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Johanna Rothman – “The more you deliver, the more you realize the progress you make or don’t make.”

Johanna Rothman consults , speaks, and writes on managing high-technology product development. She has helped managers, teams, and organizations to become more effective by applying her pragmatic approaches to their issues of hiring, project management, risk management, and people management. Additionally Rothman is the author of: Manage Your Job Search, Hiring Geeks That Fit, Manage Your Project Portfolio: Increase Your Capacity and Finish More Projects, Manage It! Your Guide to Modern Pragmatic Project Management, Behind Closed Doors, Secrets of Great Management (with Esther Derby), and two other books.


1. Why does efficient time management make sense?

Rothman: “We never have enough time. We have to make choices about what we do and don’t do.”

2. What is the biggest mistake impeding efficient time management?

Rothman: “Attempting to multitask! People think, “I can do a little of this, or a little of that.” Nope, you can do one small task, get that thing to done. Now, you can do another small task and get that thing to done. But you cannot do two or more things at once. You get confused. You make mistakes. And, if you have big tasks? You must finish them in their entirety.”

3. Where should I begin, if I want to keep my appointments better?

Rothman: “For appointments, make sure you have transition time built in. If you have transportation, build that time in. If you have meetings and all you need to do is walk from place to place, make sure you don’t have meeting literally back to back. At some point, you need a bio break. ”

4. What are the basics for meeting all my deadlines?

Rothman: “Make sure you break all your deadlines down into small chunks of work. Now, make sure you have deliverables at least every day, if not a couple of times a day. The more you deliver, the more you realize the progress you make (or don’t make). You see where you are going or are not going. You have a sense of where you are, right away. If you really want to get good at this, make a visual board of your deadlines. When you see your work, you’re much more likely to complete it.”

5. How can I strengthen my willpower to follow my plans?

Rothman: “I like the feedback I get by completing my work. When I have small chunks of work, and I complete work every day, I feel terrific. I want to do more. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle. If I have a bad day where I feel as if I didn’t get anything done, I know I need to break my work down into smaller chunks. It really is that easy!”

6. What can I do if others complicate my own time management?

Rothman: “Ahem. Who’s in charge of your calendar? You or other people? You can block time in your calendar, right? Block it off. There is no rule that says you have to accept every meeting invitation. One of the things I say in “Manage It! Your Guide to Modern, Pragmatic Project Management,” is that if a meeting doesn’t have an agenda or action items, you don’t have to attend. Now, you don’t drop the meeting on the floor. That would be bad corporate citizenry. But you have choices. You can ask about the agenda. You can provide the agenda. You can say, “If there’s no agenda, how do I know if I need to be there?” or some other nudging request. Who knows, maybe no one needs the meeting?”

7. Which examples provide orientation for efficient time management?

Rothman: “1. Try to have non-meeting days. This way you protect the days you can work straight through on your intellectual work. 2. Try to gather meetings in the mornings or the afternoons. Assuming you have bio breaks between meetings, this might work too. Maybe you can free the other morning or afternoon for meetings. 3. I f you chunk your work into small-enough pieces, you will still be able to accomplish useful work whenever you have time between meetings.”

8. What is the difference between time management in private life and in professional life?

Rothman: “I don’t have any difference. To me, it’s all my life. ”

9. What personal price do I have to pay for more efficiency?

Rothman: “I don’t pay a personal price for more efficiency. I get more value and more happiness from more efficiency. I’m not stressed. I always know what I have to do. I’m happy about the state of my work, because I always know where it stands. To me, being more efficient is a good thing.”

10. What success does a better time management yield?

Rothman: “I accomplish much more. I write more articles and books. I answer more emails and then delete more from my inbox! I can take more clients. I’m a happier person. Don’t you want to be?”

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