Managing Personal Affairs and Responsibilities

What Includes in

“Managing Personal Affairs and Responsibilities”

Thinking about managing our personal affairs and responsibilities, most of us don’t even know what it really meant. Over a period of three years when researching about this issue, time to time, I had to interview some 150 professionals from various background; both single and married men and women from late twenties to late forties. Surprisingly, about a half responded by saying they were managing their affairs and responsibilities quite well and most of these folks happened to be singles. However, when asked them how they would define their day-to-day affairs and personal responsibilities, about a third had problem even explaining or identifying them. Even the word ‘manage’ seemed confusing to most of them in this context.

Following were some of the core questions that I presented to them: ‘if you are a parent, are you responsible to feed your child and look after her welfare, wash her cloths and send her to school?’; ‘if you are working to earn your living, then where and how you would find time to fulfill these responsibilities?’; ‘how would you manage yourself with these tasks every day, every week, and every month?’; ‘where would you find adequate resources such as money and time, if you need to exchange or barter?’; ‘how would you manage yourself to keep fit and healthy to do these tasks?’; and ‘if you decide work more for money, how many hours you would sacrifice from your sleeping hours?’ Believe me, findings obviously made me realize that we all are struggling to manage ourselves with our affairs and responsibilities, and often with disastrous consequences. Imagine a greedy share trader making sixteen hours a  day earning over a hundred-thousand bucks a month but lost his wife to another man due to lack of time for building relationship.

Moreover, work-life balance seems is topical issue these days but neither the corporate culture nor the individuals at work find it easy to accommodate this due to life commitments and responsibilities. Self-managed independent workers, including entrepreneurs fall in to another group of professionals where time remains a scarce commodity. When ‘work’ becomes top priority, other responsibility areas go unattended. This includes even one’s own health. But interestingly, most respondents in my research did not have any idea how they would even manage their work either.

With increasing economic instability and an uncertain future marred by the intrusion of robotic and AI technology coupled with declining job security, survival may remain the basic objective for many. But for a few ambitious men and women, the objectives and priorities in life are different. Aspiring to achieve and reach the top of the career ladder or the pinnacle in the corporate hierarchy may drive the ambitious individuals to work harder and long hours at the mercy of family life, entertainment, leisure, and health. When the respondents were brought to their attention about these issues and challenges which normally do not seem apparent or transparent, almost all of them agreed that there is a need to manage our personal affairs and responsibilities effectively. And obviously, it is also apparent that money and time factors play a vital role in managing their affairs and responsibilities successfully.

The key objective of this brief book is to introduce the principles and the process of personal management, as we practice in the management of private and public sector organisations, to manage effectively the affairs of an individual entity. In so doing, the author identifies a number of key issue areas which act like different functional areas or cost and profit centers of a business organisation.

In business management, these areas are sometimes called the strategic business units (SBU). In the proposed framework of individual personal management, we can call them the Strategic Management Units (SMU) consisting of personal Responsibility Areas (RA). Only the key RAs are identified as SMUs for every individual but some of the responsibility areas may be shared by more than one individual such as spouse, partners or children. As in any management situation, all critical issues of each SMU are to be identified and prioritized, objectives set, and strategies formulated for the day to day running as well as for the long-term operation of the ‘individual entity’ (IE).

As an essential feature, the book examines all the SMUs that are required to be managed effectively and attempts to help the reader understand and develop his or her own strategy based on the framework provided. Since the type of issues and the nature of problems and strategies needed differ and vary from individual to individual, examples are also provided to illustrate the different ‘Individual Status’ (IS). Moreover, the book provides a framework for the analysis of ‘individuals as organizations or entities’ in the light of the external environment in which they operate (live) and the internal environment that determines the strengths and weaknesses of an individual. Therefore, it is essential that we understand the concept called Individual Environment (IEN) or the overall environment in which the individual lives which are internal and external in nature.

Therefore, it starts with (see figure below) the understanding and analyses of the intrinsic factors affecting the internal environment and extrinsic forces acting on the external environment which would help us identify and assess the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities and threats. This will help set realistic and achievable life goals and objectives within the context of personal affairs and responsibilities which are shot-term and long-term in nature. In fact, the personal affairs and responsibility areas to be attended become the action items to realize the life goals and objectives. How we manage to carry out these activities depends very much on the limited resources of time and money which the book explains in detail under the management of the SMUs.

