I find invitations to “Time Management” seminars amusing – everyone knows you cannot manage time.
If you think about it, it’s the other way around. Time manages you.
We all come into this world with an inventory of 42,076,800 minutes (based on an 80-year lifespan) and throughout most of this, we have no “time” to do this or that.
In respect of work, it’s not what we do but rather what we accomplish. More time does not necessarily mean more/better results.
I recall the first summer job I had working in a government lab where two researchers competed side by side. My boss liked to play golf, so he warned me on day one not to come in unless it was raining or about to rain. The ‘competition” on the other hand slaved away from 0800 hrs well into the evening hours but had the misfortune toward the end of the summer to lose his research notes.
A few months after I returned to school I heard that my boss had submitted a paper and had won an important award. I still wonder how he “found” the time to do this. I still think that summer job was the best job I ever had.
If you subscribe to my blog you know that ACM/BPM/CPM and ECM are frequent blog post topics. Why they ever changed Document Management Systems (DMS) to Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and ruined what could have been a nice A-B-C-D sequence, ignoring the relative timing of the four methodologies, I do not know.
Consider “best practices”.
We all know that better outcomes results from consistent use of best practice protocols, but not all of the time (no pun intended). Once in a while a “eureka” moment can allow a knowledge worker to skip over several steps, thereby “saving” time.
We learn, in between all of this nonsense, that if you want success with BPM it’s important to be able to accommodate variations from best practices. And, you need ACM to handle ad hoc interventions or “processes of one step”. Repeat after me, “A-B”.
Taking a closer look at work, if you follow what knowledge workers do, any “time management” you may wish to carry out should actually receive a focus of time lags between process steps, not how long steps themselves take. Knowledge workers typically know what to do, how to do it and roughly, at least, how long it takes to complete tasks.
For structured work, on the other hand, performance time is important because steps often require consolidation of venues, tools, and human resources, so here we need to be able to assess and predict task time for current tasks, and we need oftentimes complex ways of predicting completion times for tasks that are not yet current.
Bottom line, we don’t manage time.
Too bad I fired all of my alchemists for lack of production. Perhaps I could have re-focused them on ways and means of “managing time”.