Why Time Management Seminars Don’t Work – And What DoesBy: Susan Dunn
Time Management Seminars don’t work, and here’s why: They are treating the symptom and not the cause.
They’re based on two assumptions that no longer work. The first is that you don’t know how to manage your time.
Let’s say you’re asked to attend a Time Management seminar at work. You’ll be given a method that’s designed to apply to as many people as possible, so it may have little to do with your type of job. Some jobs are routine, and we do the same thing every day. Other jobs feature constant variety
Coaching is the better method, because it’s individualized, and if it’s a good coach, they’ll be asking you lots of questions.
I would ask you things like this:
The second fallacy is that you can be taught to manage your time because it’s rests on the false assumption that your time can be managed.
In today’s world where change, communication and information are accelerated, and responsibilities are exponential, there is no one “way” to manage time.
The skills you will need to rely on are Emotional Intelligence competencies, and they will cure the problem, not treat the symptom.
Emotional Intelligence covers such competencies as flexibility, creativity, intuition and resilience. This means that what you are building is not “time management skills”, but the ability to function amidst chaos, inadequate data, imperfect human beings, uncertainty and pressure.
We are as much trapped by technology and people as we are assisted by them. On a good day, your computer, cell phone, airline, team plan, and project team will make things run more smoothly than in the past, and you will accomplish your goals for the day.
But on a bad day, your calendar will be of no use if your server goes down, and neither will your email. Even though you keep a meticulous day planner, you’ll have to rearrange your schedule if your cell phone battery goes dead in the middle of a client call. If your airplane is late arriving, it won’t matter how many people you called to the meeting, or how carefully you planned the details. And if Harry has to have emergency surgery and be out of work for two weeks, he won’t be fulfilling his part of the project, even if he’s prepared, knows how to do it and highly motivated and you are left to cope.
What will help you in these situations is:
fear) when things go wrong, or change. You will be able to move past blame, and start fixing the situation. And with highly developed Emotional Intelligence competencies, you will be able to access much more help from those around you because of your empathy, communication and interpersonal skills.
We can no more control time than we can control emotions. The best we can hope to do is manage our emotions and those of others, and manage ourselves and others when our well-laid plans go astray. This is Emotional Intelligence.
Next time you think about a Time Management Seminar, think about an Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Intelligence coaching instead. And ask your manager or employer for this learning tool. It will get to the root of the problem, and since it’s broadly applicable, it will help with a lot more than just time management.
© copyright, Susan Dunn, 2004
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