available from Management learning resources on http://www.mlruk.com
    I discuss the styles firstly, and ask people to state which time style they think their colleagues are & why. Once the actual styles are worked out this then opens up a discussion as to how people perceive others time styles & why.

  10. Managing workload
    Hi, have you thought of taking a “Workload or Task Management” approach instead of emphasising “time”? Then you can concentrate on distinct skills (managing paper, communication skills re: interruptions/meetings, etc.) I have found this is sometimes what people are really asking for. The results are also more measurable. If you want to stay focussed on time, and the organisation will support this, then a holistic approach works best. Designing a course around work/life balance, cultural considerations and personal values means you can start to unpick the personal meaning of ‘time’ as well as teach skills that ‘expand’ time(meditation or relaxation skills for instance.)

  11. Time management training was a very efficient use of my time.
    From my experience, I feel strongly that good time management training is anything but a waste of time. I am not one of nature’s most organised people – but everyone I work with is surprised to hear that. Years ago, I attended a well-structured and thought-provoking time management course, which allowed me to think about and discover what types of problems I had managing my time, the different types of issues underlying various time management problems, and a lot of good, practical ideas on how to manage time effectively. Since then, I have developed a systematic approach which involves active planning, which is recorded on paper (and computer) in a systematic way, rather than trying to carry the information in my head. This system ensures that tasks don’t get missed out, are prioritised, achievement of them is recorded (which makes reporting to my line manager quick and painless), and contributed hugely to the reduction of my stress levels. It has also led to my reputation, at work, as a very organised and reliable person. Time well spent, I think!-

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