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Time management - Human nature

Human nature


Most of us are human beings and not robots.
In general, we do not assess an activity purely on logical grounds.
We have another agenda (we will get on to those later in the section covering ‘meetings’).

There are many aspects of human nature that affect how we make decisions.

Pleasing people

We try to please people. We hate confrontation. We hate to upset people.
I’m sure we can all recognise these ‘causes’.


We are not very keen on changing our ways and routines.
After all, we all believe that we are good at our jobs and that we pack a lot into our private lives.
Why consider changing? If it isn’t broken why mend it?

This is the point… we have to recognise that there is a problem.
We need to change habits


We have basic fears concerning the future and our own safety and that of our families.
This is most evident in pleasing the boss, particularly if redundancies are in the offing.

However, we all like to maintain a feeling of our worth and position in society.
This can lead to taking on activities instead of saying ‘No’ in order to impress.


People will do a lot to try to achieve their ambitions.
Clearly, having ambition is not the problem.
Many people will assume that being hardworking is a key factor in getting promotion. Well it may be one aspect but many managers want efficiency and hence productivity and not someone who ‘works all hours’.

Success in the work place is 10% what you do, 20% what you know and the rest is appearance.
If you look efficient that is half the battle, then you have to provide the goods. Moving up the managerial ladder requires delegation skills and organisation.
No one will promote you if these qualities are obviously lacking.

Pride in your own ability

We can do the best job and what’s more we are going to prove it. There is a natural reluctance to let someone else do a job if we believe that we can do it just as easily, if not better.
This can be exacerbated if the job is high profile.
We don’t like to be seen as being ineffective which leads to taking on more than is wise.
In addition, we don’t want to let others have the opportunity to show how good they are.
In particular, ‘delegation’ can be a big issue.

Being a perfectionist

Trying to do everything perfectly can lead to a focus on too much detail and a waste of resource.
You should focus on what really needs to be done and what standard is needed.
Perfectionism can lead to a lack of focus in terms of communicating the key issues when reporting to Senior management. This can have a detrimental affect on promotion prospects and lead to extra pressures in trying to justify your position.

Retaining control

This is closely linked to poor delegation. There is a need to maintain control over a situation and often the best way of doing this seems to be the old adage ‘if a job is worth doing, do it yourself’.

All of these traits of human nature can easily lead to poor Time Management.

Preconceived ideas

It is not unusual to think that the ‘rigour’ of Time Management is only for the more mundane work environment where routine tasks are performed.
Apparently it is not suited for those in the ‘creative’ industries or at least where a high degree of creative thinking is required.
This is not the case.

Non - PRINCE2 information