Recently, I wrote an article “Time’s Up” for ACCA Global. It was about time management and it clearly struck a chord, due to the higher than normal correspondence with readers. Here is an extract:

Stephen Covey in his book First Things First observes that great leaders appear less stressed and seem to have more time on their hands than the rest of us. He drew a time-management diagram (see below), pointing out that far too often we are firefighting in the ‘urgent and not important’ quadrant. We should instead allow such fires to burn themselves out, redirecting our time to the ‘not urgent and important’ quadrant.

Quadrant 1: Urgent and important Quadrant 3: urgent and not important

Quadrant 2: Not urgent and important Quadrant 4: not urgent and not important

Here are some suggestions to control your time better:

  • Embrace management guru Peter Drucker’s idea of ‘abandonment’. Drucker said ‘Don’t tell me what you’re doing, tell me what you’ve stopped doing.’ There are always activities that can and should be abandoned.
  • Say ‘No’ to pointless meetings, writing reports that nobody will read and jobs that, while well-paid, will eat away at your soul.
  • Create some space, each week, where you can think about your future – your ‘blue sky time’. No phone calls, texts or Facebook.

The full article will be available online in February, if you search the title “Time’s Up” on

I will be discussing the soft skills that corporate accountants need to master in my one-day workshop: Lean practices to transform your finance team, which will be held in four locations in the UK, March 2017.

To see the outline of the day and for bookings, visit here: