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Interview | Sort out your time with The Time Rebel: Paul Holbrook

What are you working on at the moment?

At the moment I’m incorporating a product I created (called Diary Detox®) into a new offering that with help organisations make flexible working work; it’s called the Flex Detox.

That sounds interesting. How does it work?

The Flex Detox is a five-step method to finding and addressing the main barriers (and other barriers) that stand in the way of organisations when they consider flexible working. The main barriers are:

1. People not knowing or living the values of their organisation (values tell you what your people do when they haven’t been asked to do anything specific).

2. Clear targets that bring the results that the organisation want.

3. Managers spending time doing the wrong things because they think they’re the right things.

What aspect of the business are you most proud of?

That it’s incredibly simple. Take the Flex Detox Discovery, for example. It’s a one hour presentation (remote or in-person) where their people get some interesting information and they are asked a number of key questions. They get to answer them using their phone (anonymously).

After the session, as well as being able to apply some of what they have been shown, the manager gets a personalised report outlining the risks that exist to flexible working – from there they can address them!

What did you do before this?

I spent 20 years in technology in the City of London at various banks. First, I was a developer and then climbed the ranks to become head of 350 people within Change Management for the UK Branch of a German Bank. Just over two years ago, I left to start my own business. I created the Diary Detox®, a five-step method that showed managers how to avoid doing stuff that wasted their time but that they thought they needed.

I guess the HoC work helped frame your thinking for Diary Detox?

The behaviours that cause managers to lose productivity (in themselves and others) are the very same behaviours that create an environment that is damaging to flexible working. It’s all linked and I want to bring the thinking together in a simple model.

What do you get up to outside of work?

I fly a plane, play the piano and like to exercise. This year I have decided to complete the London Classics; that’s the London Marathon, Ride London and Swim Serpentine. They will all be completed in aid of charity. I have decided to donate the proceeds from my book, ‘What are you doing? The uncomfortable truth about how you WASTE time at work.’.

What do you see as the next phase for your business?

After Flex Detox, the next step is putting the Diary Detox® into the hands of coaches, consultants and HR professionals so that they can use the method to help their clients. It’ll be called Diary Detox® Practitioner. It’s in development now and should be here in the latter half of 2020.