We should normally examine the individual Responsibility Areas and SMUs as how would a typical individual prioritize under usual circumstances. However, there are so many variables involved in determining the typical or average individual and it is extremely difficult to limit to one typical individual. Therefore, it would be realistic and pragmatic for us to identify a few such typical individuals by using a number of ‘individual statuses’ (IS). We call them ‘individual status’ instead of just individuals because it is conditioned by a set of specific circumstances and refers to a specific time period in one’s life cycle. However, while we attempt not to distinguish between male and female, eight different ISs can be identified here.

The ‘individual statuses’ identified below represent eight different scenarios which can be considered as universal categories, and every one of us can be considered as belonging to one of these categories.

Individual Statuses (IS)

IFI  Independent and Free (non-working) Individual
AFI  Attached and Free (non-working) Individual
IFSF  Independent Full-time Student or in the Forces
AFSF  Attached Full-time Student or in the Forces
IRW  Independent Scheduled and Routine Worker
ARW  Attached Scheduled and Routine Worker
ISWP  Independent Self-managed Worker or Professional
ASWP  Attached Self-managed Worker or Professional

An independent person is someone with no shared responsibility and a free person is said to represent someone without a work-related or career-related responsibility such as a retired person. Full-time students or armed forces personnel would not be considered as free. A scheduled and routine worker is someone who is employed and having a regular job for living but not a self-employed or self-managed professional who would have the flexibility in managing their own work and time, including writers. Essentially, every one of us would fall into one of the above categories identified in table above.

The matrix boxes below would help us understand how these categories or individual statuses are established. The X axis of the matrix represents the type and nature of work or employment of the individual, and the Y axis, the type of lifestyle or responsibilities such as shared or not shared due to family or other ties.

Individual’s Personal Lifecycle Stages

The Personal Lifecycle of an individual can be said to consist of six distinct stages without considering the initial stage of birth and infancy and the final stage of death. They are 1. Early Stage, 2. Growth Stage, 3. Attainment Stage, 4. Maturity Stage, 5. Reflective Stage, 6. Late Stage. The following paragraphs explain the contents and the issues pertaining to each of the stages:

  1. Early Stage: this stage is characterized by having both childhood and adolescence experiences. Normally the individual is seemed to be active and independent as well as fearless. Being a growing up child and later a teenager, the individual often would face the challenges of school days, including friendship and as an adolescent, the challenges of relationship. In the later part, the individual would often encounter the challenges of assessing different values and beliefs, and in some cases forced to accept radical views about life, society and the world at large. Indeed, a memorable stage in the lifecycle of the individual.
  2. Growth Stage: In this stage the individual has passed the hurdle of the previous stage, often painfully, but sometimes smoothly. Nevertheless, most of the individual carry the baggage from the previous stage to continue their journey. In such cases, it would take sometimes for the individual to establish a vision and a mission in life. Successful individuals, having reached this stage of adulthood, often see what he or she would want to achieve in life. They often seem to be ambitious, determined, and therefore committed to achieve their goals in higher education and or career. Some may even lead themselves to be entrepreneurs. The individuals also would value friendship and stable relationship. Most of the individuals at this stage would be pursuing higher education or seeking employment with a sense of having responsibility.
  3. Attainment Stage: this stage is characterized by having signs of achievements in life. Although it would take longer for some to reach this stage in terms of real lifecycle as determined by the age of the individual, this stage is what we would call the harvesting time. Now the individual should be blessed with a career or a secure employment and therefore regular stream of earnings. Some may have established themselves in business as entrepreneurs. Most individuals, if they had wished, should have been married and blessed with children and a secure place to call home. However, not all individuals would have been blessed with everything what they were striving to achieve. For most individuals, it would take longer than expected in time to achieve everything they longed for and in some cases, leftovers would be brought forward to the next lifecycle stage. Majority of us would fall in to this category unfortunately.
  4. Maturity Stage: This is the stage of enjoying the fruits of life by having achieved some of the life goals. The individual should be able to maintain economic and social stability now with dignity and self-esteem. However, most would not reach this stage but only in terms of their age. This stage may represent an age cohort of between 40 and 60 years for most of us but some would still struggle to complete the Attainment Stage discussed previously. A few, however, may even complete this stage prematurely and reach the next Reflective Stage.
  5. Reflective Stage: As the name implies, this is the stage of reflection. Here, we tend to reflect on the achievements, or what we could not achieve and their causes as well as on the overall outcomes in life. Whether the goals were economic, social or spiritual in nature, every individual tends to reflect on the outcomes as well as on the issues related to achieving the personal goals. This is also the time of self-actualization and philosophical and spiritual uplifting of oneself. If an individual find himself or herself not content and not satisfied in life by not having achieved what he or she wanted to achieve, it could lead to some reawakening in life with intrinsic motivation to accomplish what is left to be achieved. If the individual is healthy and physically fit and have managed to achieve the economic and social needs, we may find this person to be very much satisfied and happy in life.
  6. Late Stage: This represents the stage of later life of an individual who have seen the good things in life but now feel the impacts of reclining biological system. Some may even suffer the consequences of ageing and endure helplessness during this retirement stage and may feel dependent on others to get by in life. Good memories derived from the previous reflective stage may help attain contentment.

