UK: BACKBITE - HALF-A-MILLION MINUTES TO 1996. - Start using those skills that have transformed British industry to transform the half-a-milllion minutes you have left in 1995

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Start using those skills that have transformed British industry to transform the half-a-milllion minutes you have left in 1995

If you're reading this at the very moment when old 1994 shuffles out of our lives behind the bright bouncing baby of 1995 then you've actually got 525,600 minutes to 1996. But in truth this month's Backbite is aimed fairly and squarely at those who have taken some time coming to terms with the responsibilities of the New Year and have found themselves with half a month gone before they've even begun to decide what to do with the next 12 months.

The first thing to remember is that there's no need to panic. There's plenty of time left, bags of it...oodles of the stuff - in fact there shouldn't be too much short of half-a-million minutes of it on your hands.

Which brings us to the second thing to try to remember. What did we do with any of the previous half-million minutes we have been given? What did we actually do in 1985, for example? Quite nice holiday in somewhere or other, a few disjointed memories of family life and major sporting fixtures... but it really doesn't add up to a half-million minutes of well-managed time does it?

But do not despair. Make this the moment when you start using those management skills that have transformed British industry over the past decade to transform the 500,000 minutes you have left in 1995.

In short, become the One-Minute Manager times 500,000. In other words, forget 12 months of nothing very much and start thinking Half-a-Million Management Opportunities - starting now.

Well, clearly, the first thing you've got to start doing is managing your time better.

Now while not wishing to knock the trade of the management guru, it has to be said that one of the key points that the One-Minute chap missed was that there are all sorts of minutes that require all sorts of managing. And as Backbite would like to point out, before you can become a truly successful One-Minute Manager, you first need to determine just what sort of minutes you're trying to manage.

For example, there are fast-moving minutes: when the time is 8.19 and the train you are planning to catch leaves at 8.20 and you are on the wrong side of the station from its platform. Of course these minutes require quite a different approach from the slow-moving minutes such as you might experience at 4.50pm on a dull Monday afternoon when the minute-finger on the office clock just refuses to move towards 5.00pm.

In fact there are some minutes which move so fast that they are detectable only retrospectively - that is, when they have passed - and have therefore been deemed unmanageable. Such unmanageable minutes include the time between Friday night and Monday morning, the time during deep sleep, the time during light snoozes and the all-too-short time of most lunch hours.

Equally there are some minutes that move so slowly that they have long been thought immovable. Such stationary minutes include meetings with accountants, time spent sit-ting in Saturday-afternoon-shopping traffic queues and any time spent waiting in a hospital casualty ward.

So the big question is - just how can you manage so many different types of so many minutes?

hat is undeniably a tricky question but I think we know that modern managers have the answer. What we need to do is `outsource' our lives - put them in the hands of professional `livers' and then simply set the standards and monitor the performance by a variety of target levels and spurious jargon.

So there we have it - in our first minute. All we need to do is find someone to lead our lives for us and we can leave the other 499,999 minutes or so to them. And they're bound to do it better. Being specialists they will be able to employ people who really know what they are doing...Richard Gere for the romantic scenes, David Mellor for listening to the CD in the evening, and Sister Wendy for going to the art gallery on wet Sundays.

Now, with the problem of actually living out of the way, you may be wondering how you're going to fill your time during 1995. Of course, you could always try and get a part-time job with one of those specialist agencies. I hear there is a great demand for people who really know how to sit in traffic jams, wait for cancelled trains and get into work smiling at 9.00 on Monday mornings. You wouldn't be interested, would you?

David Morton.

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