A recent survey by the Institute of Leadership and Management has highlighted that 10 years of technological advances have not really increased efficiencies at work.

Nearly half of managers are working longer hours, two thirds have higher workloads and half are more stressed compared with 10 years ago.

Apparently managers now receive an average of 40 more emails a day, and mobile phones and BlackBerrys top the list of inventions managers wish had never been invented! There is more: despite seeing increases in remote working in the past decade, business travel has increased significantly over that time.

Part of the problem stems from organisations not fully realising the potential of new technologies to revolutionise the way we work, part of it relates to the fact that we continue to drown in data, part of it is, I believe, down to a lack of personal discipline when it comes to time management.

If you asked me which personal development course has been most influential over my career, has added the most value and provided real return, I would, without hesitation, choose time management. One of my old bosses had the foresight to recognise my organisational failings at the age of 23 and recommended what was then a fairly revolutionary personal development concept. I subsequently embraced the philosophy and techniques wholeheartedly - to great effect.

A quarter of a century on and I am surprised how much focus managers in the organisations I work with place on pressing problems, immediate issues, crises and tight deadlines, complemented by other largely unimportant activities. What we should be doing is working on future opportunities, ideas, improvements and upgrades.

Of course, crises have to be sorted and deadlines have to be met but in many organisations the continual increase in crisis culture is as a direct result of a lack of emphasis on finding time to think and plan - after all isn’t that what we are really paid for? Isn’t the true goal of excellent management all about leaving the business unit you are running, no matter if it’s a team, a department or even a whole organisation, in a much better state than when you first took over? So find time each day to think ahead to reduce the problems and avoid the crises. Find time to think ahead to grow the health of the business.

As you move into the new year, think about how much time you spend on drivers of success. How much time are you spending fighting fires, chasing your tail and sorting trivial details, and how much time are you spending on making a long-term difference, and building your professional legacy?