Time Rules

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Time is a precious commodity, and it should be treated with great respect irrespective whether it is our time or other people's time. However, a recent survey shows that over 20% of a manager's working week is wasted. This works out at an average of 1 in 5 working days being wasted. In addition, it was found that over 90 % of managers desks and office areas were totally disorganized and around 30% of a manager's time was spent on routine paperwork.

Sorting out paperwork

Supervisors are increasingly being involved in paperwork. There are two very interesting methods of self discipline for getting things done. One is the do it now rule and the other is often called the Premack principle or simply Grandma's Law.

Do it now rule

Procrastination is a wonderful word – it is also a terrible infliction that many managers suffer. Procrastination occurs when we have things to do, which we don't want to do or unsure about and they become almost permanent features in our action lists. In many cases, these unimportant or even trivial matters that do not justify too much management attention. Not only do these things not get done, but they also waste an enormous amount of our time by us continually thinking about not doing them. If you have this problem then the DO IT NOW rule could help you enormously.

If it can be done now and it is reasonable to do it now then - do it now.

The idea is that you apply self-discipline to do things once and only once and get rid of them forever. Try it as it really works.

Grandma's law

Grandma's law states, If you eat your vegetables, you can have dessert Most children will refuse to eat their vegetables but never their desert. In technical terms, vegetables for most children is a low-frequency choice whereas eating dessert is a high-frequency choice. So if you make the high-frequency choice contingent on the low-frequency choice, children will normally eat their vegetables, and with luck become to like them.

Grannies are expert at applying this law as we can all remember. At work this means that if we watch how people spend their time when they have a choice, we can identify reinforcers for them. We can easily adopt the granny law for our own purposes So all you have to do now is to list your tasks in the order of those you enjoy, onto those that you really don’t want to do. Then do them one by one from the bottom of the list, that is do the unpleasant or least enjoyable tasks first. And that's where the discipline comes in.

Try them both as you will find that they really work. However, these methods need you to make them work. Do it whichever way suits you but please do it or you will never get ahead of the game.

Chris Thomas is the author of the Managers Toolbox training material located at http://www.managers-toolbox.com and runs the very successful Basic Management Course for new leaders and supervisors.


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