I’ve decided that being literal – doing something in exact accordance with the explicit meaning of a word – is unhelpful. And I am reminded of this whenever I hear busy managers say they’ve embraced the “open door” concept to the nth degree and find themselves without quality time to do some of their work. It’s the interruptions, the pop in staff, the “it will only take a minute” merchants and the noise and distraction of office life in general, that eventually defeat them. They find their day carved up into unworkable splinters of time too small to allow big pieces of work to be done. Pity the poor managers, who in trying to do right by others, often fail to do right for themselves.
An excellent time management technique to use (I really think it should be freely available on prescription) is deliberately making oneself unavailable for chunks of time to concentrate on important pieces of work. The trick is to allocate a big enough piece of time for a particular piece of work, so that the work can be done in a hit or several hits, with more than enough time to do them in – without interruption. My plea to managers – speaking as the Queen of Time Management – is to adopt an open and closed door policy; educate your staff that a closed door means do not disturb; and keep your eye firmly on the outcomes you are paid to deliver, in the time you are required to deliver them in.