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Thread: How to teach time management skills?

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    Cyburbian Plus dandy_warhol's avatar
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    How to teach time management skills?

    Does anyone here have any tips for teaching someone time managment skills?

    It seems that the only time I get results is when I give a specific due date, "Wednesday the 15th at noon" and a specific action, "A first draft". Otherwise items just hang out there. (These are directions given to an entry-level planner).

    Should I continue in this way? Is this the best way to handle it? Any other suggestions?
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

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    Cyburbian Plan-it's avatar
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    I work at a large jurisdiction that has an extensive training program through HR and time management is one of the items they teach. Aside from that...

    I would continue what you are doing. Giving deadlines and clear directions until the person starts getting it. Once they have it down to a routine try and not give a deadline and see what happens. If it goes back to same old same old, you just know that this is the way you have to deal with this individual. At their yearly review, make sure you put time management skills as one of the items they have to work on so you can benchmark his/her progress and make sure they are hitting targets so that eventually, they can work independently.
    Satellite City Enabler

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    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Although I'm not a fan of them Dale Carnegie courses offer tips on time management. Costly though - $1400 or so for a 12-session course.

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    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dandy_warhol View post
    Does anyone here have any tips for teaching someone time managment skills?

    It seems that the only time I get results is when I give a specific due date, "Wednesday the 15th at noon" and a specific action, "A first draft". Otherwise items just hang out there. (These are directions given to an entry-level planner).

    Should I continue in this way? Is this the best way to handle it? Any other suggestions?
    Time Management is tough. Sometimes i even struggle if there is no "looming" deadline. With our assistant planners i try the milestone approach as in what you are doing now with the "first draft." I also use Outlook Tasks and assign a due date with requsted task status daily to see where we are at, especially if it is a lengthy task.

    I think the most difficult part is not having a defined task, scope or budget that usually comes in the private sector. To me this is the best way to define time because there has been X amount of budget set aside, thus there are only so many hours to do it in, and have a specific deliverable to achieve. I usually start from there and say, you have X hours to reasonably complete the task. If they can't do it, then i ask why and work from there so that they can learn a quicker method, or being to compute things faster so that the task can come on budget and on time.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

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    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    deadlines is actually how I handle my own struggle with time management so if you have a person (like me - tables are turned ) that works for you with time management issues, deadlines are key and I even impose internal deadlines so I have a chance to review things before they go out (and I give the same internal deadline to the Town Manager so he can review my stuff before it goes out the door) -

    it's why I only hire people who are super organized and then I drive them crazy because I am not super organized, I succeed by the seat of my pants

    also consider progress meetings - if the deadline is in 30 days, have an established meeting on day 15 or if it's a lot of stuff, have a set weekly meeting to ask how things are going and have your list ready -

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    Cyburbian Plus dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian View post
    also consider progress meetings - if the deadline is in 30 days, have an established meeting on day 15 or if it's a lot of stuff, have a set weekly meeting to ask how things are going and have your list ready -
    i've tried the progress meetings, and i'll continue with them eventhough at the first one the response was, "I still need to meet with Mike." then at the second one, "I still need to meet with Mike."

    i've started the weekly meetings as well. i'm trying to give the guy plenty of opportunities to ask for help and any needed assistance.

    also, is it any entry-level planner thing or a guy thing, he doesn't seem to listen. i've actually started writing more things down in case this guy is a very visual person instead of an auditory one. driving me batty!!
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

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    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    It sounds like you are doing all the right things. I took a time management course once, but it didn't tell me anything I didn't already know (probably because I am one of those organized types already ).

    I wonder if there are certain tasks your charge does not enjoy doing (e.g., meeting with Mike), so he procrastinates.

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    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Mud Princess View post

    I wonder if there are certain tasks your charge does not enjoy doing (e.g., meeting with Mike), so he procrastinates.
    or say to him "okay, why don't I set up a meeting with Mike and I'll sit in?"

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    Cyburbian Habanero's avatar
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    I think having internal deadlines is key (and keep them away from Cyburbia!). I do like having a final deadline so that I can then set up my own deadlines of what I need to have items for a project completed, but I think it's a learned skill.

    I like the idea of a class. A former employer of mine sent everyone to a Franklin Covey class as part of the new hire orientation so we all got a time management class as well as a planner to keep track of everything.
    When Jesus said "love your enemies", he probably didn't mean kill them.

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    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Dandy, is this the reason you got $400 to spend on your house--a bounty for not killing this guy?

    Seems to me that his learning curve is pretty steep. Maybe the "lack of planning on his part" needs to get him in trouble a couple of times -- without throwing you under the bus -- before he learns.

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    Cyburbian michiganplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dandy_warhol View post
    i've tried the progress meetings, and i'll continue with them eventhough at the first one the response was, "I still need to meet with Mike." then at the second one, "I still need to meet with Mike."
    If he needs time management training - you need general management training (not trying to be mean). This actually reminds me of my old assistant who had an excuse for everything. I had to put my foot down hard. When I heard somthing along the lines of what you described I let it go the first time, but the second time I got an excuse regarding the same task/issue my foot went down. In the example you provided, I would have instructed the employee to meet with Mike that day or at a minmum have a meeting scheduled. When I did that, my assistant got the message.

    Does that make sense?
    I'd be more apathetic if I weren't so lethargic.

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    Cyburbian Plus dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michiganplanner View post
    If he needs time management training - you need general management training (not trying to be mean). This actually reminds me of my old assistant who had an excuse for everything. I had to put my foot down hard. When I heard somthing along the lines of what you described I let it go the first time, but the second time I got an excuse regarding the same task/issue my foot went down. In the example you provided, I would have instructed the employee to meet with Mike that day or at a minmum have a meeting scheduled. When I did that, my assistant got the message.

    Does that make sense?
    makes sense. after the second "need to meet with Mike" came from me "you need to have this completed and on my desk by noon on Tuesday."

    technically i'm not even this guy's supervisor. but i'm the one who gets to deal with all his crud and train him. so i'm stuck in the middle because when i have a problem with him i can't reprimand him, i have to go to his supervisor (which is also mine). so to me it feels like i'm tattling on the guy.

    Quote Originally posted by Veloise View post
    Seems to me that his learning curve is pretty steep. Maybe the "lack of planning on his part" needs to get him in trouble a couple of times -- without throwing you under the bus -- before he learns.
    i've seriously considered that. he's come close to getting in trouble once or twice, but i've helped him out of the jam. i guess i need to let him fall and see if he can pick himself back up.
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

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