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Hitting the Wall – Time Management Tips

Author: Jeffrey Mayer   |   March 30th, 2010

Have you ever known someone who never seemed to get his work done on time? Was always late with everything. And no matter how many hours he put in, nothing was ever done right…  the first time.

He was trying very hard to do his job, but spent so much time apologizing for not getting work, tasks, and projects done on time that it became an embarrassment.

Terry was that person. He was 38 years old, had been married for 6 years, and had two beautiful little girls. He had just gotten another promotion at a Fortune 100 company where he had organizational tipsbeen quickly moving up within the organization and was now a middle-level manager.

Then he hit THE WALL!

For some unknown reason he was no longer able to get his work done on time. His office had become a Black Hole. Things went in, and never came out.

It seemed that the only time he completed any work was when his boss, or a co-worker, called and asked him for the information that was needed for the report or presentation they were working on.

Then he dropped everything, did a ‘rush’ job, and delivered work that should have been completed three days earlier.

Found My Web Site
One day Terry found my web site, read some of my articles on how to be more successful, and sent me an e-mail.

He was desperate for help.

As he explained his situation to me I asked him to describe his office and work environment. He told me that there were piles of paper on the desk, sticky-notes on the computer, and file folders in wire stand-up holders on the credenza.

When I asked about his follow-up system, there was a L-O-N-G pregnant pause.

In a soft voice, he volunteered that he ‘really’ didn’t have one. I asked how he went about getting his work done. He explained that when he came into the office in the morning he would look at the papers that were on the top of his desk and pick something to do.

I suggested that the place for us to start would be to create a Master List of things to do. The concept is very simple:

1. Record everything you need to do on a large piece of paper.
2. Review your list throughout the day and ask yourself what is the most important task that I must do.
3. DO IT!!!

By the time Terry finished making his Master List it was almost 2 pages long. For the first time in months he could see on a single list everything that needed to be done, who he had to do it for, and when it needed to be completed.

(As an alternative to keeping the Master List on a piece of paper, you can use a contact management program, a Palm, or your favorite leather-bound daily planner. The concept and methodology is the same.)

As Terry and I continued to work together he got into the habit of reviewing his Master List in the late afternoon – before he went home – so he knew exactly what needed to be done the following day.

Then he looked at his calendar, and scheduled an appointment with himself for first thing the following morning to do the work.

This enabled him to complete his most important tasks. Each Day. Every Day.

Terry’s turn-around was amazing. In the blink of an eye, his productivity soared. He was getting his work done on time, and was once again producing high-quality work.

When we spoke recently, he said: “It feels great to be in complete and total control.”


Reprinted with permission from “Jeffrey Mayer’s Newsletter. (Copyright, 2003 – 2005, Jeffrey J. Mayer, To subscribe to Jeff’s free newsletter, visit

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