10 Updates

Why Time Management Systems Miss The Point (It's An Emotional Thing)

Apr 15 2014, 6:35am CDT | by

Time management is an important thing. Sometimes it is the only thing. But we don’t understand what it’s about. I learned this during my time as a turnaround CFO. I was the one they called when the...

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14 weeks ago

Why Time Management Systems Miss The Point (It's An Emotional Thing)

Apr 15 2014, 6:35am CDT | by

Time management is an important thing. Sometimes it is the only thing. But we don’t understand what it’s about. I learned this during my time as a turnaround CFO.

I was the one they called when the company was in trouble and the CFO had been fired. In most respects I was a woeful CFO – my knowledge of financial reporting was 20 years out of date and my knowledge of tax even sketchier. This gave me a low F in subjects which seemed to occupy 80% of most CFOs’ time. But I had a super power

I was really good at deciding on priorities and sticking to them. This had been the downfall of my predecessors. They had tried to do too many things, and failed at all of them. The most egregious example of this was in one handover period when I spent a mind-numbing afternoon with my outgoing predecessor and the financial accountant going line by line through the annual financial statements (it was a private equity situation, so nobody had the slightest interest in these). It seemed bizarre to me that any CFO would want to spend time on this tedious business. Firstly, the financial accountant and the auditors between them had it well in hand,  but more importantly we were bleeding cash and if we didn’t solve that problem we were doomed.

The reason of course was comfort zones. The soon-to-be-ex-CFO felt comfortable with financial reporting in a way that he didn’t with big, scary, messy problems like cashflow. So that is where he spent his time.

He left, I took over. I went through his diary and cancelled most of his commitments. I pulled out three priorities and, with a mixture of ruthlessness, deviousness and willingness to offend, stuck to them. In three months the situation was stabilised. In eighteen there was a successful exit.

Now the point is that no amount of time management systems, software, organisers or 2×2 matrices would have saved my predecessor. What would have saved him was a willingness to do what felt uncomfortable.

So here is my system. Look for what makes you feel uncomfortable but is important, and make sure you do it. Here is a quick checklist which will help you identify such matters:

  • Complex strategic questions ( if you enjoy operating and being active);
  • Mundane operational issues like  cashflow, cost control or reducing waste (if you enjoy strategic thinking);
  • Difficult conversations with people you have been avoiding;
  • Things you haven’t done before;
  • Things you aren’t confident you can do;
  • Not doing things that other people want you to do, but which you know will get in the way of the above.

“Easier said than done,” you are probably thinking, and that is exactly the point. Good time management is hard. But you might as well suck it up and get on with it. The alternative is that one day the CEO calls you into their office and introduces you to your successor, someone like me. You would like that even less.

Alastair Dryburgh is author of the forthcoming book Evolve: free yourself from your inner caveman .

 
Update
10

7 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Rakyat was told today. ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

7 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was bro ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

7 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by the ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

7 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Hishamm ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

7 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in the southern ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 million in compensation ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister Da ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocati ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Bazaar Scheme ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

7 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 bill ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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