All affairs of the Individual Entity need to be managed effectively if an individual is to achieve life goals and objectives and live successfully. In this regard, every individual is faced with several responsibilities to carry out as a living entity. But in a competitive world, we would at least try to manage a handful of key or core responsibility areas. Some of these arise from physiological needs and others may come from causes to satisfy social and psychological needs. To begin with, we would like to limit to only eight Personal Affairs and key Responsibility Areas or as we have labelled them as Strategic Management Units (SMU) which may seem appropriate to all the individuals irrespective of their status as a single person or a family member. In order to fully understand and use the proposed framework effectively, one should draw a clear dividing line between individual responsibility and shared responsibility areas.

Figure above shows the eight SMUs with time and money factors as constraints at the top and bottom. If a line is drawn diagonally along A and B, we can see that the SMUs with individual responsibility areas lie above the line to the upper right-hand side. This leaves those SMUs which may have areas of shared responsibilities under the line to the lower left-hand side. Obviously, the SMUs with individual responsibility areas are the ‘work’, career and professional development, personal health and leisure, and the sleep and rest components. To these SMUs, which act like the functional areas of management in a business entity, we can link the control units of ‘time’ and ‘money’.

The last two units of time and money, although do not fit the category of a functional area, they remain the vital link between the ‘individual entity’ and its functions. However, money and time are critical resources which need to be managed in their own right. Unlike in a business entity, most SMUs here are cost-centers except the ‘work’ unit which is the only tangible profit-center (earned income from work). In the proposed personal management strategy, we attempt to manage time and expenses (money) at macro level for all the SMUs rather than dealing with the time and cost issues at the micro level within any specific SMU. This does not mean the micro-management of time and expenses (money) within individual SMUs are ignored.

The ‘time’ and ‘money’ (expenses) units therefore remain the two vital criteria by which management strategy for SMUs are formulated although these units per se may not be of high priority for all the individuals at all the times. However, in terms of planning and implementing, these two units play a vital role in the form of forecasting and budgeting. Furthermore, there are instances when unexpected crises need to be managed which is a reactive strategy rather than a pro-active one. Here, time and money management become crucial and the most important responsibility areas to be attended in the entire process. In fact, these two resources are constraints that need to be allocated efficiently and effectively in order to manage the key responsibility areas and, therefore, the SMUs.

The shared responsibility units, of course, require individuals to depend on others for their ‘works’ to be carried out, or to bear responsibility for other individuals due to family or other ties such as friendship and legal obligations. These include daily chores and household management, managing resources such as the household or other tangible assets, and managing family-led issues (including health and leisure) or other joint activities as well as managing relationship and bonding with family members and relatives.

