When Plans Fly out the Window

concentration is paramountBy Cindy Leverich


Earlier this year my frustration level reached an all-time high.

I have aggressive goals and project deadlines to meet, and to ensure I do just that I created a detailed plan.

The plan was good. Tasks were prioritized. Mornings are when I’m at my best, so that time was dedicated to completing the most difficult tasks. Rote administrative tasks were set for late in the day or the end of the week. I knew this plan was a winner.

I tacked my plan to the wall and started my first task on a Monday morning, and I allocated 90 minutes. I worked for 15 minutes on my project before the phone rang. Twenty minutes later I returned to my project, and got started again. I had 60 minutes left before my regular morning conference call with the team.

Ten minutes later the email beeps started up, and they all had that annoying red exclamation mark indicating they were urgent. So I stopped again to review email. Finance needed an updated pipeline report by noon; a colleague wanted to brainstorm the best approach for a prospect meeting; two new meetings had just populated my calendar and would take 3 hours out of my well-planned day.

The first 90 minutes of my day were done, but the project I hoped to complete was barely started. I put it aside for my first scheduled meeting.

During the meeting I received 15 emails and 4 voicemail messages. I looked at my plan, I looked at my emails, I looked at my calendar, and I looked at the clock. It was 8:30 a.m., and I was totally defeated, totally stressed, and couldn’t see any way to make my plan work.

I tore it off the wall, ripped it into tiny pieces, threw it in the trash, and took a coffee break.

Time Bandit Solution bookSound familiar? I’m sure it does. I spent years having Mondays like this until I learned I am responsible for stopping the interruptions! I must take more control of my time and stop letting the day “just happen.” I wish I could say I came upon the solution after much thought and reflection, but that’s not the case. I found the answer in the new book by Edward G. Brown— The Time Bandit Solution.

I’ve recaptured my time and reduced my stress, and I am meeting deadlines and goals, using deceptively simple, straightforward techniques like Time Locking and Focal Locking, and negotiating with colleagues. You can too.


Cohen Brown Management Group is the internally recognized leader in sales-and-service cultural and behavioral change, specializing in consulting and training processes for management, front-line, support/customer service units and call centers. Performance Grapevine provides thought leadership insights on sales training, sales management, leadership training, time management, consultative selling, behavior change, organization change, and culture change.


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