Time to brush up


  • We recently ran a workshop at the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce on motivating staff and teams
  • I was in the mood to give away secrets and said that ‘communication’ is the key to motivating staff
    • If you’re looking for that one thing (aren’t we all?!) that will make you stand out as an effective motivator, it all boils down to superior communication
  • The workshop was full of practical and easy-to-use tools for managers to help them boost motivation in their people
  • I’ll let you in on another secret: Even though all the practical and easy-to-use tools are in fact ‘practical’ and ‘easy-to-use’, the reason why there are so many unmotivated people within organizations today is not because motivation is hard or complicated, but because most managers don’t spend the time to build a good rapport with their people
  • So although time management may not appear to directly relate to motivating staff, it actually does (A manager that is less stressed and has the time to sit down and build relationships will inherently end up with nicely motivated and engaged staff
    • So that is how a section on time management found its way into our workshop
  • What was interesting is that in the participant feedback, there was a huge demand for more time management tools and ideas


For the love of time management

  • I love the topic of time management
  • Some of the reasons I love it:
    • Its fascinating how many people obliviously waste significant amounts of their time, especially while working
    • We are all stuck with the exact same 24 hours in a day and 60 minutes in an hour (and regardless of how much money or clout you have, you cannot buy any more)
    • Solutions to better time management are indeed easy-to-use and implement and don’t require much more than a bit of discipline and repetition
    • The lack of time (or perception of it) impacts virtually every person; Few people can say they have lots of time and are at peace


Creeps in everywhere

  • Here’s a recent quirky example of how our perception of time gets skewed
  • We recently became the proud owners of a Philips Sonicare toothbrush
  • Now the sonic cleaning action of the brush is great, however what I really love is the ‘Smartimer’ which counts down 2 minutes and alerts you every 30 seconds
    • Its not so much the timer itself that I really like, but the fact that the timer points out a significant misperception of time on my part
  • Let me elaborate:
    • I’ve been brushing my teeth unassisted for over 30 years and am pretty happy with my brushing skills and style (and a for-the-most-part filling-free mouth)
    • Now the timer has illuminated a serious flaw in my technique
    • Its now clear that I tended to flit about my mouth with the brush, spending far more time in some areas and perilously little time in other critical areas
  • So this secondary feature of the sonic toothbrush (the primary feature being its sonic cleaning speed of an incredible 31,000 brush strokes per minute; That’s over 500 strokes per second!) has demonstrated that even something that I would consider myself fairly experienced in (teeth brushing), I had been somewhat subpar in my abilities
  • So, much improvement and innovation comes from awareness
  • The average Joe (plumber or otherwise) goes through life unaware of many areas in their life that could be enhanced and improved upon, many with minimal effort
  • There is great opportunity in the assessment of how one manages one’s time


Simply better

  • At a number of time management workshops that I’ve facilitated, I’ve talked about ultra simple assessment tools, one being a ‘time log’ (A document where you simply record the tasks, actions, duties that you did over the course of a day)
  • Its often quite amazing the reactions people have to how they spend their own time when reviewing what they’ve actually done (or not done) for a period of a few days
  • I’ve had people scowl at tools like this as being too simple, kindergarten in nature, and below them
  • But regularly, one of the biggest obstacles to better time management is not accurately knowing where your time is spent
    • Have you ever shut down your computer and walked out of the office after a particularly busy day and then wondered to yourself what you actually accomplished?
  • It’s usually the people that take the time to assess where their time goes that end up being more successful, because they’re the only ones armed with the knowledge of where change can be made (Ignorance is only bliss sometimes)


Practically speaking

  • The two step:
    • Time yourself doing day-to-day tasks to see where you spend/waste your time
    • Armed with the knowledge of where your time goes, adjust your behaviors to waste less time, be more productive, and do more of what you actually want to do
  • If you want to stop feeling like you’re under the gun with no time to breath, get in touch with me
  • I regularly work with individuals (in person or video conference) and groups (workshops and Lunch & Learns) on the effective implementation of many very practical and easy-to-use time management tools that will free you (and your organization) up to be more productive, focused, and definitely less frazzled

One thought on “Time to brush up

  1. I enjoy these David, almost every issue gives me something really useful to consider and apply for a better lifestyle.