Except the SMU of family health and leisure pursuits, the other two SMUs of household chores management and strategic resources management can remain the same as for those individuals with non-shared responsibilities. In that case, all SMUs become individual responsibility areas. For example, an individual who needs to manage his or her car repair, home improvement, or day-to-day chore of shopping, may not have anybody else to share the responsibility with, in terms of time and money spent. In other words, in the absence of family ties or shared responsibilities, individuals may have to share more responsibilities to burden with. Also, the number of SMUs can be expanded to meet the needs as of changing circumstances of different individuals. Therefore, in reality, a typical individual can have more than eight key responsibility areas irrespective of whether he or she is a single or attached. The tables below (table 1 & 2) show the Responsibility Areas or functions to be managed under the eight SMUs identified. In managing the relevant SMUs, you should aim to set appropriate life goals and objectives and formulate effective strategies for each category.

Table1: Shared Responsibility Areas

SMUs Responsibility (task) Areas Life Goals & Objectives Strategy
SMU1: Household Chores and Activities

1.1   Housekeeping

1.2   Shopping/errands

1.2   Cooking

1.3   Childminding

1.4   Other tasks/affairs

 

SMU2: Household Assets and  Strategic Resources

2.1   Household finances

2.2   Repairs/maintenance

2.3   Investments/estates

2.4   Banking and

Transactions

SMU3: Family Health and Leisure Pursuit

3.1   Family health issues

3.2   Family leisure pursuits

SMU4: Family Affairs and Relationship

1.1       Family affairs

1.2       Family relationship

1.3       Relationship with

friends and relatives

 

 

Table: 2 Non-shared Responsibility Areas

SMUs Responsibility Areas Life Goals & Objectives Strategy

SMU5:

‘Work’ for living, Income Generation or full-time study

 

5.1   Attendance and

punctuality at work

5.2   Performance at work

5.3   Motivation and

satisfaction at work

 

 

SMU6: Career & Professional Development

 

6.1  Career promotion

6.2   Career development

6.3   CPD in action

6.4   Networking

SMU7: Personal health & Fitness  and Leisure Pursuits

1.1   Personal health

1.2   Personal fitness

1.3   Personal leisure pursuits

1.4   Faith and culture

SMU8:

Rest, sleep and spiritual development

8.1    Rest and relaxation

8.2    Sleep and recovery

8.3    Spiritual

development

Individual Life goals and objectives are whatever we need to achieve to make us happy and content in life. Good health, happy family life, good education, secure career, and economic prosperity in general are what we all look for.

While the goals more or less represent our desires that we seek to achieve, objectives are specific and often come with some verifiable or measurable targets. In other words, when we set specific and measurable targets to life goals, they become objectives which normally would come under personal responsibility areas of a Strategic Management Unit that we have identified. Here, the life goals are referred to managing the SMUs successfully and objectives are referred to as achieving our expectations under the key personal responsibility areas which are often measurable.

Based on the overall mission and philosophy of life of an individual, life goals can be set and prioritized initially. It would lead to identifying the key responsibility areas to be managed under SMUs which can be slightly different among individuals although the presented framework with eight SMUs can be used as the basis. This action itself is the process of prioritization of the key responsibility areas. However, in order to achieve overall happiness and success in life, the eight SMUs identified would need to be considered. Here, specific goals and objectives under each SMU can be set after careful analysis of the SWOT factors based on the internal and external environment of the individual as we have discussed in the previous section.

Strategies for Implementation

Setting the goals and objectives to achieve under the SMUs may not make sense unless we propose appropriate actions to carry out or come up with workable strategies for implementation. Strategies are proposed action to achieve the objectives which normally should come with an action plan with specific time and money factors attached to them. In the shared responsibility areas, most of the goals and objectives can be achieved with the help of others such as partners and family members or even by outsourcing to an external agent. This would require delicate balancing of time and money factors.

There may be several options or alternative approaches we can come up with but it requires us to evaluate and choose the best. In this process, the key criteria for selection remain the critical resources of time and money factors as they act like constraints. The question is whether we have enough time and or money available and if either one of them is limited, how could we plan to implement successfully.

There are other criteria too. Appropriateness of the chosen approaches or methods to be used in terms of the individual’s values, cultural norms, legal and moral obligations etc., also important in addition to the criterion of ‘fit-for-purpose’. When choosing the right strategy or approach, we will examine the issues related to the selection criteria using appropriate analytical tools and methods as needed.

