Monday, 21 March 2011


The white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, whose ears and whiskers these are, cuts a very modern figure, oppressed by the tyranny of time.

If you want to think your way though the problem time pressure creates, read Leon’ Kreitzman’s “The 24 Hour Society” or listen to what Lawrie Philpott  thinks – his shortly to be published book “2,500 hours. All you’ve got!” is addressed at time-short CEOs.

Leon notes cavemen used to work 15 hours a week and whilst clock-time rules now - the first thought modern man and woman have on waking is “what time is it?”-   more primitive societies lived by event time – like rice-cooking-time or pissing-time. They worked shorter hours in winter. Their lives were controlled by the frontier of night. Life was simpler.

Lawrie focuses on the need to spend time on the right stuff with the 2,500 hours at our disposal. Don’t work longer as you’ll burn out or, in your weariness, make things worse (“oh my ears and whiskers” – that white rabbit was a classic case of  workaholic.) This hypothetical CEO’s aim is to make their time ensure that their workforce’s time is used best.

Both Leon and Lawrie (who are beginning to sound like a music hall act) recognise time is money and how the speed of change in a modern world has created time-inflation…in other words each second is worth less than it was.

Three brief observations:

1.    What senior managers need are “Time Lords” – people who teach how to allocate time in their organisation. We have business plans. What we also need are “time-plans”.
2.    Saving time saves money.
3.    Whichever way we look at it, we know too little time is spent on thinking creatively about the future and about change….by anyone.

This is not just a narrative about “time-management”. It’s a story about a global world where the smartest are looking at ways to cut and reallocate time and simplify what we do.

All the research I’m doing shows time-stress is spoiling lives, performance and creativity.

It’s time to call in some Time Lords and start thinking afresh.

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