The secret of time management: Part 3

Part 3 – My solution to the NET equation


Thank you for your patience in waiting for the next part of the secret of time management. I left you having introduced the idea of the NET equation. I also suggested because there were three aspects to the equation you were not entirely responsible for the not having enough time. In fact you have more or less the same amount of time as everyone else, 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year. How many years you have I cannot say and neither can you, although you do have some control over how many you may have if you look after yourself and that includes managing your time correctly to avoid stress!

Back to NET and the 3 factors.

  •  1) the task – I said earlier to consider the task as being fixed if it is well planned and whilst this is true your reaction to it is not a fixed entity. How interesting, urgent or important we consider the task influences the time it takes to complete it. Notice I did not say ‘do it’ because more than likely this is set, it is the slight pauses, the distractions or time actually ‘off task’ that prolongs completing the task. So how ‘engaged’ you are with the task itself will affect the time it takes. It looks as though you are becoming a little more responsible for NET after all.

Task x engagement factor = Task time (Tt)

  • 2) the person – we will come back to this shortly!
  • 3) the resources at hand – now I did mention in Part 2 that the person does have an impact on the resource implication of NET so let us review this aspect. We know about training and skill requirements and that time needs to be allocated to these areas. The problem is that often they are not! People are asked or expected to ‘learn on the job’ and this is unreasonable we know but it still happens. Whilst learning on the job the resource aspect does have a person influence in the same way as the task is influenced by how motivated somebody is. Interestingly motivation is also influenced by how challenging something is. Learning a new skill can be motivating and help in engagement, doing something too often and without challenge can de motivate people. Getting the balance right is important in NET calculations.

Resource x training time = Resource time (Rt)

A quick review

 NET =  Task  x Person x Resources or NET=T x P x R

 Now developed into

NET = Task and engagement  x Person x Resources and training time

NET = Tt x P x Rt

 It is obvious now that the person is involved in all three aspects of NET!

Opps! Sorry, it is your fault you do not have enough time. The solution is in your hands, it is up to you to solve the NET equation.


It would be cruel to end there, blaming you, after all I said we would return to number 2, the person.

We should be able to see now that there are some decisions we should make before allowing the NET equation to get out of hand. This is the secret of time management. A series of decisions and compromises that need to be made in order to manage time effectively and avoid NET.

The first of which is to avoid procrastination.

Time is of no lesser or greater value according to how close it is to the deadline. An hour spent on the task on day one is of the same value as one on the penultimate day. You may do more on the penultimate day but that is only because you are running out of time! If you can get this then you are well on the way to avoiding NET.

In Part 4, the final part, I will list the  decisions you need to make in order to avoid NET. Link:


About AcEd

"4c3d" (AcEd) is the abbreviation for Advocating Creativity in education, a company I set up to challenge how we think about and deliver education. The blog champions my concept of Learning intelligence, how we manage our learning environment to meet our learning needs as well as detailing those needs: Power Belonging, Choice and Fun - PBCF. Kevin Hewitson 2019

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