The most common thought busy managers seem to have is some variation of, "So, where am I going to get the time to learn this stuff, much less practice it?" This is the 'Don't have time to sharpen the saw, I need to cut down this tree," problem. It is a real problem. It creates a real internal conflict for many people. TOC offers several nice benefits for those with this problem:
1. TOC's powerful conflict resolution tool, The Evaporating Cloud, allows you to directly resolve this dilemma for your own situation.
2. TOC's effective empowerment method, also based on the Evaporating Cloud, immediately helps a manager regain some of this lost time.
3. TOC provides a strategy for managers to focus. Always use the five step focusing process, and you are managing your time wisely.
The generic cloud below handles a wide range of potential causes for management overload. The basic conflict is, "do I change my schedule to accommodate other's demands, or do I not change my schedule." Not changing your schedule means focusing on the constraints that are important to your personal goals in life.
Read the cloud, starting at A, "In order to have the entity at the head of the arrow, I must first have the entity at the tail of the arrow. For example, from B->A, "In order to achieve my goals, I must satisfy other's urgent requests for my time."
Each arrow has underlying assumptions. For example, continuing on with B->A, "BECAUSE Other's urgent requests are more important than my planned activities." Or, "BECAUSE, There are not alternative ways to meet others' needs than by rescheduling my time."
The way to resolve your cloud is to identify an assumption you can break. When you break the assumption, you break the cloud. The conflict will no longer exist, and therefore you are free to achieve the objective of the cloud. For example, suppose your special assumption is something like assumption 4 on the D->B arrow, "In order to satisfy others' urgent requests for my time I must change my schedule to accommodate others BECAUSE the others will be angry with me if I do not accommodate their request."
(CONTINUE BELOW THE CLOUD)
An INJECTION that would make this assumption no longer true might be, "I develop a way to handle people's requests for my time that does not make them angry with me." For example, instead of saying something like, "Sorry, I have too much to do," substitute, "Gee, I really wished I were in a position to help you. I appreciate you asking for my help. I'm afraid this time, though, I have committed myself 100% to priorities that I can not change. I hope you can successfully get your need met."
They need not know that your higher priority really is your daughter's basketball game.
Hoping this little effort may some day help you lead a more fulfilling life,
Larry (Lawrence) Leach, PMP - Advanced Projects Institute