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Time Management

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  • #48980

    Fake Harry Alert
    Participant

    Is  it  worth  to  spend 15-20 hours for  time  management course.
    I  believe  it  is  silly  and  waste  of  time  and  efforts  as it  could  be  a  minor  part  of  the personal  quality,integrated  within the Lean or TQM course.
    Appreciate  any  advance or  feedback,
    thanks

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    #166509

    Six Sigma Shooter
    Member

    Good question.  And the answer is, in my view, it depends. 
    You are dealing with individuals when it comes to time management, as well as an organizational culture issue.  One only need take a look at how many meetings are managed to understand that time management is an issue that often gets swept under the carpet and ignored, regardless the training and best efforts of the well intentioned.
    I also believe that one issue facing the workforce is the fallacy of mutli-tasking.  When one looks at it from a SMED perspective, there is a mental changeover time when one switches from one task to another, or has their train of thought interrupted by phone calls, co-workers dropping by, you name it.  Once the train of thought is interrupted, there is always a period of getting up to speed again.  Wasted time.  And the time it takes to get back up to speed on the task you were working on usually takes a few minutes.  This becomes a significant drain on the one resource that is universal: time.  We all only have 24 hours in a day.
    So, in my view, we are faced with both an organizationl issue of how to manage time so that interruptions and mental changeovers are reduced, while also creating an awareness and the skills necessary to manage our time better at both the organizational and individual levels. 
    Will 15 to 20 hours of training accomplish this?  No.  Can it do some good?  Maybe.  It depends on the nature of the training, I guess.  If it is the typical approach to the issue – providing skills on how to prioritize, make sure things get done, handle things only once, etc., – it may have some value for some.  But I often find that once one returns to the work environment, the “new way of managing” gets overtaken by old habits and the way things are normally done.
    In the end, the question becomes one that Dr. Deming might ask: Where is the system?  A system that allows people to manage their time better?  Only management can create this system.
    Just my humble opinion and observations.
    Merry Christmas, everyone!
    Shooter

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    #166510

    Fake Harry Alert
    Participant

    Shooter
    Great.
    Thanks  for  the  valuable  contribution.
    Merry  Christmas  and  happy  new  year

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    #166511

    Deanb
    Participant

    You got game Shooter!I would expect the multitasking and associated mental changeovers also accelerate physiological exhaustion. This is surly a major root cause. Unfortunately a typical improvement project in this area would be superficial, such as eliminating coffee breaks (which probably help to reduce exhaustion). Too many bureaucratic requirements can also break focus and increase exhaustion. Companies love to load people up on non-value added work.Merry Christmas Shooter!

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    #166512

    Six Sigma Shooter
    Member

    Glad to be of some help. 
    Not to leave it at the theoretical level, here’s one thing that we tried at Ford, back in the Deming “Employee Involvement” days of the early 80’s.  I realize this is not a universal application, but it worked – while it lasted – in the engineering and R & D test complex for what was then the Diversified Products Engineering and Test Center, in Dearborn, Michigan.
    First, we were allowed flex time.  If I remember correctly, we had to be at work by 9 AM.  That was the beginning of normal business, where the normal daily work took place: core time, as we called it.  Core time lasted until 4 PM.  With an hour for lunch, this gave us six hours of “core time.”  The other two hours of our work day were “quiet time:” time where interruptions were not allowed, unless it was an emergency such as the a plant shutdown requiring product design engineering help, a major design flaw found out on the test track, or an executives car stuck on the side of the road due to our product (yeah – it happened).
    Now, it wasn’t perfect, but it did provide some relief and helped us to be more effective in getting things done.  There was a positive bump in morale, as well. 
    Did we take any data on it?  Not that I am aware of, so you’ll just have to accept my anectdotal evidence, I guess.  The key is: it was an effort by management to not only send a message that we needed to manage our time better and reduce interruptions – it was also their effort to install a system for better time management.  Along with the typical time management training I mentioned in the previous post, it all helped.  And, for the areas that took it all seriously – installed the time management tools and processes and requiremetns to use them religiously –  it all worked very well, in my opinion.  We saw and felt the benefits.
    Shooter

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    #166513

    Six Sigma Shooter
    Member

    Not only increased exhaustion, Dean, but stress and a sense of loss of control, as well. 
    I believe that pressure can be a good thing, but one must have a sense of control.  Otherwise, it becomes stress and we spiral downhill fast, increasing anxiety, frustration, fear and anger.  Is there any wonder that there is a sense within many companies that it is total chaos – with no one really in control at times – and that we don’t have the time to be our normal, caring and loving selves with our co-workers?
    Shooter
     

