How tough can time management be?

Darren Smith

Managing your time in the FMCG world is a tough as it gets, and I should know. As a buyer at one of the big-four supermarkets, my typical day went like this…

Arrive at around 8am and grab a coffee ready for the tough day ahead of emails, suppliers meetings, endless internal meetings, and a presentation that I absolutely need to write for tomorrow, that is now urgent. 

Open my emails. Start getting distracted from around 9.15am as other people needed me. Go to the 10am meeting, which overran to 11.10am. Come back to my desk. Check my emails.

A quick one-to-one with one of my team, then off to an 11.30am meeting, getting back around lunchtime.

Eat a quick sandwich at my desk, thinking that I really must start that presentation. Then read my emails before the 2pm meeting, which lasted an hour-and-a-half.

Get caught on the way back in a corridor conversation on an urgent issue that needs resolving. Back to my emails.

Make some headway on a task that my boss wants for tomorrow and has just told me about because he’d forgotten.

Last check of my emails. Finally, start work on the presentation at 5.30pm as some people leave the office. It’s going to be a long evening ahead. Panic – I need some essential information for the presentation and Mike’s gone home. Arrrggh!

Sound familiar?

I was an email junkie, poor at time management. Working over 60 hours a week with no light in sight.

Leaving the corporate world I learnt to manage my time because as a small business I had to, or sink. 

Some 14 years later I now train time management and over the past year, I have put aside many time-management tips in favour of training people to build better time-management systems. Then adding tips afterwards.

This Take the 7 Week Time Management Challenge whitepaper is the culmination of that journey. It aims to take a fresh look at time management and give you a workbook to achieve a significantly better time management system. You can download it now.

Darren Smith is the founder of Making Business Matter, a training provider to the UK grocery industry. It helps suppliers to the big four supermarkets develop the soft skills that will secure them more profitable wins in their dealings with buyers.



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