My father used to be the most successful businessman in our family. Now, being retired, he can no longer fall back on many helpful hands such as his PA, a team leader or even my Mum who used to support him in the company.
Now my Dad needs to get things done on his own. And he is succeeding to a certain extent – in his mid-seventies he tries to use the laptop and understand the internet, and he uses Online Banking. However, when I visited him a few weeks ago, I saw his desk in his little study under the roof of the family home. What a mess! I had never seen anything like this on his desk in his company! Additionally, my Dad was grumpy and stroppy—something I was not used to from him. [In case you didn’t know, stroppy means belligerent.]
When I carefully tried to find out what happened, he mentioned that he simply doesn’t get those things done which are on his personal To Do list. His grandchildren, his wife, friends, and neighbours were always interrupting him—many, many times. It wasn’t that he didn’t like to chat with his neighbour or that he doesn’t love to see his little granddaughter as a circus artist, but he simply couldn’t get those things done he wanted to do.
That’s when I introduced the Time Lock out of Structured Time and Workflow Management (STWM) to my Dad. I know a lot has been said about this technique in different blogs – but we asked my niece and nephews to draw a wonderful Stop sign for their granddad, and it worked!
I have to admit, it felt a little awkward in the beginning to use a tool from the business context in the personal environment, but my Dad loves it and uses it frequently. He is so much more relaxed now. He’s happy with his items checked off on his mental To Do list, and has more quality time to give his undivided attention to his grandchildren, neighbours and friends.
Claudia Irmer is a Results Consultant for Cohen Brown Management (Europe) Ltd.