Fulfilling the personal responsibilities and implementing the SMUs also requires us to prioritize them based on certain classification or categorization. Not all SMUs are of high priority to all and therefore their personal affairs and responsibility areas may receive varying degree of attention in term of time and money allocated. The following concepts of SMU Hierarchy and Individual Status (IS) can help us analyse and understand the process of prioritization and classification a bit more clearly.

Prioritizing Personal RAs and the SMU Hierarchy

Effective management of the SMUs rests with how well an individual prioritizes and manages the personal affairs and the key responsibility areas. Nevertheless, the criteria applied to define and choose the SMUs can vary person to person. The eight SMUs identified by the author can, however, provide a generic framework, and many individuals should find it useful. How an individual prioritizes and allocates time and money to manage the SMUs depends on who is the individual and what sort of lifestyle he or she is committed to pursue.

It can also depend on the stage of one’s personal lifecycle. For example, for a full-time student pursuing a course in higher education or vocational training, the ‘work’ SMU may be characterized by having training and education elements rather than employment for income generation. In addition, areas such as ‘career and professional development’ can also be incorporated with the above component which reduces the number of SMUs.

Similarly, some individuals with no shared responsibility and living alone may not have much to do with family affairs and relationships or even family health and leisure pursuits. Here, such SMUs may become redundant in one’s portfolio. However, a single individual means not always independent where he or she may have legal obligations to look after someone else’s affairs

As in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs where satisfaction of the basic physiological needs supersede other less tangible factors, the SMUs can be arranged on a hierarchy in terms of management priority which different individuals choose to make. For an individual with a guaranteed income from inheritance for example, managing the work-related SMU may be less important than pursuing a leisure activity. In the meantime, if an individual’s life depends entirely on the income he or she earns from a regular work, the work-SMU would become number one priority. Similarly, if an individual is a public figure with a hectic and erratic work schedule, the management of time may be crucially important than the management of resources or income. We have examined these issues under individual SMUs earlier.

Therefore, what and how an individual prioritizes his or her Responsibility Areas depends and therefore the SMUs depend very much on the type of individual, lifestyle she or he pursues, kind of work one does for living and the level and sources of income, the level of aspiration and expectations in life, and one’s stage in the personal lifecycle. A hypothetical case to illustrate the hierarchy of SMUs is shown below.

Please note that there are several key Responsibility Areas are shown here as we discussed earlier and some of them can be considered as independent SMUs. In the example below, ‘sleep and rest’ take the first priority and the ‘work’ as the second important responsibility area. Here, it is just an example and you may find that some of the key responsibility areas are missing. You can try to list in term of all the eight SMUs or pick and choose the key responsibility areas from relevant SMUs based on their significance.

For the average individual, however, the work-related SMU is absolutely important and managing it effectively becomes number one priority. Since the income derived from work provides resources, including the basics such as food and shelter, no individual can afford to gamble with it. Furthermore, since managing all SMUs are inextricably linked to the time component and some are to both time and money components, effective time and money management is also extremely important.

This means, any responsible individual should begin to formulate his or her personal management strategy with simultaneous consideration given to the management of time and money as well. Nevertheless, managing the time effectively may not be complicated as one would imagine if it is approached from a macro-management perspective. The macro-management approach to time allocation and budgeting would help us manage time and money at secondary or tertiary level within the individual SMUs effectively. Macro management is essentially a top-down approach and will be discussed later in detail.

In a business entity, we have a number of departments or functional units to be managed everyday so that the entity runs smoothly to achieve its business goals effectively in the long-run. By assuming an individual to be an ‘entity’ with a mission and goals to achieve in life, we may see a number of responsibility areas under SMUs to be managed strategically and effectively as in a business entity.

Therefore, we may want to apply some of the concepts and tools of management to accomplish our life goals and objective effectively. In this regard, the core element of managing an IE remains to be effective planning to achieve goals and objectives effectively and efficiently. This requires us to carefully research and analyse our current situation and the individual operating environment so that we can determine realistic and achievable life goals and objectives. Once these goals and objectives are set, we should be able to formulate and carry out sound strategies to realize our desires.  In implementing the strategies, we will need to examine two critical factors that would influence our decisions related to the management of the Individual Entity as in any organisations. These critical factors are obviously Time and Money.

