Thursday, October 13, 2011

Entrepreneurship (6)

Go It Alone or Team Up

New entrepreneurs consider many factors when starting a business

(The following one-page essay is taken from the U.S. Department of State publication, Principles of Entrepreneurship.)

Go It Alone or Team Up?

One important choice that new entrepreneurs have to make is whether to start a business alone or with other entrepreneurs. They need to consider many factors, including each entrepreneur's personal qualities and skills and the nature of the planned business.

In the United States, for instance, studies show that almost half of all new businesses are created by teams of two or more people. Often the people know each other well; in fact, it is common for teams to be spouses.

There are many advantages to starting a firm with other entrepreneurs. Team members share decision-making and management responsibilities. They can also give each other emotional support, which can help reduce individual stress.

Companies formed by teams have somewhat lower risks. If one of the founders is unavailable to handle his or her duties, another can step in.

Team interactions often generate creativity. Members of a team can bounce ideas off each other and “brainstorm” solutions to problems.

Studies show that investors and banks seem to prefer financing new businesses started by more than one entrepreneur. This alone may justify forming a team.

Other important benefits of teaming come from combining monetary resources and expertise. In the best situations, team members have complementary skills. One may be experienced in engineering, for example, and the other may be an expert in promotion.

In general, strong teams have a better chance at success. In Entrepreneurs in High Technology, Professor Edward Roberts of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) reported that technology companies formed by entrepreneurial teams have a lower rate of failure than those started by individuals. This is particularly true when the team includes a marketing expert.

Entrepreneurs of different ages can create complementary teams also. Optimism and a "can-do" spirit characterize youth, while age brings experience and realism. In 1994, for example, Marc Andreessen was a talented young computer scientist with an innovative idea. James Clark, the founder and chairman of Silicon Graphics, saw his vision. Together they created Netscape Navigator, the Internet-browsing computer software that transformed personal computing.

But entrepreneurial teams have potential disadvantages as well. First, teams share ownership. In general, entrepreneurs should not offer to share ownership unless the potential partner can make a significant contribution to the venture.

Teams share control in making decisions. This may create a problem if a team member has poor judgment or work habits.

Most teams eventually experience serious conflict. This may involve management plans, operational procedures, or future goals. It may stem from an unequal commitment of time or a personality clash. Sometimes such conflicts can be resolved; in others, a conflict can even lead to selling the company or, worse, to its failure.

It is important for a new entrepreneur to be aware of potential problems while considering the advantages of working with other entrepreneurs. In general, however, the benefits of teaming outweigh the risks.

[Author Jeanne Holden is a free-lance writer with expertise in economic issues. She worked as a writer-editor in the U.S. Information Agency for 17 years.]

Peter Drucker On Leadership
Rich Karlgaard, 11.19.04, 6:00 AM ET

NEW YORK - Peter F. Drucker was born 95 years ago today--can it be possible?--in Vienna. The universally known writer, thinker and lecturer now is nearly deaf and doesn't get around like he used to. He stopped giving media interviews about a year ago. But in late October, Drucker granted an exception to at the urging of Dr. Rick Warren, the founder and head of the Christian evangelical Saddleback Community Church in Lake Forest, Calif.

Peter F. Drucker at his home in California
The Drucker-Warren relationship may surprise many readers, but it goes back two decades, to when the young minister came to Drucker for advice. Under Drucker's tutelage, Warren's own success as a spiritual entrepreneur has been considerable. Saddleback has grown to 15,000 members and has helped start another 60 churches throughout the world. Warren's 2001 book, The Purpose-Driven Life, is this decade's best seller with 19.5 million copies sold so far and compiling at the rate of 500,000 per month.

Warren and I met at Drucker's surprisingly spartan home in Claremont, Calif., on a cloudy Tuesday morning. We were greeted by Drucker's wife, Doris, and ushered into the den for what developed into a two-hour conversation. During the first 30 minutes, Drucker--a religious man himself, albeit of a more muted Episcopalian type as compared to Warren's exuberant brand of Southern Baptist--advised Warren on the challenges of ministry and church building. This consultation is one Drucker and Warren have engaged in twice yearly for two decades. For the last 90 minutes we moved to broader topics. Below are Drucker's thoughts on leadership. (Click here for Drucker's official biography.)

