At work my Consulting Practice specialises in helping people within organisations be more effective at what they do. Away from work I attend a business school, I coach basketball and home life is busy with my wife and I being taxi to 3 kids who have various after school activities, including playing representative basketball. As such, due to my profession Time Management is engrained in myself but our busy schedule sees the whole family also having to be good at it.
Holidays is usually a time to relax, recharge the batteries and do some things you normally don’t do. We recently went to Nashville and did the latter where we had the opportunity go out and enjoy Live music each day and that is so different from our normal life it’s not funny!!!
After being home for a few days I was walking on the rear deck beside the pool at home and I discovered a corner of the deck seeming more like a seesaw than a deck… Now I’m not a Tradie but as I’ve got older I have grown to like having a go at fixing things.
My wife asks me “can you fix it” to which I reply “it shouldn’t be all that difficult.”
I have a 3 day window (well it’s really a deadline!!!) before friends are coming over for a swim in the pool and pre New Year catch-up and drinks on the deck. Now all of this sounded achievable but the reality is I had never worked on a deck, didn’t really know what had to be done or how to do it but I still thought it would take me 2 days to finish it. Does this sound somewhat like work when we’re sometimes asked to do a piece of work we don’t have experience in?
Not surprisingly I experienced a multitude of challenges with the 3 key themes around:
- The problem was bigger than expected – not only was there damage to 1 corner but once I removed the decking boards I found numerous bearers and joists rotten resulting in me having to rebuild 40% of the deck
- Existing schedule – a real rookie mistake here where I didn’t factor in I had promised and had tickets for the following day to take my youngest to see Star Wars – The Force Awakens
- Inexperience – when I don’t know something I do some research and ask a lot of questions. When you get conflicting answers to questions it can take longer to determine which path to go down.
The 3 key things that ultimately occurred:
- Missed the deadline – Our friends came over for the pre New Year catch-up but instead of being beside the pool we were around the kitchen bench because the deck wasn’t ready and looked more like a demolition. Hmm, and guess what a topic of conversation was during this hot afternoon…..
- The deck got built – After 4 days the deck did get built and I think it looks great!!!
- Priorities – I prioritised the commitment of taking my son to the movies for an afternoon over the deck (even if I didn’t I still would have missed the deadline!!!). We’re often faced with decisions between choosing an option less than ideal, however, I felt more comfortable with the priority I made.
The 2 biggest learnings from this are:
- Time Management is important – When you know what you’re doing Time Management underpins getting more done in less time. However, when you don’t really know what you are doing Time Management is especially important to achieve desired outcomes within the allotted timeframe (adding a buffer is also really crucial here as the saying “it often takes twice as long to complete a task as we originally thought it would take” was evident here).
- Achievement – I’m actually quite proud that I was able to fix the deck myself. However, at the same time I’m also somewhat disappointed I didn’t complete it within the timeframe. Does this sound familiar when we have achieved something new but missed a deadline at work???
Maybe some of these learnings will either help you achieve your deadlines at work or motivate you to master Time Management in 2016.
Finally, after so many trips to Bunnings they now know me by name!!!