360° Coverage : Why Time Management Systems Miss The Point (It's An...

2 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...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

20 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 In most respects I was a woeful CFO – my knowledge of financial reporting was 20 years out of date and my knowledge of tax even sketchier.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
2

4 days ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new company (NewCo) and slashing the workforce of 20,000 ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

5 days ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Watch your diet to reduce diabetes risk
London, Sep 3 (IANS) What you eat and drink, and not just the number of calories, is a significant factor in diabetes risk, a study showed.
 
 
2016 NASA asteroid mission awaits your messages
Washington, Sep 3 (IANS) NASA has invited the public to submit short messages and images on social media that could be placed in a time capsule aboard a spacecraft to be launched in 2016 for an asteroid study.
 
 
Exercise can stem frequent night urination in men
New York, Sep 3 (IANS) Men who are physically active are at lower risk of nocturia - waking up at night to urinate, says a study.
 
 
Nippon Life keen to hike stake in Reliance Life
Tokyo, Sep 3 (IANS) Nippon Life Insurance of Japan wants to hike its stake in its Indian joint venture Reliance Life Insurance to 49 percent from 26 percent, when India notifies the decision of higher foreign equity cap in the sector, a news report here said.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Watch your diet to reduce diabetes risk
London, Sep 3 (IANS) What you eat and drink, and not just the number of calories, is a significant factor in diabetes risk, a study showed. Losing weight may be good but not enough to prevent Type 2 diabetes as...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
35 militants killed in Afghanistan
Kabul, Sep 3 (IANS) At least 35 Taliban militants have been killed in fresh military operations across Afghanistan, the interior ministry said Wednesday. The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) carried out...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Vince Vaughn for The Politician?
Vince Vaughn is set to star in 'The Politician'. The 'Wedding Crashers' star is attached to take on the lead role in the upcoming Columbia comedy about a scandal-hit politician, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
910 militants, 82 soldiers killed in North Waziristan
Islamabad, Sep 3 (IANS) At least 910 militants and 82 Pakistani soldiers have been killed in operation Zarb-i-Azb in North Waziristan, the military said Wednesday. The statement issued by the Inter-Services Public...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
'Headscarf instils positive body image in British Muslim women'
London, Sep 3 (IANS) British Muslim women who wear a hijab (headscarf) generally have a more positive body image, are less reliant on media messages about beauty ideals and place less importance on appearance than...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Console games new threat to global climate: Study
New York, Sep 3 (IANS) Console games downloaded over broadband internet are causing more greenhouse gas emissions than Blu-ray discs delivered via retail stores, new research reveals. It is not always true that...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Human greed driving species towards extinction: Study
Washington, Sep 3 (IANS) In a disturbing trend, scientists have reported that species are becoming extinct as much as 1,000 times more frequently - 10 times worse than the previous estimates - owing to human population...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Kelly Brook's traumatic childhood
Kelly Brook has opened up about ''violent and horrific'' memories from her childhood. The 35-year-old actress has revealed that although she enjoyed some aspects of growing up on a council estate in Kent, South East...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Emmy Rossum not 'easy'
Emmy Rossum insists she's not ''easy'' like her 'Shameless' character. The 27-year-old actress stars as Fiona Gallagher in the US remake of the hit series and she's revealed that although she's had sex on a first date,...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
2016 NASA asteroid mission awaits your messages
Washington, Sep 3 (IANS) NASA has invited the public to submit short messages and images on social media that could be placed in a time capsule aboard a spacecraft to be launched in 2016 for an asteroid study. Called...
Read more on Apple Balla