What Needs to Be Done

Successful leaders don't start out asking, "What do I want to do?" They ask, "What needs to be done?" Then they ask, "Of those things that would make a difference, which are right for me?" They don't tackle things they aren't good at. They make sure other necessities get done, but not by them. Successful leaders make sure that they succeed! They are not afraid of strength in others. Andrew Carnegie wanted to put on his gravestone, "Here lies a man who knew how to put into his service more able men than he was himself."

Check Your Performance

Effective leaders check their performance. They write down, "What do I hope to achieve if I take on this assignment?" They put away their goals for six months and then come back and check their performance against goals. This way, they find out what they do well and what they do poorly. They also find out whether they picked the truly important things to do. I've seen a great many people who are exceedingly good at execution, but exceedingly poor at picking the important things. They are magnificent at getting the unimportant things done. They have an impressive record of achievement on trivial matters.

Mission Driven

Leaders communicate in the sense that people around them know what they are trying to do. They are purpose driven--yes, mission driven. They know how to establish a mission. And another thing, they know how to say no. The pressure on leaders to do 984 different things is unbearable, so the effective ones learn how to say no and stick with it. They don't suffocate themselves as a result. Too many leaders try to do a little bit of 25 things and get nothing done. They are very popular because they always say yes. But they get nothing done.

Creative Abandonment

A critical question for leaders is, "When do you stop pouring resources into things that have achieved their purpose?" The most dangerous traps for a leader are those near-successes where everybody says that if you just give it another big push it will go over the top. One tries it once. One tries it twice. One tries it a third time. But, by then it should be obvious this will be very hard to do. So, I always advise my friend Rick Warren, "Don't tell me what you're doing, Rick. Tell me what you stopped doing."

The Rise of the Modern Multinational

The modern multinational corporation was invented in 1859. Siemens invented it because the English Siemens company had grown faster than the German parent. Before the Second World War, IBM was a small maker, not of computers, but of adding machines. They had one branch in England, which was very typical for the era. In the 1920s, General Motors bought a German and English and then Australian automobile manufacturer. The first time somebody from Detroit actually visited the European subsidiaries was in 1950. A trip to Europe was a big trip. You were gone three months. I still remember the excitement when the then head of GM went to Europe in the 1920s to buy the European properties. He never went back.

21st Century Organizations

Let me give you one example. This happens to be a consulting firm headquartered in Boston. Each morning, between 8 A.M. and 9 A.M. Boston time, which is 5 A.M. in the morning here in California and 11 P.M. in Tokyo, the firm conducts a one-hour management meeting on the Internet. That would have been inconceivable a few years back when you couldn't have done it physically. And for a few years, I worked with this firm closely and I had rented a room in a nearby motel and put in a videoconferencing screen. Once a week, I participated in this Internet meeting and we could do it quite easily, successfully. As a result of which, that consulting firm is not organized around localities but around clients.

How To Lead a 21st Century Organization

Don't travel so much. Organize your travel. It is important that you see people and that you are seen by people maybe once or twice a year. Otherwise, don't travel. Make them come to see you. Use technology--it is cheaper than traveling. I don't know anybody who can work while traveling. Do you? The second thing to say is make sure that your subsidiaries and foreign offices take up the responsibility to keep you informed. So, ask them twice a year, "What activities do you need to report to me?" Also ask them, "What about my activity and my plans do you need to know from me?" The second question is just as important.

Prisoner of Your Own Organization

When you are the chief executive, you're the prisoner of your organization. The moment you're in the office, everybody comes to you and wants something, and it is useless to lock the door. They'll break in. So, you have to get outside the office. But still, that isn't traveling. That's being at home or having a secret office elsewhere. When you're alone, in your secret office, ask the question, "What needs to be done?" Develop your priorities and don't have more than two. I don't know anybody who can do three things at the same time and do them well. Do one task at a time or two tasks at a time. That's it. OK, two works better for most. Most people need the change of pace. But, when you are finished with two jobs or reach the point where it's futile, make the list again. Don't go back to priority three. At that point, it's obsolete.

