Friday, 26 February 2016

Time Management. Who needs it?

Some people who read my last post said how ‘busy’ I am, but really I can be an absolute sloth when I put my mind to it! I am retired, don’t put in a full week’s work with a two hour commute; am not a working mother of small children, and I don’t have a publisher looking over my shoulder with impossible deadlines! There are plenty of people much, much, much busier than I am.

However, I do manage to get a few things done and it made me think about a training course I did when employed in the 1990s. I was affronted when my manager suggested I go on a Time Management Course. I think everyone nominated for this development training felt the same way, feeling that we packed as much as we could into a day. What on earth could such a course tell us that was new?

The funny thing was that I found it rather a drawn-out course, spread (I think) over two days when it could have been delivered in a morning!

However, it handed out tips that instilled habits for the rest of my life. Lists of tasks figured rather prominently. So did goals, short-term and long-term. Things that needed to be done in working towards a goal were divided into ‘urgent’ and ‘important’, some of course falling under both headings. An estimate of time that a task might take was factored in. Many files and folders were recommended, available to purchase.

Ever since, I’ve kept a scribbled ‘to do list’, never a Filofax system or anything electronic. If I have five minutes to spare, I don’t despair that there’s no time to write up a blog post, or install my new printer, but I can email a friend about arrangements to meet that evening. That’s a very simple example, but you get the gist. Maybe you do this too, even if sub-consciously with mental lists, maybe the rest of the world thinks like this, but I do wonder. People who spend half an hour on the phone complaining about how run off their feet they are, don’t do this. (Nobody I know of course!)

In Shades of Appley Green time management is a real bone of contention between our heroine, Steph, feisty single mother of two, and her boss, Greg, who in her eyes is overly cautious, and she hates him with a passion for taking her to task. Early on their opinion is divided over the idea of senior people using the Internet. He sees dangers, she sees opportunities. He likes rational use of method, she loves people. As the plot develops he becomes increasingly critical over her use of time, in her eyes quite unreasonably!

‘What do you see as the problem areas in your job Steph?”
She thought for a moment. “I think the greatest problem is always time. Or lack of it.”
He nodded, looking down, his face serious. Then he gazed up at her in that very direct way of his.
“This is clear even to me. Do you feel you lack focus sometimes?”
She felt herself bristle. She worked hard, she did everything she could for her clients in the time available.
“Possibly. It’s easy to go down the wrong tracks sometimes,” she admitted.
“If time is the key problem area, there is no place for getting derailed down sidings and dead-ends. Is there? Would you agree?”
“Yes, but it’s not always simple to stick to the mainline fast-track.” Perhaps, she thought, anger rising, you would like to spend a few days doing my job. Role reversal! How great that would be!

I guess the reader suspects that her loathing of him is a clue that actually this is a man whom she will grow to love! But how on earth?

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1 comment:

  1. I am sorry the text is falling off the page in the Shades quote. Out of my control. Have contacted Google (blogger). It's just one letter short at the end of the lines, a little brain teaser and not too challenging!