Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch gave a lecture on Time Management at the University of Virginia in November 2007. Randy Pausch — http://www.randypausch.com — is a virtual reality pioneer, human-computer interaction researcher, co-founder of Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center — http://www.etc.cmu.edu — and creator of the Alice — http://www.alice.org — software project. The slides for this lecture and high-res downloadable versions of this and other lectures can be found at: http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~robins/Randy/
In March, Inc magazine ran a very interesting feature called “Time Troubles.” This article claimed that only 9% of executives are satisfied with their seemingly optimal time-management skills. The vast remainder of corporate leaders Inc assigned to one of four failed executive types: Crisis Managers, Cheerleaders, Online Junkies, and Schmoozers. While Inc did not say what percentage of executives fit into each category, it did reveal the major failings which resulted in said assignments:
- Crisis Managers: Spent 67% more time on unanticipated, short-duration problems than the optimal group.
- Cheerleaders: Mis-spent 45% more time on employee pep talks AND 39% less time with business clients.
- Online Junkies: Wasted 36% more time on email and voice mail than more effective and efficient face-to-face communication.
- Schmoozers: Squandered 17% more time with clients than necessary by stealing time that should have been invested in communicating with their workplace colleagues.
The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. As such, I thought the Inc item was a great starting point. We, collectively, pay a huge price for poor time management. It drives up personnel turn-over, miscommunication and bankruptcies while driving down morale, engagement, and profit margins. In keeping with this theme, the next question I would love to see Inc tackle is: “what is the cumulative cost of these time-management failures?”