How Organizations Fall Down

Make sure the people with whom you work understand your priorities. Where organizations fall down is when they have to guess at what the boss is working at, and they invariably guess wrong. So the CEO needs to say, "This is what I am focusing on." Then the CEO needs to ask of his associates, "What are you focusing on?" Ask your associates, "You put this on top of your priority list--why?" The reason may be the right one, but it may also be that this associate of yours is a salesman who persuades you that his priorities are correct when they are not. So, make sure that you understand your associates' priorities and make sure that after you have that conversation, you sit down and drop them a two-page note--"This is what I think we discussed. This is what I think we decided. This is what I think you committed yourself to within what time frame." Finally, ask them, "What do you expect from me as you seek to achieve your goals?"

The Transition from Entrepreneur to Large Company CEO

Again, let's start out discussing what not to do. Don't try to be somebody else. By now you have your style. This is how you get things done. Don't take on things you don't believe in and that you yourself are not good at. Learn to say no. Effective leaders match the objective needs of their company with the subjective competencies. As a result, they get an enormous amount of things done fast.

How Capable Leaders Blow It

One of the ablest men I've worked with, and this is a long time back, was Germany's last pre-World War II democratic chancellor, Dr. Heinrich Bruning. He had an incredible ability to see the heart of a problem. But he was very weak on financial matters. He should have delegated but he wasted endless hours on budgets and performed poorly. This was a terrible failing during a Depression and it led to Hitler. Never try to be an expert if you are not. Build on your strengths and find strong people to do the other necessary tasks.

The Danger Of Charisma

You know, I was the first one to talk about leadership 50 years ago, but there is too much talk, too much emphasis on it today and not enough on effectiveness. The only thing you can say about a leader is that a leader is somebody who has followers. The most charismatic leaders of the last century were called Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Mussolini. They were mis-leaders! Charismatic leadership by itself certainly is greatly overstated. Look, one of the most effective American presidents of the last 100 years was Harry Truman. He didn't have an ounce of charisma. Truman was as bland as a dead mackerel. Everybody who worked for him worshiped him because he was absolutely trustworthy. If Truman said no, it was no, and if he said yes, it was yes. And he didn't say no to one person and yes to the next one on the same issue. The other effective president of the last 100 years was Ronald Reagan. His great strength was not charisma, as is commonly thought, but that he knew exactly what he could do and what he could not do.

How To Reinvigorate People

Within organizations there are people who, typically in their 40s, hit a midlife crisis when they realize that they won't make it to the top or discover that they are not yet first-rate. This happens to engineers and accountants and technicians. The worst midlife crisis is that of physicians, as you know. They all have a severe midlife crisis. Basically, their work becomes awfully boring. Just imagine seeing nothing for 30 years but people with a skin rash. They have a midlife crisis, and that's when they take to the bottle. How do you save these people? Give them a parallel challenge. Without that, they'll soon take to drinking or to sleeping around. In a coeducational college, they sleep around and drink. The two things are not incompatible, alas! Encourage people facing a midlife crisis to apply their skills in the non-profit sector.

Character Development

We have talked a lot about executive development. We have been mostly talking about developing people's strength and giving them experiences. Character is not developed that way. That is developed inside and not outside. I think churches and synagogues and the 12-step recovery programs are the main development agents of character today.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Entrepreneurship (5)

Read chapters seven and sixteen of Principles of Entrepreneurship.

Entry Strategies for New Ventures

(The following one-page essay is taken from the U.S. Department of State publication, Principles of Entrepreneurship.)

Entry Strategies for New Ventures

It is easy to be captivated by the promise of entrepreneurship and the lure of becoming one's own boss. It can be difficult, however, for a prospective entrepreneur to determine what product or service to provide. Many factors need to be considered, including: an idea's market potential, the competition, financial resources, and one's skills and interests. Then it is important to ask: Why would a consumer choose to buy goods or services from this new firm?

One important factor is the uniqueness of the idea. By making a venture stand out from its competitors, uniqueness can help facilitate the entry of a new product or service into the market.

It is best to avoid an entry strategy based on low cost alone. New ventures tend to be small. Large firms usually have the advantage of lowering costs by producing large quantities.

Successful entrepreneurs often distinguish their ventures through differentiation, niche specification, and innovation.

• Differentiation is an attempt to separate the new company's product or service from that of its competitors. When differentiation is successful, the new product or service is relatively less sensitive to price fluctuations because customers value the quality that makes the product unique.

