Time to decide a 'new normal'




Successful management starts at the top but often garden retail managers and owners are the last to consider their own style of time management or to practise time management at all. There are periods of the year when 'over-whelmed' seems the new normal.

A lot of us write “to do” lists each day and then find the ‘list’ of things to be done is the same the next day and the next.

What we often don’t do is allow ourselves headspace and time for what really needs to be thought about and done. It’s easier to write a list than to take hard decisions around what to stop doing, or not start doing.

Lots of us work ‘just in time’ without having time to think and process, because we tend to go for the tasks we can do quickly to reduce the list. Complex tasks remain left undone day after day until something HAS TO BE DONE TODAY, which can be a bit risky if another crisis crops up. It’s sure to mean a late night.

US leadership guru, Kevin Kruse interviewed 200 billionaires, olympians and entrepreneurs about their best time management and productivity advice. No-one mentioned a ‘to do list’. It was suggested one of the big issues with a list is that it doesn’t account for time.

Some people work off their calendar, doing what they need to do in time. It means they don't get side-tracked answering emails; they question if some tasks are really somebody else’s job; or if they can be delegated. It builds 'improvement awareness'  - often a catalyst to change systems and put processes in place.

Advocates of this approach suggested it allows the opportunity to add in Think Time as well, in place of low value tasks that mean little or nothing to customers and staff.

Some people feel lists contribute to stress, keeping us awake at night with unfinished tasks contributing to intrusive, uncontrolled thoughts.

What-ever system we decide to use to manage our time, we can’t fight the urgent or ignore the important.

Instead, a different approach could be working out and being clear about what shouldn’t crowd out time or appear on your to-do list – a 'don’t do' list if you like. 

Work out if there can be a process to automate these tasks and delegate someone to handle it. Give others in the team more responsibility, upskill them if necessary.

Commit your time to everything that will be a change-maker and help you reach the aims and goals you have for the business, including building reputational capital. Others can handle everything else.


- Joy Lamb