Why are some people better than others at managing time?

Time management purpose manage my time can you learn how to manage time better cut meetings culture how to manage my time better collaboration performance time and culture save time how to manage time better stealing time graham wilson some people better than others at managing time there aren't enough hours in the day

Why are some people better than others at managing time is a good question to ask.

It’s remarkable how many of my clients didn’t know how to manage time better. The usual cry is “there aren’t enough hours in the day” which is funny, as we all have 24 and some people go home at a reasonable time having achieved a lot. So why aren’t you doing that?

 We all agree managing time is important. Yet it seems most of us don’t actually manage time, we have time managed for us by; the organisation, wasted meetings, people who steal our time, not understanding our priorities, lack of collaboration and much more. Often a nodding head statement, when in fact we should be the ones controlling this, no excuses.

All of which adds to stress, underperformance, frustration, negative energy, poor relationships and in many cases looking for the next job. It doesn’t need to be like this.

Why are some people better than others at managing time? Much of this is down to your personality and behavioural styles. In fact, some of you reading this just can’t help being bad at time management and others wonder what all the fuss is about. I find the first step in controlling your time is in understanding your own behavioural strengths and weaknesses. Are you the kind of person that others use or are you not to be pushed? Do you get easily distracted or is it easy to focus, do you take on too many tasks and do you get bored easily? All of these will affect the way you manage time effectively. Once you recognise your own behaviours you can start to put in a series of rules to work by. There are many common rules, however I believe most of us need to tailor these to our styles and our environments, one size doesn’t fit all.

Don’t be a hero! On numerous occasions, I meet with managers who take great pride in telling me about the 16 hour days they work. I ask if they plan to leave the job or wait until they are fired. They think they are hero’s, leaders, achievers, yet often these are the people who don’t collaborate, lead, support, achieve, build and sometimes have a mistaken belief that being the last out of the office makes them look good. These are the people who in my experience have much to learn about their behaviours and how to use their undoubted skills more positively for everyone’s sake.

If behaviour is the start point what's next? When it comes to work the problem is often based around the fact we really don’t know why we are there and what we should be doing! Yes we have a job description we probably read years ago, which is probably out of touch with today’s business.

I will always revert to Purpose. If you are a CEO or an administrator do you understand the purpose of the organisation and your part in it? I frequently meet CEO’s and Directors, who really don’t understand what they should be focussed on?  I would suggest for them it’s as simple as creating value for the business, in which case was everything you did today prioritised to achieve that? Or did you get involved in doing the job of staff you actually pay to do the job and were you playing in the content of the business, meddling? Don’t you trust them [if so why are they there?] don’t they have the capability? We all need clarity on where we add value, which should be recognised, supported and celebrated. Of course, occasionally it does hit the fan and you need to reprioritise and respond.

We are now shifting thinking from personal control and management of time to a culture that enables time to be used for everyone’s benefit. All too often when organisations are under pressure and stress is high the cry is “we need more people” when in fact often that’s the last thing you need. You need the existing people doing the right things, when did you last review as a business, a team or individual how your skills are best used, what collaborations have changed, where alignment is off? Where new skills need to be learned or acquired.

What can I do then?  The key thing is you need to change and honestly it isn’t easy. I get looks of horror from Directors when I ask them to cut 40% of the meetings from the next month’s diary, yet guess what, they usually get close. Meeting’s is a whole other issue. When asked how valuable it would be to have other 4/8/10 hours a week, everyone would love it, either for work or to get home to the family.  So this is a real issue for the Organisation. Yet before freeing up this time I would coach people to be absolutely sure about how they would spend that new-found time and how it would add value to the business and their lives. To waste it would be unforgivable and stupid.

Time management is the key for most really successful people.

I believe the subject is so important it’s now a follow-on workshop from my Behaviour programme

I love to help people make time a joy, get their life back in control and succeed

Time to go [or time to call me?]

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About the author

Graham Wilson

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My working life has always involved working closely with people and delivering results. For nearly 30 years I have run behaviour programmes and been involved with many other methods of working with and analysing personality, performance and behaviour. Having enjoyed significant business success I believe that if we first build the people the people will build the business. Which in no way reduces the focus on clear business strategy and purpose. As a result I've already helped 11 people become Millionaires. 

So what do I do?... I inspire transformation

 A brief history 

35 years in healthcare Services. Pharma, Med devices, Med Tech and the Care sector Key player in building the worlds biggest Pharma services business Innovex/Quintiles, driving consistent growth from 30- 60% per annum. From the UK to the USA and Europe

Chaired 6 businesses and been on 11 Boards from £300m to start up. Raised funds and driven successful exits. 

Qualified as a Coach with Shirlaws the leading Global Coaching business. Still running and developing behaviour programmes. A Qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist. 

I own and run a Care business and am also a Non Exec Director of 2 companies involved in leading edge marketing support, such as Word of Mouth marketing I Coach a wide range of clients in multiple sectors. Understand the numbers, believe its strategy and people that make it all work. Have a look at my profile for full details and links


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