Quick! Look over there!
Try saying these words, with some urgency, to a dog. Then point to the horizon. The odds are he’ll look at the end of your finger in the hopes that there’s food on it. Or he might jump around excitedly, knowing he is supposed to be doing something, but not sure as to what that might be. He would certainly not think to follow the direction of your pointing finger, and could not begin to understand that there might be a reward for looking in that direction. For him, his sole interest in the pointing finger is the possibility that you might give him food. Once he sees that there is none, the finger holds no more attraction.
The solutions offered by traditional time management courses and books are very much like that: there’s a message there, and some real solutions, but they point to distant concepts and ignore immediate motivations. They place too much emphasis on agendas, prioritization, activity logs and filing systems, and although these things do have a place in the overall plan, they are just tools, to be employed later, after we have dealt with the primary time management problem: people.
No agenda system will work if the people who assign you the tasks aren’t part of the solution.
No agenda system, day planner or mantra of any kind is going to work if the people who assign you the tasks and add to the pressure aren’t central to the solution. It’s like trying to organize a collection of feathers on a windy day. There’s no point in organizing and prioritizing things if we can’t do something about outside influences. And that means managing, influencing, and dealing with people.
This is an excerpt from my book, Cool Time: A Hands-On Plan for Managing Work and Balancing Time. If you would like a copy, hop on over to my Books page. If you would like me to come and speak to your group, contact details are available on my Speaker page. Either way, you will win back time and money. It’s just practical common sense.