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  101 Ways to be a Better Manager

To the reader

Time is a hard taskmaster to us all. Most people have a problem from time to time of getting everything done that needs to be done, and doing it all in time. The se problems are so common that everyone can rotationally benefits from some consideration and guidance aimed ay allowing them to manage their time effectively. Many of the things the characterize an organization make proper time management more difficult: hierarchical structures, people, paperwork, pressure and interactions, both within and outside the organization, all tend to compound the problems.

This book is directed at the problems of time management for those working in executive and management positions within organizations whether commercial or otherwise. Everyone makes attempts to organize him or herself. If, inspire of this you have too much to do, if you have too little time in witch to do it if coping with the urgent means you never get to all the important things on your list. Then this book is for you. If your desk piled with untidy heaps of paper you are constantly interrupted your deadlines are impossible and if you despair of ever being able to get your head above water then this book is for you too in fact you probably cannot do without it.


It is unlikely that anyone writes anything, certainly anything factual like this book, without drawing on a host of influences from their past. My own expertise is in marketing, and in this, like any function in business, the pressure to be effective in terms of time management is just as great as in any other area. So, like many people before me no doubt, as soon as I had some responsibility in my career, I noticed the pressure on time and began to search around for ways of doing more in less time. I even attended a short course on time management (long courses on time management are perhaps a contradiction in terms). I run such courses myself nowadays and like to think it is a topic I know something about.

But no one is perfect in this area. I continue to struggle with bad habits and try to remember to practice what I preach, but I like to think that overall, the pattern of my working is essentially efficient. If it is, then this is because I have begged, borrowed and stolen ideas along the way and built up a way of planning and organizing what I do that suites to me. So thanks are due to all those I have met and worked with along the way who has wittingly or UN wittingly contributed to this experience. Some have contributed good ideas – others have exhibited dramatic warning by their behavior!

Having said that, I would like to record here that the manuscript for this book was delivered to the publishers on time, as I write this last page, I hope subsequent publication will also be on schedule.


Time management is not easy. Nor, is it something that anyone gets one hundred per cent right even for those who work at it. If you think that is a rather ominous start to a review of the subject, there is worse to come. In his book What’s Wrong with the World, the classic author G.K Chesterton wrote: “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult, and left untried”- so too with time management, just because it is difficult, and to give up on it, Letting things take their course and muddling through somehow.

But, and it is a positive but, you can make a difference and such a difference can not only be worthwhile, it can make a radical difference to both job and career.

In another book in this series, 101 Ways to Develop Your Career, I list time management as a key major factor differentiating people of otherwise equal talent and ability. It influences who succeeds and who does not, or at least who does better. It does so by affecting not only what you are able to achieve, but also how you are perceived within the organization. I believe this to be true. It makes your attitude to time management very important, for not only does it have the overriding effect mentioned above, it affects your work day by day, hour by hour, in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity, as well as conditioning the pressure that goes with it. So although it may take some thought, getting to grips with your own personal system of time management is immensely very important.

Time management is essentially self-management; it demands discipline, but a discipline that is reinforced by habit. Bad habits are difficult to shift (and some of that may be necessary in reviewing the way you work), but good habits help ensure that a well-organized approach is brought to bear consistently on the way you plan and work. More good news; this means that time management gets easier the more you work at it. So unless, you are a paragon of time efficient virtue, a review of whether you are working in the best way possible is likely to be worthwhile.

Making time management work for you is based on two key factors. These are how you plan your time and how you implement the detail of what you do. The first of these, which is reviewed early on in this book, creates the foundation on which you build and work. The second consists of a multitude of operation factors, practices, hints, tricks and methods all of which can individually positively affect the way in which you work. What is more, there is cumulative effect at work here. The more you develop the” tricks of trade” that work for you, the more time efficient your way of working will become.

One final point by way of introduction: unlike many improvements to efficiency, the majority of the tactics reviewed here cost nothing. If you work for the kind of organization where submitting requisitions for new equipment, particularly if it seems mostly for your own personal convenience, is not always instantly welcomed and sanctioned, then this is an area where you can seek improvement without undue cost. All you need is a little time!

Before We Start

Murphy’s Ten Laws Of Time Management

Why these ubiquitous laws should be known as Murphy’s it long lost in the mists of time (perhaps it is because, being an Irish name, it links to a country where the nearest equivalent is, they will tell you nothing comes lose. Even so, it is, in part, the relaxed attitude to time that gives Ireland its considerable charm). However they came by that name, they are worth quoting as we start this review, and worth bearing in mind as a link with the real world in which we all have to operate.

  1. If anything can go wrong it will do so.

  2. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

  3. If you mess with something for long enough, it will break.

  4. If you try to please everybody, somebody won’t like it.

  5. Nothing ever works out exactly as you expect.

  6. Whatever you want to do, there is always something else you have to do first.

  7. If you explain something so that no one could possibly misunderstand, someone will.

  8. Nothing is certain until it has happened (and then you should check it more than once).

  9. If everything is going according to plan, then it is sure sign that something is about to go wrong.

  10. The only predictable thing about your day is that something totally unexpected will happen.

You doubtless know the feeling conjured up by these “laws” only too well. As I said in the introduction, no one manages their time perfectly-not least because there are so many things conspiring to prevent it. Let us turn, how ever, to the first point and begin to see how we can move in the right direction.

First we review a number of points, different in nature, but all fundamental to getting yourself well organized and managing your time well. Time management is not only a question of a few “tricks of the trade” to save time and keep your paperwork tidy, it involves techniques, indeed a whole way of working, that must underlie all your actions and interface with all the facets of your job. That is why some of these first factors are rather all-embracing, and implementing what is implied here must be done with an eye on the whole of the rest of your job. They start with the need to assess how you work now.

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