Time management training helps managers focus on priorities

Time … it has puzzled scientists and philosophers for thousands of years.

It’s no wonder that U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart managers have their own time mystery to ponder: how to manage it more effectively.

“Managing an Army garrison is much like running a small city — it’s a round-the-clock operation,” said Ed McCargo, the USAG Stuttgart Plans, Analysis and Integration chief.

 “We’ve got to ensure that service members, their families and the facilities are taken care of. You’ve got to be a better manager of time and personnel to do that,” he said.

That’s why Installation Management Command Europe arranged for time management training for management-level employees at Army garrisons in Stuttgart, Grafenwöhr, Heidelberg and Garmisch, and for staff at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort.

The Stuttgart training was held May 11 with twenty-five employees attending.
Dr. Patricia Tucker, the director of the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command Academy and a certified time management instructor, taught the class.
“If we focus on our highest priorities, we’ll be more efficient and able to provide higher quality services and products to our families and Soldiers,” Tucker said. 

She went on to say that the key elements of time management include identifying the things that are truly important and avoiding the things that are not, setting goals, and establishing deadlines to achieve those goals.

“If one of my goals is to learn Spanish, and I never take the steps to actually learn — it just remains a goal,” she said. “Planning for, and scheduling time for your priorities turns them into reality.”

For an Army garrison, if the goal is to deliver first- class customer programs, this means infrastructure must be correctly managed and maintained, construction and renovation projects planned and scheduled, new programs implemented, the workforce developed, and funding obtained.

The key is managing time, according to PAIO Chief McCargo.

“The emergencies that occur — a fire in family housing or the loss of power on an installation — they are important and urgent. We have to respond to them immediately,” he said.

But some “urgent” situations could be avoided “if we managed our time better and were more effective planners,” McCargo said.

“Time management drives it home,” he added.

McCargo said the majority of a manager’s time should not be spent on reacting to crises. Instead, a manager should focus on identifying goals, preparation, planning and relationship building.

For McCargo, a professional planner, “It means sitting down and planning out my days for the next two weeks, so that most of my workday is mapped out,” he said.
 It won’t win him a Nobel Peace Prize for physics, but for this garrison employee, the mystery is solved.