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Eight deadly time management sins and their cures

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Does your company value and measure your time?  How much time do you spend waiting for meetings to start, sitting through irrelevant meetings that could have been avoided had there been a detailed agenda, or weeding through “reply-all” email messages that don’t necessarily involve you?  In order to achieve effective time management, there must be first and foremost a cultural commitment, not an individual one.

As Decision Toolbox CEO Kim Shepherd says, “If you really think about it, time is all we have.  No one at Decision Toolbox, not the CEO or any other member of the team, is allowed to disrespect even one second of someone else’s time.”

Even though Decision Toolbox (DT) is a virtual company, we have a strong culture of respect for time.  A well known repercussion is that if you call in late to a meeting, you have to sing a song of the team’s choosing.  In front of the whole group.  As a result, DT team members are very rarely late to a meeting.  That kind of cultural precedence teaches us all that time is valuable, an awareness that spills over to the rest of our tasks, and drives us to be more productive with our time.

This article, Leadership Trends: Busy CEOs Spend Most of the Week Managing Communications and In Meetings—New Bain Study Examines Time Management’s “8 Deadly Sins”, shares results of a recent research project by Bain & Company, and quantifies the lost productivity running rampant in corporate America:

  • Executives will soon spend more than one day each week managing electronic communications.
  • Senior executives on average devote more than two days each week to meetings with three or more coworkers.
  • A meeting that starts just five minutes late costs a company eight percent of that meeting—a loss that would be untenable in any other resource category.
  • At a sample 10,000-employee business, $60 million—20 percent of the total cost of meetings—was squandered in unproductive activity.

According to Michael Mankins, leader of Bain’s Organization Practice in the Americas, who led the survey and report,  “Innovative companies are fostering cultures where time is treated as a scarce resource and invested as prudently as capital.”

The article goes on to explain the eight deadly time management sins and their cures.  Do any of these sound familiar?

  1.  Muddled company-wide agendas
  2. “Time is free” approach to scheduling
  3. “Let’s start a project” mindset
  4.  Thickening middle
  5.  ACS—“Anyone Can Schedule”
  6.  Decision-making or decision-murky?
  7.  Meeting Time is Free Time
  8. “Where’d the time go?”

While there are some individual measures you can take to combat the eight deadly time management sins, the biggest change must be a cultural one, and the respect for time must be demonstrated by executives at the top.

For more tips on time management and building great culture, download Kim Shepherd’s free white paper – Ignore Culture at Your Peril, or her free ebook – The Bite Me School of Management

To learn more about Decision Toolbox, please contact us – we’d love to hear from you!

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