Volume 59, February 2006: Time Management

Keyzine: An E-zine for Leaders about the People Side of Business

This is a monthly electronic magazine for anyone who wants to be a better leader, coach, facilitator, or simply, to tune up their people skills. It is a complimentary publication, devoted to the next evolution of Quality Thinking.

Publisher: © Key Associates, LLC, 2006 ISSN # 1545-8873

“Half our life is spent trying to do something with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.” — Will Rogers

“I have a new philosophy. I’m only going to dread one day at a time.” — Charlie Brown in “Peanuts” (Charles M. Schulz)

“There is never enough time, unless you’re serving it.” — Malcolm Forbes

“Doest thou value life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.” — Benjamin Franklin


  • What’s Hot in Leadership
  • Maintaining Yourself as a Leader
  • Frequently Asked Questions from Leaders
  • Educational Opportunities
  • Useful Websites & Newsletters
  • Articles/Publications

What’s Hot in Leadership

  • Respecting time – your own and others’.
  • Eliminating non-value-adding work.
  • Managing complexity.
  • Streamlining processes to produce efficient results.

Maintaining Yourself as a Leader

Time is the only commodity that you cannot manufacture more of. Leaders must juggle many priorities, complete large volumes of work efficiently, and produce “value” – quality at a good price. To attain this, control of time is a necessity. If you feel a need for improvement in this area, first study the topography of your calendar. How do you spend your time? Monitor this for one week, then plan and organize accordingly. Pare away the non-value-adding (NVA) activity – paper, meetings, time-wasters, and administrivia. And stop creating NVA’s for others (delegation is not always the best route).

Frequently Asked Questions

“I am plagued by interruptions. I want to keep an “open door” policy, but I can’t get other work done. Suggestions?”
Do what the academics do – post office hours during which you will take questions, guide, be informed, and socialize. If someone bucks that and comes at another time, stand up, greet them at your door, briefly hear their concern, and tell them when you can talk.
“There is always too much to do. How do I sort through and organize this chaos?”
Through the lens of importance. Sort by:
  • A – Value-adding or of High Importance
  • B – Necessary or of Medium Importance
  • C – Waste or of Low Value

Do not confuse Urgency with Importance. High importance accomplishes a goal or brings you satisfaction. Success is having the hours to do what you want. This could be playing with your child or having private time. Shed the C’s. Three times a day, ask yourself if you are accomplishing your “A” priorities. Focus on the truly important, say “no” to the unimportant.

“What to do with too much correspondence: e-mail, voicemail,memos, reports, junk mail?”
Your goal is to handle each item once and only once. Lakein’s (1989) system of TRAF is useful:
  • T – Trash it
  • R – Refer it
  • A – Act on it
  • F – File it

Stephanie Winston (2001) added a 1/2 to the four items:

R – Read it

Have a wastebasket, referral folder,action box, to be filed box and a reading stack by your desk. Use similar concepts on your computer desktop. Learn to “Power Read” (skim the important parts).

“Is it possible that I have adult ADD, because I am perpetually disorganized?”
This is true for many people. To get things done, you have to have regular, focused attention. Mark Forster has a work trick, that supersedes the “get disciplined, work harder, prioritize lists approach.” It is about “working in short bursts” and “working in rotation.” Studies have shown that people are more efficient at the end of a work period, and to some extent, at the beginning. Three sessions of 20 minutes are more effective then a single 60-minute session. This method overcomes resistance and procrastination, by paring down the tasks into smaller steps. And it also increases interest by changing the topic every 5-20 minutes.


Business coaching and time management training: Time Management and Goal Setting.

Download time management section of Mind Tools: Time Management.

One hour audio CD free: Daily Lessons In Excellence Training Program, and Set Goals Personal Workshop.

Keyzines on related topics: Meetings, Whither Quality, and Picture of a Process.

Useful Websites & Newsletters

Staunching The Paper Flow.

TRAF your e-mail: Managing With E-Mail.

Free trial on Paper Tiger software: The Simplest Digital Filing System in the World



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