COMMUNAUTÉS & EXPERTISES — Ressources humaines

Personal Development

“Mental clarity”



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Artur Sosna (Berlitz) (Photo : Olivier Minaire)

Being able to manage time and work agenda is a real challenge for many managers… Some methods can help, but they need focus and discipline.

Artur Sosna, there are so many different methods to become more efficient. Some of them are easy. Some others are quite complex. Does a method really help managers in their daily business?

“While just about everyone has many pressures on their time and energy, managers and leaders have the additional responsibility of thinking about the big picture of an organisation. If they are caught up in the details of daily business, it can be harder for managers to have the mental clarity required for this kind of big picture thinking. Using a predictable and effective method or system for organising meetings, tasks, correspondence and materials provides the structure and consistency that allow a manager the mental freedom to focus on the more important issues.

Self-management: sometimes it is hard to resist the pressure of short-term issues... Is it a matter of discipline and focus? Is there a way to improve efficiency in this particular matter?

“Some people have difficulty saying ‘no’ when they would be better off doing so. In this case, it might be a matter of discipline. However, it is sometimes impossible to avoid emergencies and unplanned urgent issues that have to be addressed immediately. But if you are pre­pared, then it doesn’t have to throw off your entire plan for the day. One common mistake is planning every minute of the day. This might work if nothing unexpected ever arises, but inevitably some­thing does. I advise my workshop participants and coaching clients to schedule in empty blocks of time every single day. These blocks of time are there for whatever short-term issues arise each day. These could be an unexpected phone call from an important customer, a technological glitch or a spontaneous brainstorming session with a colleague. What­ever those short-term issues are, if there is time in your calendar for it, then you can make the most of it, without neglecting some other important task.

Time management: among the different methods, what are the characteristics that can help someone choose? Is there a way to find what suits someone better?

“There are a number of factors that can be helpful when choosing a time management system. First, the system should match one’s needs. Whether it is a flood of emails every day, lots of meetings, or colleagues and/or customers who need assistance, the system should be able to manage all the inputs that need to be handled. Second, the system should match one’s technological preferences. Does the system need to synchronize with a particular email program or smartphone? Or is old-fashioned pen, paper and calendar a better fit? And third, a time management system has to match one’s personality and style. It may be that a mixture of elements from different systems can best suit someone’s needs.

Is there any “objective” figure about the “return on investment” of the different methods?

“Just as it is sometimes difficult to find objective measures of work productivity, the return on investment for different methods of time and/or self-management can also be difficult to quantify. One can look at how many emails get answered or how many tasks get done in a period of time, or more traditional measures such as increases in sales or revenue. But often it is just the feeling that one is ‘in the flow’ more often, or is more relaxed, knowing that everything that needs to get done will get done.”