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    #166514

    Six Sigma Shooter
    Member

    Deanb,
    There was an article I read back in the early 90’s, called “The Myth of Not Enough Time.”  The premise of the article was that when one says “I don’t have time for that,” what one is really saying is, that it is not a priority to us.  It all goes back to the 24 hours in a day thing I mentioned earlier: it is the universal resource.  And, regardless of what we have on our plate at any given time, we find the time for the things that are a priority to us.  It was an interesting take on the issue.
    Shooter

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    #166517

    Brandon
    Participant

    Fake, I believe you should get a detailed course outline to decide if you will be gaining some usable skills. My experience with time mngt training has not been good.
    Aside from the std limit mtgs by XXX, section your day, etc. they suggested buying pants that didn’t require belts, shoes that didn’t tie and the like. If my day is ruined becuase I take 30 seconds to tie my shoes then I have some other serious problems.
    Relative to time…stick with Lean; it’ll get you & your people the time you need.

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    #166520

    Six Sigma Shooter
    Member

    Brandon,
    If that is what time management training has come down to – laceless shoes and such – we are in deeper trouble than I thought.
    I also agree that following the lean and / or theory of constraints approach to where time is spent and reducing bottlenecks, nva and the like is a good way to go about identifying, improving and tracking time management issues.  But, in the greater context, there still needs to be systems in place with stated aims.  Slogans, “thou shalt” mandates, management by fear and numerical goals all fall short.
    A recent posting on the DEN (Deming Electronic Network out of Clemson University), cited an example that is on point, I think.  It seems that there is now a government imposed requirement in England “that all hospital accident and emergency units must treat patients in 4 hours or less.”  As a result, patients are admitted to the hospital as they near the four hour limit, only to be discharged shortly thereafter.  This has also led, per the posting, to people being held in the ambulances if the staff believes the case might come up against the four hour limit.
    Now, the intentions of this government mandate is quite positive.  The unintended consequences of it are disastrous!  They were trying to some a problem of time management.  Their aim was good, but they provided no system – no wherewithal – nor did they take the time to actually study the issue, involve the stakeholders, and create the system and its processes that enable the four hour limit.  And oh, by the way, where did the four hours come from?  Out of thin air, most likely – a gut reaction to a perceived problem. 
    In the end, it has only exacerbated the problem and created a lot of additional waste within the system.  And worse, it has put the entire health care system and its customers at risk, with what I foresee to literally be issues of life and death.
    Such is management by fiat!

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    #166521

    Six Sigma Shooter
    Member

    The sentence in my last post should read:
    “They were trying to solve a problem of time management.”
    So much for “inspection.”  Now, how many “F’s” are there . . .  ;-)
    Shooter

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    #166523

    Deanb
    Participant

    Targeting projects to reduce firefighting (even if no data or figures are available) can substantially increase available productive time. Firefighting goes beyond ad-hoc emergencies. It also includes any mad rushes to meet deadlines, some of which may be surprisingly routine, which dominate attention from other priorities. Old Phil Crosby had a good point. You need to first reduce firefighting so you can have time to meet true priorities and improve other things. Show me a group that is constantly firefighting, and I’ll show you a group that has trouble improving just about anything, whether they use six-sigma or not.

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    #166526

    Brandon
    Participant

    Six, I agree. Setting a time limit is ridiculous; more than that it can be disatrous. People will just find ways around it.
    So, we’re back to SS and Lean – solve the underlying problems that create time loss.

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    #166527

    Six Sigma Shooter
    Member

    Brandon,
    I agree to a point.  Six Sigma and Lean, TOC, TQM, Quality Circles . . . whatever, can be useful methods and tools to reduce time lost / NVA within an organization.  But they are not enough, in and of themselves, is my point – at least not as commonly practiced in the west.. 
    As we have seen, there are numerous (Insert your favorite Deployment Name) projects that have reduced time in all sorts of processes and the gains are quite laudible.  But do they really get to the root cause of poor time management, and do they address the mindset within that enables it in the first place within a corporate culture?  I, for one, believe that without a deep understanding of our systems and why they exist (their aim and purpose), with processes that focus on value creation and that enable the entire workforce to take part (Insert Deming’s Fourteen Points), it is all short term and unsustainable gains. 
    Shooter

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    #166529

    Fake Harry Alert
    Participant

    Shooter
    Again  thank  you  all  for  the  valuable  input

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