Hierarchy of the Un-Productive

I have noticed that when I work with people I am becoming quite a quick (and maybe unfair)judge of their ability to manage their time.

It might be because I have spent too much time thinking about and writing this blog, with its belt levels, time demands, practices, habits and the like.  I am always observing managers and executives to see what methods they are using to manage their time.

After all, almost everything I have learned about managing my own time has come from seeing what others are using — all I have done is to put some bits and pieces together to create the 2Time Management approach.

I have mentioned my acid-test on this blog:  when someone comes to me with a “great” idea I ask them to “call me next week Friday at 2:30pm.”  Most are unable to make the appointment, or even to remember that it was missed after the fact.  When confronted, they refer to their inability to remember stuff like that.

Here is a synopsis of professionals I have worked with who demonstrate different levels of productivity.  I might be a bit harsh in my judgments, but you may recognize some of these traits.

Alvin the Avoided
He is unreliable to the point that people around him refuse to work with him.  He may never know that he is being avoided, but he is the last person asked to undertake anything important.

Edna the Earnest
Edna is someone with the best intentions in the world, but none of the skills that it takes to manage her time well.  She lives and dies on the quality of her memory, and is reliable on good days, and simply awful on bad days.

Fred the Fearful
Fred does life simply — he refuses to do too much work for fear that it will be overwhelming.  His “plate is always full” and he is ready to provide  evidence of that sentiment at a moment’s notice.  He refuses to grow — the risk of failure is too great if he does and he insists on keeping things the same, no matter what.

Hurricane Harry
Harry is a very hard worker who always seems to be in the middle of a crisis.  He’s the right guy to have in such a case, but he’s hardy saving lives in the ER and he’s not a professional fireman.  The chaos around him makes him a dangerous person to entrust with very much, as it’s sure to be turned into a crisis of some kind instead of being resoved in an orderly, quiet manner.

There are others to be sure, and I am open to some suggestions to add to this list of observable types.