A product can be functionally similar to its competitors' product but have features that improve its operation, for example. It may be smaller, lighter, easier to use or install, etc. In 1982, Compaq Computer began competing with Apple and IBM. Its first product was a single-unit personal computer with a handle. The concept of a portable computer was new and extremely successful.

• Niche specification is an attempt to provide a product or service that fulfills the needs of a specific subset of consumers. By focusing on a fairly narrow market sector, a new venture may satisfy customer needs better than larger competitors can.

Changes in population characteristics may create opportunities to serve niche markets. One growing market segment in developed countries comprises people over 65 years old. Other niches include groups defined by interests or lifestyle, such as fitness enthusiasts, adventure-travel buffs, and working parents. In fact, some entrepreneurs specialize in making "homemade" dinners for working parents to heat and serve.

• Innovation is perhaps the defining characteristic of entrepreneurship. Visionary business expert Peter F. Drucker explained innovation as "change that creates a new dimension of performance." There are two main types of product innovation. Pioneering or radical innovation embodies a technological breakthrough or new-to-the-world product. Incremental innovations are modifications of existing products.

But innovation occurs in all aspects of businesses, from manufacturing processes to pricing policy. Tom Monaghan's decision in the late 1960s to create Domino's Pizza based on home delivery and Jeff Bezos's decision in 1995 to launch as a totally online bookstore are examples of innovative distribution strategies that revolutionized the marketplace.

Entrepreneurs in less-developed countries often innovate by imitating and adapting products created in developed countries. Drucker called this process "creative imitation." Creative imitation takes place whenever the imitators understand how an innovation can be applied, used, or sold in their particular market better than the original creators do.

Innovation, differentiation, and/or market specification are effective strategies to help a new venture to attract customers and start making sales.

[Author Jeanne Holden is a free-lance writer with expertise in economic issues. She worked as a writer-editor in the U.S. Information Agency for 17 years.]

The Strengths of Small Business

Small businesses have flexibility to innovate, create new products, services

(The following one-page essay is taken from the U.S. Department of State publication, Principles of Entrepreneurship.)

The Strengths of Small Business

Any entrepreneur who is contemplating a new venture should examine the strengths of small businesses as compared to large ones and make the most of those competitive advantages. With careful planning, an entrepreneur can lessen the advantages of the large business vis-à-vis his operation and thereby increase his chances for success.

The strengths of large businesses are well documented. They have greater financial resources than small firms and therefore can offer a full product line and invest in product development and marketing. They benefit from economies of scale because they manufacture large quantities of products, resulting in lower costs and potentially lower prices. Many large firms have the credibility that a well-known name provides and the support of a large organization.

How can a small firm possibly compete?

In general, small start-up firms have greater flexibility than larger firms and the capacity to respond promptly to industry or community developments. They are able to innovate and create new products and services more rapidly and creatively than larger companies that are mired in bureaucracy. Whether reacting to changes in fashion, demographics, or a competitor's advertising, a small firm usually can make decisions in days – not months or years.

A small firm has the ability to modify its products or services in response to unique customer needs. The average entrepreneur or manager of a small business knows his customer base far better than one in a large company. If a modification in the products or services offered – or even the business's hours of operation – would better serve the customers, it is possible for a small firm to make changes. Customers can even have a role in product development.

Another strength comes from the involvement of highly skilled personnel in all aspects of a start-up business. In particular, start-ups benefit from having senior partners or managers working on tasks below their highest skill level. For example, when entrepreneur William J. Stolze helped start RF Communications in 1961 in Rochester, New York, three of the founders came from the huge corporation General Dynamics, where they held senior marketing and engineering positions. In the new venture, the marketing expert had the title "president" but actually worked to get orders. The senior engineers were no longer supervisors; instead, they were designing products. As Stolze said in his book Start Up, "In most start-ups that I know of, the key managers have stepped back from much more responsible positions in larger companies, and this gives the new company an immense competitive advantage."

Another strength of a start-up is that the people involved – the entrepreneur, any partners, advisers, employees, or even family members – have a passionate, almost compulsive, desire to succeed. This makes them work harder and better.

Finally, many small businesses and start-up ventures have an intangible quality that comes from people who are fully engaged and doing what they want to do. This is "the entrepreneurial spirit," the atmosphere of fun and excitement that is generated when people work together to create an opportunity for greater success than is otherwise available. This can attract workers and inspire them to do their best.

