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Time Management is, as we all know, a paradox, you cannot manage time. You can only manage the choices you make, the priorities you choose, and ultimately how you spend your time. We all have the same amount of time.

If you could ask ‘3 Killer Questions to Test Your Time Management System’, to understand how effective it is, what would they be? Just before you do. Be aware of the health warning that comes by testing your time management system with these questions. If you cannot answer each of the questions with a solid answer, you have a major hole in your system that needs addressing because you’ll be spending time and enduring stress that would not exist with a more effective time management system. Do you really want to know if you have major holes in your time management system?

Time Management Cartoon - 'Got a minute please, sir?' 'Yes at 10.47 next Tuesday..'

Image courtesy of our cartoonist friend Mike Flanagan

1. A colleague emails and wants you to do something ‘3 weeks on Thursday’ – Where do you put that action in your time management system?

Wherever you place it, you must be able to 100% trust that this place in your time management system will remind you at the appropriate time to action the task. ‘My head’ is not the answer because, ‘The most successful people are the ones with the emptiest heads’. If you cannot answer with absolute confidence, then this is a major hole in your time management system.

2. Your boss and you sit down for a performance discussion – How closely does your list of items compare to his?

At the centre of an effective time management system needs to be the reason that you are at work. This reason or reasons needs to be SMART, because if it is not, your conversation will be subjective, rather than objective. A subjective discussion is then normally based on hours worked, rather than performance delivered. If you do not believe that your lists are absolutely a mirror image then you cannot answer with absolute confidence, this is a major hole in your time management system (Note: A knowledge of KPI’s and KRA’s would be useful for this discussion too).

3. A customer calls and would like you to start a project that involves working together on a complex challenge – How do you place that project in your time management system?

Wherever you place it, you must 100% trust that this place in your time management system will remind you at the appropriate time to continually action and be able to review the project. If you are not confident that this important project will not get lost in your system and therefore needs to be in your in-tray as a continuous prompt or always on your desk, this a major hole in your time management system.

Most people have chosen to spend some of their time reading articles, books and papers on Time Management and yet their time management is still poor. Why? Because those people are gathering knowledge and remember that, ‘Knowledge without application is just entertainment’. Applying knowledge effectively requires an understanding of habits, your current time management system and support. Our Time Management training course for suppliers will help. Contact us to find out more.

For further information, you can find our Ultimate Guide to Time Management Skills here.

MBM Tin Can with Time Management Label

How did your fair with the 3 killer questions? Please share your view by commenting below.

Darren A. Smith

About Darren A. Smith

Darren has been working in the world of UK Supermarkets and Suppliers for over 20 years. He began his career as a buyer at one of the big 4 UK supermarkets and after rising through the ranks he decided to leave after 13 years and set-up Making Business Matter. This was because he wanted to help suppliers and supermarkets to work better together through improved soft skills.For the last 14 years he has run MBM, which is a training provider to the UK grocery industry. Helping suppliers to the big four supermarkets to develop the soft skills that will secure them more profitable wins.

One Comment

  • Harry Smith says:

    As highlighted in the answer to the first question, I am more of an ‘in my head’ person, but this article has made me want to start to have the ’emptiest head’. Really easy to read article, pleasingly delivered.

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