Abusing Time

From Harvard Business School comes an interesting piece on abusing time.

Managers categorize their employees in many ways. Some like to distinguish between extroverts and introverts. Others prefer to look at how willing or unwilling their employees are to take risks. Only rarely do top managers group their people according to their use or abuse of time, which is surprising given the impact it has on an organization's productivity and profitability. Anyone who has ever managed people who abuse time—whether they are chronic procrastinators or individuals who work obsessively to meet deadlines weeks in advance—knows how disruptive time abusers can be to a business's morale and operations.

Time abuse is very different from the common and well-covered problem of time management. While the vast majority of us can benefit from practical insights on how to organize our lives better, lessons in time management will have little impact on time abusers. That's because real time abuse results from psychological conflict that neither a workshop nor a manager's cajoling can easily cure. Indeed, the time abuser's quarrel isn't even with time but rather with a brittle self-esteem and an unconscious fear of being evaluated and found wanting. That's why you should focus your efforts on what makes a time abuser anxious instead of teaching him how to organize his day.

I think the procrastinators are fairly simple to deal with. They usually do alright if you give them smaller, more frequent deadlines. I've always struggled with perfectionists, because I am not one at all and can't relate to their overwhelming desire to get things 100% accurate. So I do struggle to manage such people and have them understand that time constraints may prevent us from waiting until someting is perfect. I haven't had much experience with the other two types.

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I think time management is a skill that can be taught to most anyone. It should be incorporated into employee training so that many of these problems will go away.