Whether we engage ourselves in the production of goods and services or consuming something that other individuals produce or deliver, we end up exchanging money and time with other individuals or entities. We require these two strategic resources to manage everything which are obviously limited in availability. How we manage effectively and efficiently our time and money remain the crucial element in the management of all our activities related to achieving our life goals and objectives.

Therefore, these two factors need to be isolated from others when we set goals and objectives for our Strategic Management Units (SMU). For example, managing one’s health is extremely important and the Individual’s Health is considered a SMU. So are individual’s work or career. In this regard, the Time and Money factor are not considered as a SMU as these two resources are essential to the management of the key responsibility areas under each SMU. Essentially, an individual requires to carefully plan and allocate the limited strategic resources of Time and Money effectively to manage all the SMUs identified.

Once the key SMUs with Responsibility Areas are identified and prioritized to be managed, it is the efficient and effective use of time and money factors that matters the most. In the last chapters of the book, we will examine how we can apply proven methods and techniques to plan and allocate these two valuable but limited resources of time and money in the management of personal affairs and responsibilities.

The ‘time’ and ‘money’ factors are crucial resources in our life which are both strategic and tactical in nature but the difference is that the former is already been gifted to us the day we were born until we die. The latter has to be earned unfortunately. However, some lucky ones are born with inheritance or parent’s wealth which can be converted to money. For others, money comes from bartering certain services using the skills and abilities they possess to perform an activity or task to others.

Accumulation of any excess in reward or benefits in this exchange process gives us the money factor that we refer to here. But again, we need to access ‘time’ from a gifted ‘time resource’ to perform these works by which we earn our ‘money resource’. Therefore, time is also, in fact, can be considered money as we cannot earn money without spending time.

Another difference between time and money factors is that we continue to spend the former or it tends to expire from the reserve gifted to us whether we like it or not while the latter, we try to earn as much as we could and there is no guarantee whatsoever that we would reach our targets. Something however common about these two crucial factors is that both of these are limited resources. And, unfortunately, though, everything what we do in life depends on these two strategic factors as resources. This is our ongoing dilemma in life; how to efficiently and effectively use these resources to achieve a balance that would lead us to achieve overall success in life.

We are blessed with 86,400 seconds of time every day or 31,536,000 seconds every year. Imagine this as an income or rather Universal Basic Income of Time (UBIT). As we noted before, since time is money, our income consists not only of money but also time although we usually refer to money as our income. Unfortunately, we are not gifted with a Universal Basic Income of Money or UBIM. However, some have already proposed and experimenting this idea of UBIM. Whether such an idea would take off or not still to be seen.

Not every one of us is blessed with seventy to eighty years of life and the UBIT is not unlimited. Moreover, until we reach our adulthood in our lifecycle, we wouldn’t have any urge to use our UBIT prudently. During our childhood or as school children, our parent would have had control on our life and dictated how we use our blessed UBIT. In any case, whatever the stage in our lifecycle, substantial amount of our UBIT is spent on sleeping. It could be somewhere between 5 to 8 hour every day. For an adult, just imagine this as six hours or 21,600 out of 86,400 seconds every day on average.

Considering that an average adult person also would be at work or similar engagement such as full-time studies that would require to spend another 8 hours or 28,800 seconds of the UBIT every day, we will be left with only 36,000 of UBIT. We would be spending another two hours or 7200 seconds on average in commuting or travelling to work and other activities every day. What about household chores that would take up another two hours or 7200 seconds and personal health and biological calls, including eating that would need an average of two hours or 7200 seconds? This is another total of 21,600 seconds of your daily UBIT and now we are left with only just 15,000 seconds or less than four hours of UBIT a day.

We may spend this left over time or if we may want to call it discretionary time either entirely on leisure and recreation activities or doing other errands such as shopping or bonding with friends, relatives or family members. If we happen to sleep an extra two hours, we would lose half of this.

