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What is the “Monkey on Shoulder” Concept in Time Management?

People often feel like they spend the whole day dealing with other people’s to-do lists instead of their own. Does it mean that they are doing more but accomplishing less? 

It is probably so. In order to protect your own life from losing control over it, it worth paying attention to the art of monkey management.

Have you ever heard about the concept “Monkey on the shoulder?


What does it mean to have a monkey on your shoulder?

When you keep the monkey on your shoulders, you are robbing yourself. How to remove some things from your to-do list and get them to the right people? Analyzing your to-do list for this week and evaluating how it will all be accomplished might be the place to start. Just look at what you have to do and then who should be doing it. What’s more?

We often hear from the professionals that they want to delegate more but they can’t because:

  • It takes too much time and they can get it done faster themselves.
  • They do not have anyone to delegate to.
  • Their team is not ready to do particular things they do.

In many cases, managers lack time while their subordinates don’t have enough work. It’s rather important to care about time management and correctly divide time among managers, directors, colleagues, and subordinates. But how to do it professionally?

There are 3 types of working time spent in a managing process:

  • The time spent by a manager on doing a task he/she has received from a manager. There will be an instant reprimand follows if the task is not fulfilled.
  • The time spent on tasks laid on by a system. It means active support to manager-colleagues when they need it. It will be also a reprimand (though not so direct and instant as in the first case) if you neglect this work type.
  • The time spent on doing your own tasks or tasks the manager agrees to complete. However, a part of your own time will be spent on work with subordinates.
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