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Day 7 | 30-Day Blogging Challenge

Squirrels At A Rave

Is a time-management course still relevant?

I’m on Day 7 of the 30-Day Blogging Challenge.  Today’s topic is all about creating curiosity in your blog title or headline.  This is a blog I wrote back in May which – I think – meets the criteria.  If you missed it then, here’s your chance to read it:

As we prepare for our ever-popular work-session of Is It That Time Already?  I was reminded of a funny quote I saw on Facebook a while back:

I do not have ducks. Or a row.  I have squirrels and they’re at a rave. – Unknown

I literally laughed out loud and then shared the post, tagging my husband, and saying “Look! It’s me!”

He LOL’d.  And then he agreed.

But today, I was questioning why there is still such a high demand for this particular course, given that we’ve been helping people to develop their time management skills for years.  Aren’t they getting it?

And then my colleague said, “I think people like the simplicity and practicality.  In a world of complications and distractions, people long for simple and straightforward.”

It’s true.  Even after all these years, our course is still based around a simple framework –  Stephen R. Covey’s Time Matrix® – one that dates back to the 1980’s, and yet this timeless model keeps people signing up again and again.

There are many arguments around the question of what stops people from managing their time more effectively, and an equal number of time-management courses developed to address the underlying causes of the problem.  We, however, take take a different approach and focus on a solution.

Day 7 | 30-Day Blogging Challenge

In today’s environment, the key to productivity is not to get more things done, but to get the right things done – the important things – with the highest quality you can achieve. – The 5Choices

So, back to those squirrels…

Do you ever find yourself in the midst of something only to slow down and realise that you’re not actually doing the thing you started?

I will start writing an email and decide to look for a business card, only to find myself cleaning the whiteboard, putting a file away, answering the phone, dusting the handset as I put the stationary box back in it’s place, pick up a client file from my PA’s desk, wander into the kitchen, put water in the coffee machine, go back into the office and resume my email…only to realise several hours later that I didn’t actually make my coffee.

Sound familiar?  Well, there’s good reason.

When The 5 Choices: The Path to Extraordinary Productivity (also from the Covey library) was published, its’ authors presented a paradox, rather than a problem: that today, it is both easier and more difficult to achieve extraordinary productivity.  Why?  Because essentially we are faced with three issues: the nature of decisions we make, an attention deficit and our lack of energy.

So it’s actually more than just time management skills that we need to improve productivity, and perhaps the key to the longevity of our course lies in us enabling people to move away from what they have been doing, and towards what they should be doing.

Decision making: a 24/7 culture

We are being asked to do more in less time; the very nature of business has changed over the past decade and as a result we all face higher pressures in the workplace.

We’re always available and while we may not be in the office 24/7, we are tethered to our devices. I’m not saying that the days of 9-5 were better – in fact there’s a robust argument for working shorter, not longer hours – but this accessibility has created a mindset where working after hours – or at the weekend – is the new norm.

What we should be doing is leveraging time management skills to help  overcome this, creating a healthier work/life balance and improving productivity as we go.

Attention deficit: digital distractions

There is no question that the technology that helps us, also hinders us in todays workplace.

Whether it’s the use of social media, the availability of every app known to man, text messaging or even email, technology causes distractions that we just didn’t have ten years ago.

But make no mistake, it’s not going to get better.

These distractions are here to stay and so what we should be doing is leveraging them and using technology to enable people to manage their timely finding a new way of living, thinking and working.

Energy crisis: stress and resilience

What if you were crystal clear on what the most important tasks were and when they needed to be done?  It doesn’t take a genius to work out that there would be a positive impact on productivity, but more than that, reduced pressure and improved resilience.

But how can time management help? Simply by being behind with your workload, the increased pressure builds and builds until you end up exhausted or burned out, and adding a dose of stress for good measure

What we should be doing is tapping into the resources around us, learning to manage workloads more efficiently, keeping stress levels low and reducing the feeling of being overwhelmed.

If you don’t want to burn out, stop living like you’re on fire. – Unknown

There is no quick fix here – it’s a process.  But I challenge anyone not to improve all three of these ‘problem areas’ by applying the Time Matrix framework when organizing your time, because at the end of the day, it isn’t actually about managing our time or improving our time management skills, rather it’s about being more productive.

And it’s not about getting it all done, it’s about getting the right things done – it’s the product of our decisions—where we focus our attention and our energy levels.

Your ducks may be much more in a row than my raving squirrels, but I think we could all learn to slow down, be choosy about what you focus on and stop to make that coffee…you see, I did remember…


So how do you 'do' time-management better?

The irony is that it takes practice.   And it takes time to get a good ‘system’ working for you.  But the good news is that there are some simple things that you can do which will give you almost instant results. What worked for me when I worked in a corporate setting is very different now I run my own business, but the principles I apply are the same. It’s not that my time-management challenges have radically changed, but what I do with my time has a different focus.

We have got a few places left on the September 14th Is It That Time Already? worksession.  It’s a highly practical session, giving you some simple steps you can implement the minute you leave.  Based around Stephen R. Covey’s Time Matrix® it may just be what you need to focus your attention and get clear on what’s truly important.

Book now get the Early Bird fee of £250.  There’s no time like the present!

First time here? Thanks for reading my blog – if you liked it, there are more posts here.  I’d love to hear your comments and please feel free to share it.

We help to create great teams, improve productivity and develop leadership skills.  Interested? Then click here to find out more.

Author: Jane Rennie


    I think you’re right that it’s not about “time management” but productivity in general. From my experience, particularly with small business owners, they struggle with so many different gadgets & software & apps that that’s the confusing bit. They want someone to tell them what’s “the best way”, without realising that it’s a very personal experience for each of us.

    Such an interesting topic of conversation! I’m not surprised your courses get full 😉

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment Tracey-Jane. Of all the workshops we run, this is one of my favourites because it’s guaranteed to get almost immediate ‘a-ha’s’. I think we often forget how hyper-connected we are and as you say, we need to step back and get human-connected again!

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