The Time and Money Factors and the Critical SMUs

At this stage, it is important for us to identify all the key Responsibility Areas under each SMU so that their role and significance can be analyzed before the critical responsibility areas that are crucial for the effective management of SMUs are isolated. For our analysis, eight key responsibility areas have been identified which are designated by SMU codes such as SMU1 and SMU2 by virtue of their roles. The crucial SMUs are those on which we spend above or below the threshold level of time or money on average.

If an individual spends moderate or average time and money in any particular SMU, that SMU would be located in the center of the matrix box. These SMUs will be considered as acceptable norm and therefore may not require any attention for improvement. The objective of any individual would be to bring those SMUs from other boxes to the center box. Strategies to achieve this objective is not easy but it would not be difficult either, if the problem SMUs could be first identified.

However, one major problem would be to reach a balance between time and money spent on the SMUs. For example, the time spent can be reduced by allocating part of the job to someone else but that may involve additional cost. Similarly, cutting cost on one SMU may also require the work to be done by the individual herself or himself. This would again put pressure on the time spent.

Whether we spent excessive time and money or insufficient time and money in managing crucial SMUs, both situations are critical where attention would be needed to manage the affairs effectively and efficiently. For a less serious individual, macro management of the SMUs would seem satisfactory. Otherwise, it implies the identification of those SMUs which take up excessive time and money as measured against the standard. Once these SMUs and respective RAs are identified, then we can focus on them as high priority for management which obviously remains a strategic action where yearly targets can be set to achieve.

In addition to the analytical methods explored in the previous chapters, we can also use the Pareto’s rule of thumb. It is the time factor or money factor in terms of the amount we spend on the key SMUs and RAs that we may consider applying the Pareto’s 80:20 rule of thumb. And, it should work in most cases. Here, for example, 80% of the time may be spent on managing 20% of the SMUs or respective RAs.

For a serious individual, it would be necessary to consider micro-managing the critical SMUs tactically on a day to day basis. This requires to monitor the time and money spent carefully at least on a weekly basis if not daily and correct the deviations. Modern day Apps could help doing this much effectively. In any case, deviations should be measured against the average rather than on a desirable standards. Time and Money Control Charts can be used to monitor and plot any deviations from standards as a control process in micro-managing any specific SMU or Responsibility Areas.

The control charts are based on the concept of Process Control Chart used in the quality control techniques in operations or production management. In a typical quality control process, control chart plots the variations of output from a number of sample of events over a period of time. The three lines in the chart represent the mean or average, the upper control limit (UCL), and the lower control limit (LCL). If the variation in output falls between the upper and lower limits, then the process is said to be ‘in control’.

In this brief book, Saleem stresses the need to manage our personal affairs and responsibilities and introduces a framework which is based on the model of managing an organisation by considering an individual as an entity.

The concept of ‘Individual Entity’ with a cluster of functional units of personal affairs and responsibility areas helps us plan and allocate the limited resources of time and money to manage them effectively. Saleem has identified eight common functional units called the Strategic Management Units (SMU) which can be analyzed and prioritized based on the basis of importance and urgency using time and money.

As an essential feature, Saleem first identifies and briefly analyses all the SMUs that are required to be managed effectively and attempts to help the reader understand and develop his or her own strategy based on the framework provided. Since the type of issues and the nature of problems and strategies needed differ and vary from individual to individual, examples are also provided to illustrate the different ‘Individual Status’ (IS). Moreover, the book provides a framework for the analysis of ‘individuals as organizations or entities’ in the light of the external environment in which they operate (live) and the internal environment that determines the strengths and weaknesses of an individual. Therefore, it is essential that we understand the concept called Individual Environment (IEN) or the overall environment in which the individual lives which are internal and external in nature. This would essentially help us identify and analyse the SWOT factors within the context of one’s lifecycle stage and Individual Status (IS).

Saleem believes that personal affairs and responsibilities of an individual as an entity can be and should be managed responsibly and effectively in order to achieve life goals and objectives. Among several affairs and responsibilities, every individual would need to focus on a handful of core management units such as health and fitness, work and career, leisure, relationships, and sleep. All of these units would also need the input of two key resource factors noted above, time and money. Here, he also discusses how these scares resources can be allocated effectively to manage the core SMUs identified.

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