[Author Jeanne Holden is a free-lance writer with expertise in economic issues. She worked as a writer-editor in the U.S. Information Agency for 17 years.]

Leadership (5-6)

Decision Making Process

Unit Highlights
It was Ian E. Wilson, Chairman of the General Electric Corporation who noticed that our knowledge is about the past and all our decisions are about the future. Have you ever thought about that? In the next two units we will examine the past and learn from it to move into the future of better and more strategic decisions. Moreover, as part of your time management exercise, you will be asked to manage your time for the two units and all materials for the two units will be provided all at once. Thus, you will have to prepare your own plan when you will do all the tasks required in the two units and submit your work on time. Are you already stressed out? No need to be. Time management and decision making process are skills, like all others—the more you exercise, the better you become at them. You will also learn the basics of stress management and to ease your planning, you will be provided with an empty space of unit 6 that you will have to fill with tasks to ease the planning process for you.

Remember, your work for the two weeks is all included in this unit and it is up to you to manage it: divide it into manageable chunks and allocate time as needed. You will have to decide what you will do and when.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
Are decisions made or taken? Grammatically, of course, they are made in English and taken while relying on prior knowledge and experience of others, in French. However, if we stop for a moment to reflect on this significant difference, we might realize that the above noted grammar issue might be revealing common questions that arise with decision making: how do we reach a decision and what kind of conversations based on deep understanding of the issues at hand we must have prior to acting on our decisions. What grammar implies here is that if we follow the English language path, we create the decision making process-step-by-step to make it. Or, if we ascribe to the French language example, we search for the decision to ``take`` it because we might believe that a similar decision exists somewhere in the universe and perhaps someone else has already created it and we could just join in the group to ease the process for ourselves. What do you think?

In your mother tongue are decisions made, taken, or something else happens to them? To what extent do you think this notion of making or taking decisions has an effect on how you reach your decisions? Do you usually try to ask others for advice, or do you consult others, but realize that you have to create YOUR DECISION from A to Z? Are you comfortable with decisions because they are part of life or are you trying to avoid making decisions only to find out that others will gladly do it for you, but you will have to pay the price? Of course, there are many other complicating factors here, and we do not want to imply that Anglophones or Francophones are in any ways better in making or taking decisions, but merely imply a notion that we all differ in viewing and practicing the decision making process. We differ to the point of realizing that there is a significant gap in decision making process that describes one as a Manager and another one as a Leader. We will study in unit 7, that decision making process, like many others might be very much culturally based, thus you, as a student and future business leader will need to be cognizant of your cultural background, biases and tendencies at any times.

In today’s globalized world the issues of collective or individualistic approaches in decision making process are part of our contemporary reality and anyone running a business needs to be aware of existing differences in approaches related to decision making. Based on our make and take example could we state that Francophones tend to be more collective and Anglophones more individualistic when it comes to decisions and that is why there is different verb choice in the two respective languages? Let’s leave this question for now as we will study these issues later while examining the topic of diversity in unit 7.

At this point, though, you do need to ask yourself a question: how did you reach decisions in the past and and how did you learn from good and no so good decisions? Moreover, you need to become cognizant of how your individual preferences could impede making decisions on organisational level, and how to leverage your style to get the most benefit for your future organisation and its employees.

Introduction Whom have you been asking for direction?

One day, Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. `Which road do I take? ‘she asked. Its response was a question. `Where do you want to go? ` Ì don’t know ‘Alice answered. `Then, `said the cat, it doesn’t matter. `

Lewis Caroll

Yes, it does matter where we are going and how are our planning skills. Do you know where you are going? Are you clear about your objectives? Do you understand the process of decision making? In this unit we will examine the decision making process and look at important elements of decision making. It is really important while learning about the decision making process to fully appreciate that we need to live with our decisions, and as leaders, our decisions impact a lot of people who need to live with not only the decisions but also the changed realities. Leaders’ decisions impact all areas of our lives, including performance, environment, budgeting, quality of life, future outcomes related to local and global economies, safety, etc.

When we have to follow the process of decision making, we also need to rely on our questioning skills: Did we take into account all necessary factors? Are we proactive? Do we have biases? What are they? Did we consult the stakeholders? Did we follow someone else’s path or did we have to create a new path? What about consequences? What would be the best future for our corporation? Did we take into account short term and long term consequences? Did we consider implications stemming from creating precedence? Do we have tools or patterns that we could use in the decision making process? What are the expected organisational outcomes?

