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My Time Management Model - The Not Now part

Like many people, I am a great believer in procrastination.  Why do it now, when it can be done just now?    And it used to be possible.  I chose the tasks I enjoyed the most, finished them quickly, and then slowly worked my way through the jobs that were less fun.

Then I started getting between 75 and 100 eMails per day, and found out something interesting about myself.  I need neatness and structure to work effectively, even though I enjoy the adrenaline rush of hitting last minute deadlines.   I also realised that I was still doing the fun jobs first, but was developing a squeaky wheel mentality to the less interesting tasks ie responding to those that shouted the loudest or, to be fair to them, reminded me most regularly.

So first the neatness and structure.  I like a tidy desk, and I like a tidy computer.  Very nerdish, I know, but I find I can't do anything properly, if things aren't where they are supposed to be.  Outlook rules were my first step.   Everything regular goes into a sub directory as it arrives, and my goal is to keep my unread mails down to no more than 50 at the end of the day (taking into account that I glance through them each day, and mark them as unread if they still need action).

Then I put together my Right Now, Just Now and Not Now Model.   I kept this very quiet until I released my blog called Respecting Time on the 3rd September.   It has improved things, but I still slip up, more than I would like.   I have realised its not just about time to do things, but also about time to focus and plan.

The Not Now works really well with a good gate keeper.  I have noticed that when my wonderful PA, Joyce Fullam, is away, Not Now doesn't work nearly as well.   She manages my open door policy very effectively!    But normally, this is lunch time, I take an uninterrupted 15 to 20 minutes to eat, and read the newspaper or Time magazine, then I spend the rest of the hour regrouping.   I read eMails that are not +Accsys related, but are about what is happening in the world of business and our BCX Leadership sends out some great articles, too, so these also form part of this down time.

Over 20 years ago, when I was working as the Sandton Branch Manager for a company called Paywise, I joined the Cape Town team for their year end party.   One of the guys asked me what I did in Sandton, did I work,or did I just manage?    I don't know too many people who just manage, any more, and most people have huge amounts of day to day stuff to cope with, but strategy and planning, time to focus on culture, commitment to positive staff and client experiences,  have to be consistently factored in.

Both the people I report to, and those that report to me, have valid expectations around my deliverables, however, it is critical that I set my own, too.  It is a juggling act, and, inevitably, sometimes people are let down, including me!

This is where Not Now works for me.   Its not a long time, around 45 minutes per day, but it really makes a difference.


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