Time management guru Brian Tracey (Eat That Frog, 2001) says that, even on our deathbeds, we'll have at least 300 hours of stuff left to do. Personally I hope that's chores like mowing the lawn rather than treats like catching up with an old friend from primary school.

I'll keep this post short - so you can use the 30 seconds you'd spend reading a longer one on something else.

Time as a reason or excuse

"And what barriers might we face in adopting this new initiative/ strategy/ pedagogy/ marking system/ phonics programme etc.?", asked the leader, consultant, trainer and specialist.

"Time!' replied the teacher.

And quite correct too. But if the reflex response is a final and general 'not enough time', we miss the chance to ask a specific, 'how much time? and when?'

If you find yourself stuck in 'not enough time', ask, 'exactly how much time do I need, when, and how can I get it?' And when someone offers 'no time' to you as a reason or excuse, help them ask those questions and make the time they need.

I recently coached someone who discovered she'd spent around 20 minutes avoiding a difficult task that ended up taking 10 minutes to complete, all because she got stuck in 'not enough time'.

Eat That Frog Summary

Brian Tracey will tell it better than me but here's a summary:

List every task you need to do by a certain deadline (today, this week, this term etc.)

Categorise tasks as A, B, C or D:

A = the consequence of not doing it is very significant
B = the consequence of not doing it is significant
C = the consequence of not doing it is mild
D = tidying your desk, getting a coffee, checking email/news etc.

Then rank the A's 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. in order of significance (and the B's too).

Then do your A1. It's your frog. Do it now. Eat it now. You've been avoiding it, haven't you. And don't get distracted again by an easy D, save that for a treat later.

When the frog is gone, magically, all the other tasks become a whole lot easier. It feels like you've made time.

Thank-you for taking the time to read this. I hope it's been useful.