It’s probably apocryphal but the story goes that Andrew Carnegie told an efficiency expert (AKA time management consultant) that he would give the man , if he provided one good idea that worked. The consultant told Carnegie to make a to-do list and check off the completed items at the end of the day. Carnegie did that and it worked. At the end of a month he wrote the consultant the check for the agreed-upon amount. When TSOD.com conducts our Time Superstar workshop, to-do lists are a big deal but in a recent consult we found a person who was already doing that and a host of other time-management activities but it wasn’t helping. The study led us to ask: Can there be too much time management? This answer in this person’s case was – absolutely.
Too Much of a Good Thing
Our subject – who’s given permission to discuss his case – was and is very aware of the importance of managing time. During our initial questioning we learned he wrote things down, combined activities, set goals and attacked his daily routine in a way few could. But here’s the thing: He spent so much time on time management he was being inefficient. Every task – even the smallest of items – was committed to a scrap of paper and stuffed into his shirt pocket. At the end of the day the pocket bulged with tasks that could have been completed in less time than they took to write them down: pick up a newspaper, fill up the car, call Joe. Not only were the notes unnecessary they were written on different pieces of paper requiring our friend to transfer them to a single sheet before addressing them. The same was true of other tactics he employed. Goal setting involved even the smallest of achievements: Get ready for work, pack lunch, drive to work.
First Determine the Problem
It’s rare – well this was the first time – when we redirect a client away from time management skills but in this case it was necessary and it was helpful. Our client is making progress in relying on his short term memory to remove some of the clutter of his busy day. He reports good results but tells us it is difficult to break the habit of writing everything down. That’s normal. Each time we conduct a time management, stress management or team building session we begin by asking a few questions. In this client’s case we could have innocently taken him down the wrong path. We’re glad we took the time to ask some questions first including: can there be too much time management?
TSOD.com, Training Services On Demand provides businesses and governments
with skills necessary to be more efficient, eliminate stress and strengthen internal and external relationships.