We have started working on posing strategic questions in the previous two units and you will be able to appreciate in this unit how important it is to pose strategic questions while deciding. You will discover this while continuing to sharpen your asking questions skills in this unit as well.

Wait a moment. Maybe decisions are sometimes made and sometimes taken and some other times. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(fill in the gaps to indicate whatever happens to decision in your mother tongue). Let’s find out.

Visit the following website created by Dr. Hossein Arsham
from the Merrick School of Business, University of Baltimore:
and read the following chapters on Leadership Decision Making:
1. Introduction and Summary
2. How People Avoid Making Serious Decisions
3. When One Should Not Make Serious Decisions
4. How to Make Good Decisions
5. Decisions Concerning Personal Life
6. Problem of Determination of Values and Rank among Values
7. Thinkable Decisions and the Economy of Strategic Thinking
8. What Is Man? Man Has No Nature, But Has History
9. How the Mind Works: From Deciding to Action
10. How to Distinguish among Rumor, Belief, Opinion, and Fact
11. Leadership versus Managerial's Duties and Styles

Time management is the act or process of exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase efficiency or productivity. Time management may be aided by a range of skills, tools, and techniques used to manage time when accomplishing specific tasks, projects and goals. This set encompasses a wide scope of activities, and these include planning, allocating, setting goals, delegation, analysis of time spent, monitoring, organizing, scheduling, and prioritizing. Initially, time management referred to just business or work activities, but eventually the term broadened to include personal activities as well. A time management system is a designed combination of processes, tools, techniques, and methods. Usually time management is a necessity in any project development as it determines the project completion time and scope.


Stephen R. Covey has offered a categorization scheme for the hundreds of time management approaches that they reviewed:

* First generation: reminders based on clocks and watches, but with computer implementation possible; can be used to alert a person when a task is to be done.
* Second generation: planning and preparation based on calendar and appointment books; includes setting goals.
* Third generation: planning, prioritizing, controlling (using a personal organizer, other paper-based objects, or computer or PDA-based systems) activities on a daily basis. This approach implies spending some time in clarifying values and priorities.
* Fourth generation: being efficient and proactive using any of the above tools; places goals and roles as the controlling element of the system and favors importance over urgency.[1][2]

Time management literature can be paraphrased as follows:

* "Get Organized" - paperwork and task triage
* "Protect Your Time" - insulate, isolate, delegate
* "Set gravitational goals" - that attract actions automatically
* "Achieve through Goal management Goal Focus" - motivational emphasis
* "Work in Priority Order" - set goals and prioritize
* "Use Magical Tools to Get More Out of Your Time" - depends on when written
* "Master the Skills of Time Management"
* "Go with the Flow" - natural rhythms, Eastern philosophy
* "Recover from Bad Time Habits" - recovery from underlying psychological problems, e.g. procrastination

More unconventional time usage techniques, such as those discussed in "Where Did Time Fly,"[3] include concepts that can be paraphrased as "Less is More," which de-emphasizes the importance of squeezing every minute of your time, as suggested in traditional time management schemes.

In recent years, several authors have discussed time management as applied to the issue of digital information overload, in particular, Tim Ferriss with "The 4 hour workweek",[4] and Stefania Lucchetti with "The Principle of Relevance"[5]
[edit] Time management and related concepts

Time management has been considered as subsets of different concepts such as:

* Project management. Time Management can be considered as a project management subset and is more commonly known as project planning and project scheduling. Time Management has also been identified as one of the core functions identified in project management.[6]
* Attention management: Attention Management relates to the management of cognitive resources, and in particular the time that humans allocate their mind (and organizations the minds of their employees) to conduct some activities.
* Personal knowledge management: see below (Personal time management).

[edit] Conceptual effect on labor

Professor Stephen Smith, of BYUI, is among recent sociologists that have shown that the way workers view time is connected to social issues such as the institution of family, gender roles, and the amount of labor by the individual.[7]
[edit] Personal Time Management

Time management strategies are often associated with the recommendation to set personal goals. These goals are recorded and may be broken down into a project, an action plan, or a simple task list. For individual tasks or for goals, an importance rating may be established, deadlines may be set, and priorities assigned. This process results in a plan with a task list or a schedule or calendar of activities. Authors may recommend a daily, weekly, monthly or other planning periods associated with different scope of planning or review. This is done in various ways, as follows.

