Your monthly dose of insightful Project Management articles

Your monthly dose of Project Management articles.

How Managers can improve their time management by NOT doing the following

Managers should NOT do these 6 things, if they want to improve their time management.  

1.     Scheduling back to back meetings in your calendar– Managers need space or time to breathe, reflect and think.  This also avoids undue stress and ironically provides more time to carry out the ‘actions’ from the meetings attended. 

Also what happens to our lovely diary (calendar/task management tool)  if there’s an operational crisis/emergency or our manager needs our assistance, like now? 

Well, after you’ve attended to the crisis/request, you can re-schedule your calendar or task management tool. 

So, we can now breathe again, relax, relate , release.

2.     Becoming obsessed with ‘to do lists’– As soon as we’ve got rid of that ‘to do list’, up pops another list. This can be encouraging for some, but discouraging for others. 

However, what if we could schedule the ‘to do list’? If it only takes 5-10 minutes, we could do it straight away, otherwise you can schedule it in our calendar/task management tool? 

This way we’re always organised and can see the progress we’re making. 

3.     Constantly checking your e-mail inbox – Many time management guru’s suggest we check our e-mails 3 times a day, as e-mails are often a major distraction throughout the course of our day. 

However, depending on your job, this is not always possible or realistic, so why not use this strategy when there’s an important task/deadline to complete? 

We can deliberately block off time in the day where we are not distracted? Expectations or rules/guidelines can be made with the team and the manager. 

4.     Attending meetings that you do not need to attend. It might be a good idea to ask,Do I really need to attend this meeting, personally’? If not, why not delegate this to someone in your team? This would give the team member an opportunity to grow, and give the manager the time to be more productive. Sounds like a Win-Win? 

5.     Doing tasks that you could delegate -Following on from the last point. Delegation should only happen once the team member is clear on what they need to do. 

It’s definitely not a ‘get out of jail’ card for the manager, as he/she will need to monitor their progress at set intervals, and ensure the task or assignment was successful.  

6.     Being distracted by unimportant tasks – Kevin Kruse, in his book ‘15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management’,suggest a couple of ideas when it comes to reducing distractions:

-      ‘Say NO, to almost everything. Every YES is actually a NO to something else. Say NO to everything outside of you goal areas’ 

The above may be a bit extreme, but we definitely can’t say yes to every request. However, we can always schedule the task/meeting, if it fits within our goals, keeping in mind if it’s a priority or not? 

The other advice Kevin Kruse make is : Identify your Most Important Task, and work on it for two hours each morning.

Again, this advice has to be tailored to your circumstance. You may choose 3 hours in the day, but the idea is to focus on the key thing that will make the biggest impact.  

Probably the best time management advice that I’ve implemented, was written by Stephen Covey, in his book ‘7 habits of highly effective people’.  

It’s something that could be applied to any workplace, business environment or even your home-life.  

We’ll focus on the top two boxes, below (Quadrant 1& 2)    

1.    What are your Important/Urgent tasks? – These are the tasks that need to be done A.S.A.P, but can be stressful. (Quadrant No 1) 

2.     The Important/Not Urgent quadrant is where Stephen Covey says we should aim to be. This is the planning, creative and empowering section. (Quadrant No 2) 

Therefore time must be set aside for Quadrant 2.

-      Its less stressful, 

-      Better worked-out plans means less emergencies (E.g. Box 1). 

-      It allows you to be more effective and efficient

-      You’re focused on the key goals/objectives


Published at with the consent of the author

Stephen G Sinclair

About author

Medical Devices Manager, experienced in Medical Devices Management.

I’ve spent most of my working life and career in the medical devices industry and 15 years working within NHS Hospitals, to improve patient care. I’m an enthusiast, when it comes to healthcare and new technologies. Within those 15 years, I’ve gained valuable experience in managing diverse Clinical Engineering Departments. I’m very analytical, and enjoy problem solving, yet have a warm and engaging personality; connecting and collaborating with my colleagues: managers, clinicians (our customers), suppliers, service providers, and engineers.
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