Monday, April 09, 2007

New frontiers in time management

Over the years I have gradually narrowed down the philosophies that provide genuine guidance regarding the allocation of profession time. I have them down to 3:
  • Managing Management Time by Bill Oncken
  • The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch
  • The 7 Habits of highly effective People by Steven Covey.

Each have their merits and their weaknesses.

Oncken is big on the philosophies and practices that make you think about the allocation of your tasks. Koch causes you to think in terms of the relative value of your tasks. And Covey is not so bad at helping you to see the big picture ie where you are going.

But recently I have found a new way to develop some practical tools for improving the delegation of tasks and forcing upon subordinates the level of thinking required of them.

During a stay in hospital for a hip operation I pondered how I could revolutionise the way I allocate my time. I needed a new paradigm. It was served up to me in the form of a novel about a president of the US who, during his term, was made blind by an assassination attempt. In every other respect he was OK. The book was about the conflict between those who saw him as incapacitated and unable to perform his duties and his own internal belief that his duty to the American people was to serve them.

Obviously he had to rearrange the ways he performed his duties.

Firstly he had to rely on others to advise when a document was right before he signed it.

Secondly he could not rely on the visual cues of other people's faces.

Thirdly he found no need of a computer.

And fourthly he did not need to any writing.

So let me annunciate the new tool that will allow you to review your own time management practises.


You will find that you are reliant on others to an elevated extent. Usually you will find that you are able to utilise the capacity of others in any event.Go for it!

You will also find that you would need to rely more on verbal briefings rather than written advice. This will normally also save youheaps of time.

Most clerical tasks ---if you have been blinded---will need to be handed on to others. Do it anyway!

Dont let others leave things in your room for you. If you are blind you will not be able to see them anyway.

Most likely you will be left with the tasks that only you and your brain can perform.

This is largely where Oncken believes you should be anyway.And most likely you will only be able to perform high value tasks---this is where Koch gets you to. And Covey says that you need to be clear about your mission and limit yourself to tasks that help achieve it.By default you would be forced to narrow down your activities if you were blinded.

Try this question on your own time management habits abd see whether you get some breakthroughs.


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