Time management also covers how to eliminate tasks that don't provide the individual or organization value.
[edit] Task list

A task list (also to-do list or things-to-do) is a list of tasks to be completed, such as chores or steps toward completing a project. It is an inventory tool which serves as an alternative or supplement to memory.

Task lists are used in self-management, grocery lists, business management, project management, and software development. It may involve more than one list.

When one of the items on a task list is accomplished, the task is checked or crossed off. The traditional method is to write these on a piece of paper with a pen or pencil, usually on a note pad or clip-board.

Writer Julie Morgenstern suggests "do's and don'ts" of time management that include:

* Map out everything that is important, by making a task list
* Create "an oasis of time" for one to control
* Say "No"
* Set priorities
* Don't drop everything
* Don't think a critical task will get done in spare time.[8]

Numerous digital equivalents are now available, including PIM (Personal information management) applications and most PDAs. There are also several web-based task list applications, many of which are free.[9]
[edit] Task list organization

Task lists are often tiered. The simplest tiered system includes a general to-do list (or task-holding file) to record all the tasks the person needs to accomplish, and a daily to-do list which is created each day by transferring tasks from the general to-do list.[8]

Task lists are often prioritized:

* An early advocate of "ABC" prioritization was Alan Lakein. In his system "A" items were the most important ("A-1" the most important within that group), "B" next most important, "C" least important.[10]

* A particular method of applying the ABC method[11] assigns "A" to tasks to be done within a day, "B" a week, and "C" a month.

* To prioritize a daily task list, one either records the tasks in the order of highest priority, or assigns them a number after they are listed ("1" for highest priority, "2" for second highest priority, etc.) which indicates in which order to execute the tasks. The latter method is generally faster, allowing the tasks to be recorded more quickly.[8]

* Another way of prioritizing compulsory tasks (group A) is to put the most unpleasant one first. When it’s done, the rest of the list feels easier. Groups B and C can benefit from the same idea, but instead of doing the first task (which is the most unpleasant) right away, it gives motivation to do other tasks from the list to avoid the first one.[12]

* A completely different approach which argues against prioritising altogether was put forward by British author Mark Forster in his book "Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management". This is based on the idea of operating "closed" to-do lists, instead of the traditional "open" to-do list. He argues that the traditional never-ending to-do lists virtually guarantees that some of your work will be left undone. This approach advocates getting all your work done, every day, and if you are unable to achieve it helps you diagnose where you are going wrong and what needs to change.[13]

[edit] Software applications

Modern task list applications may have built-in task hierarchy (tasks are composed of subtasks which again may contain subtasks),[14] may support multiple methods of filtering and ordering the list of tasks, and may allow one to associate arbitrarily long notes for each task.

In contrast to the concept of allowing the person to use multiple filtering methods, at least one new software product additionally contains a mode where the software will attempt to dynamically determine the best tasks for any given moment.[15]

Many of the software products for time management support multiple users. It allows the person to give tasks to other users and use the software for communication[16]

In law firms, law practice management software may also assist in time management.

Task list applications may be thought of as lightweight personal information manager or project management software.
[edit] Attention Deficit Disorder

Excessive and chronic inability to manage time effectively may be a result of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Diagnostic criteria include: A sense of underachievement, difficulty getting organized, trouble getting started, many projects going simultaneously and trouble with follow-through.[17]

* Prefrontal cortex: The prefrontal cortex is the most recently evolved part of the brain. It controls the functions of attention span, impulse control, organization, learning from experience and self-monitoring, among others. Some authors argue that changing the way the prefrontal cortex works is possible and offers a solution.[18]

[edit] Caveats
[edit] Dwelling on the lists

* According to Sandberg,[19] task lists "aren't the key to productivity [that] they're cracked up to be". He reports an estimated "30% of listers spend more time managing their lists than [they do] completing what's on them".

* This could be caused by procrastination by prolonging the planning activity. This is akin to analysis paralysis. As with any activity, there's a point of diminishing returns.

[edit] Rigid adherence

* Hendrickson asserts[20] that rigid adherence to task lists can create a "tyranny of the to-do list" that forces one to "waste time on unimportant activities".

