You thought you had a time management problem? Now there is something even more challenging.

Time Management Problem

For many of us, this will be the first full day back at work after the Easter break, beginning Q2 of 2018.

Over the 4-day weekend I spent a total of 12 hours in The Barrow Bunker, working “back stage” to prepare myself for a very busy 12 weeks ahead.

Many other business owners were doing the same, the occasional email or Facebook comment giving the game away that I wasn’t the only one.

The list really is endless and sometimes overwhelming but we have chosen this path for ourselves and must “take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures”.

I can manage task lists and have done since my very first W H Smith page-a-day diary in 1980.

Following the basic rules for time management has become an embedded habit; making the list, prioritising the list, making sure I do the A’s first – all of that is second nature.

What I do struggle with is the variety of incoming channels.

My devices send me notifications:

  • an email;
  • a Facebook profile, Page or Group comment;
  • a Messenger message;
  • a text message;
  • a Slack message;
  • an Instagram comment;
  • a Tweet;
  • a Linkedin message;
  • a WhatsApp message;
  • a blog comment;

Sometimes it feels like the old variety act of spinning plates on poles that fascinated me when I was a child – the performer adding more and more plates, running from one end of the row to the other, trying to keep them all going.

Just when you think you are on top of your emails, your WhatsApp feed goes mad.

Having dealt with that, you see that your team have been yelling at you on Slack.

Issue dealt with – but you’ve got Mail again.

And so it goes on.

I decided to add another plate to a pole over the weekend by joining an online group called The Happy Startup School.

Having downloaded their free e-book a few weeks ago, I’m interested in not just what they are doing but how they are doing it, using a new and unique social media platform.

I’ve signed up to their subscription service and I’m “onboarding” (as they say) at the moment – all part of my research but I now have another set of notifications waiting for me in the morning.

A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention

Herbert Simon 1971

The old problem was time management (which was really priority management).

The new problem is notification management.


Published by

Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.

One thought on “You thought you had a time management problem? Now there is something even more challenging.”

  1. I keep tweaking all the Notification settings all the time. A fine balance is necessary but only from essential apps. Slack and ToDoIst keeps it all professional. Nothing more is needed here.

    I need enough information to “know that projects are being managed”. I do not want to know every minute detail. I also don’t want total silence. Silence means something isn’t right.

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