Graham Proud Four Steps Training

Time Management Skills is a favourite training programme we get asked to run or at least include as part of a more general course. It does however always beg the question:

Can you really manage time?

Growing up I would class myself as a crammer in every aspect of my life. The looming deadline being the kick I needed to get things finished from homework to exam revision or arriving on time to any event. There was always something more vital, urgent or exciting for me to do first.

Once at work I would love to say I became a pillar of virtue and I was always well planned, with work completed ahead of schedule, with a healthy contingency in place just in case…

As you may have guessed this was not my reality and if procrastination were an Olympic sport I think I would be a gold medallist.

I had one manager who made me stick two post-it’s to my computer screen, one reading ‘What are you most resisting?’ and the other being ‘What’s the best use of my time, right now?’

The first post-it worked perfectly for those days when I had a difficult or dull piece of work to be completed or a telephone call I needed to make that I kept leaving until later.

I began to realise there were some common themes to putting things off:

  • A vain hope the situation would go away if I left it long enough
  • Avoiding the unpleasantness of a situation, normally where there was a level of underlying conflict
  • Putting off the overwhelming when I felt ill equipped to deal with the situation
  • The size or complexity of the situation was too large for me to know where to start
  • Fear of failure, better not to have a go then to show I myself up in some way

The second post-it worked brilliantly on those ‘headless chicken’ days when everyone seemed to want a part of me or when I was so pushed for time that everything was a priority! Having asked this question of myself, the mist would lift and I seemed to regain my objectivity.

Progress was underway, and I soon realised that being more ‘planful’ would mean less stress. With than said, a new pattern began to form as early planning just meant I knew how long things could be left before I really needed to panic. The world was still full of shiny things to take my attention before needing to buckle down!

What really changed for me was when I became a Myers Briggs Practitioner I accepted that being a crammer was just part of my personality profile. All I needed to do was to learn from the planners out there the techniques they used to manage the world around them.

There are many models, theories and tools out there that we at Four Steps Training can help you with on a very practical basis.

Typical topics Business Skills topics we get asked to help with are:

  • Change Management Skills
  • Communication and Influencing Skills
  • Conflict Management
  • Creative Problem Solving
  • Meetings Management
  • Myers Briggs Type Indicator
  • Negotiation Skills
  • Organisation and Delegation Skills
  • Presentation Skills
  • Self-awareness and Personal Impact
  • Time Management Skills

I always look to role model the use of these skills in my everyday life, however, at heart I will always be a crammer. This isn’t all bad as it allows me to be relaxed, open ended, driven by pressure and with a spontaneous approach to life.

The difference is that I now balance this with a systematic, planful, early starting, scheduled and methodical approach that I can apply should the need arise.

So linking back to the title, on those headless chicken days just remember you can’t manage time it just ticks.

What you can do is to manage yourself, the workload or your colleagues to get the job done.

Oh yes and a bit of planning and preparation usually helps too!

If you are interested to hear more about how Four Steps can help you in any of these Business Skills then drop us a line at or call us on 023 9248 1549.

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