* Again, the point of diminishing returns applies here too, but toward the size of the task. Some level of detail must be taken for granted for a task system to work. Rather than put "clean the kitchen", "clean the bedroom", and "clean the bathroom", it is more efficient to put "housekeeping" and save time spent writing and reduce the system's administrative load (each task entered into the system generates a cost in time and effort to manage it, aside from the execution of the task). The risk of consolidating tasks, however, is that "housekeeping" in this example may prove overwhelming or nebulously defined, which will either increase the risk of procrastination, or a mismanaged project.[citation needed]

* Listing routine tasks wastes time. If you are in the habit of brushing your teeth every day, then there is no reason to put it down on the task list. The same goes for getting out of bed, fixing meals, etc. If you need to track routine tasks, then a standard list or chart may be useful, to avoid the procedure of manually listing these items over and over.[citation needed]

* To remain flexible, a task system must allow for disaster. A disaster occurs constantly whether it is personal or business-related. A company must have a cushion of time ready for a disaster. Even if it is a small disaster, if no one made time for this situation, it can blow up bigger, causing the company to bankruptcy just because of poor time management.[21]

* To avoid getting stuck in a wasteful pattern, the task system should also include regular (monthly, semi-annual, and annual) planning and system-evaluation sessions, to weed out inefficiencies and ensure the user is headed in the direction he or she truly desires.[22]

* If some time is not regularly spent on achieving long-range goals, the individual may get stuck in a perpetual holding pattern on short-term plans, like staying at a particular job much longer than originally planned.[citation needed]

[edit] Techniques for setting priorities

There are several ways to set priorities.
[edit] ABC analysis

A technique that has been used in business management for a long time is the categorization of large data into groups. These groups are often marked A, B, and C—hence the name. Activities are ranked upon these general criteria:

* A – Tasks that are perceived as being urgent and important,
* B – Tasks that are important but not urgent,
* C – Tasks that are neither urgent nor important.

Each group is then rank-ordered in priority. To further refine priority, some individuals choose to then force-rank all "B" items as either "A" or "C". ABC analysis can incorporate more than three groups.[10]

ABC analysis is frequently combined with Pareto analysis.
[edit] Pareto analysis

This is the idea that 80% of tasks can be completed in 20% of the disposable time. The remaining 20% of tasks will take up 80% of the time. This principle is used to sort tasks into two parts. According to this form of Pareto analysis it is recommended that tasks that fall into the first category be assigned a higher priority.

The 80-20-rule can also be applied to increase productivity: it is assumed that 80% of the productivity can be achieved by doing 20% of the tasks. Similarly, 80% of results can be attributed to 20% of activity.[23] If productivity is the aim of time management, then these tasks should be prioritized higher.

It depends on the method adopted to complete the task. There is always a simpler and easy way to complete the task. If one uses a complex way, it will be time consuming. So, one should always try to find out the alternate ways to complete each task.
[edit] The Eisenhower Method
A basic "Eisenhower box" to help evaluate urgency and importance. Items may be placed at more precise points within each quadrant.

All tasks are evaluated using the criteria important/unimportant and urgent/not urgent and put in according quadrants. Tasks in unimportant/not urgent are dropped, tasks in important/urgent are done immediately and personally, tasks in unimportant/urgent are delegated and tasks in important/not urgent get an end date and are done personally. This method is said to have been used by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and is outlined in a quote attributed to him: What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.[citation needed]
[edit] POSEC method

POSEC is an acronym for Prioritize by Organizing, Streamlining, Economizing and Contributing.

The method dictates a template which emphasizes an average individual's immediate sense of emotional and monetary security. It suggests that by attending to one's personal responsibilities first, an individual is better positioned to shoulder collective responsibilities.

Inherent in the acronym is a hierarchy of self-realization which mirrors Abraham Maslow's "Hierarchy of needs".

1. Prioritize - Your time and define your life by goals.
2. Organizing - Things you have to accomplish regularly to be successful. (Family and Finances)
3. Streamlining - Things you may not like to do, but must do. (Work and Chores)
4. Economizing - Things you should do or may even like to do, but they're not pressingly urgent. (Pastimes and Socializing)
5. Contributing - By paying attention to the few remaining things that make a difference. (Social Obligations).