Hello, I hope you’re doing well.
I wrote about time management not too long ago (CL #9), and received varied responses. They fell into three categories:
- Yes, you’re absolutely right, I do everything you say;
- Yes, you’re absolutely right, but I have fallen off the wagon and I’m determined to get back on—I’m going to take a close look at my calendar right now;
- Yes, you’re absolutely right, except for the part about…
The responses in the third category sent me back to do a little research. And where do you go for advice for time management and productivity other than the Harvard Business Review? And yes, indeed, there is lots of good advice that I would add to what I wrote about time management—add, not change. Here are my favorites:
- Better Time Management is not the Answer This article makes the point that there will always be unpredictable demands on your time, so you should adjust to that and figure out how to respond to the demands AND further your goals at the same time. NB, this is a coaching question that I use all the time in response to the question “what should I do?”—Well, what’s your goal? Your actions in any situation should be a combination of what the situation demands and what you are trying to achieve in terms of the mission of the organization. And when I frustrate you by asking about your goal rather than telling you what to do, now you know why. Oh, and this does not excuse you from following all the solid time management practices described earlier. There is definitely more to say about this, but in the meantime, here is a quotation from the article:
Great bosses have discovered the right approach. They don’t focus merely on managing their time better. They don’t think about their work as comprising two different parts — handling unexpected, daily problems versus doing what they should do as bosses. They don’t try to do their daily work and also the work of management. Instead, they use the chaos — unplanned events, crises, obligations — to do managerial work.
- Stop Letting Email Control Your Work Day I like this article not because of what it says about email—although it says lots of useful things, including pointing out that you have more control than you think you do about the amount of email you receive—but because it applies the idea of priorities and sorting out what is important from what is urgent. And it talks about Covey’s four quadrants—more on that another time too.
Everything I’ve included here—the advice in the articles, the reference to Covey, the coaching question—reinforce the point that ultimately you must spend your time strategically, which means in alignment with the mission and in service of what you are trying to achieve.
(By the way, HBR is a great resource. I used to have a subscription but don’t anymore because I can get everything I need within the allocation of articles available by registering on the site—6 articles per month, I believe—which is free: https://hbr.org/ Plus, once you have an account you can save your articles within the site, and you can even create folders inside the save folder—I now have a folder called Time Management.)
Let me know if you need anything else.
Isobel Stevenson PhD PCC
Connecticut Center for School Change
151 New Park Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106