Waleed kept complaining to me that there weren’t enough hours in the day. The fourth time he said it, I stopped him. “That’s a giveaway signal that you’ve never studied time management.”
We agreed that I would shadow him unobtrusively through a typical day as Works Manager of a chemicals factory. This morning, he’s having to work his way through some badly-translated instructions for installing the new smoke-alarms – a long, tedious process. After half an hour, he needs a break, so he decides to ‘do the rounds.’
An engineer needs a problem sorted, which unexpectedly takes half-an-hour. So it’s at least an hour before Waleed is back at his desk. Ten minutes later, the boss rings to fix a meeting for sometime that day. “How about now?” says Waleed. So that’s another half-hour before he’s able to concentrate on his smoke-alarms.
I explain that he’s spent too much of the morning in Response Time (reacting to interruptions) and not enough in Control Time (dictating the duration of jobs).
He should have planned for three sessions of half-an-hour each to attend to the main task. When the engineer reported his problem, Waleed should have said “Can I see you in half-an-hour?”, and the same when the boss wanted to meet.
By that time, he would have had a total of ninety minutes’ of proper concentration on his task, instead of just forty.
As you can see, Control Time is something you have to plan for. Because your time will automatically try to control you, unless you actively prevent it.
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