Archive for March, 2007

Component #7 – Listing v2

March 28, 2007

A critical part of any time management system is the activity of Listing.

In the prior component, Scheduling, I addressed the power of expanding the use of a schedule from a mere Appointment Calendar to a possibly useful planner of each and every kind of activity that places a time demand on a user.

As useful as a schedule is, however, it has its limits.

Any user that tries to schedule too many items into a calendar will ultimately cause their calendar to fail from the weight of too many time demands. At the moment, there is no calendaring system or technology that exists that will not fail from over-scheduling.

Definition

Listing involves putting a time demand on a list that is created to pull together items that share some common attribute.

(more…)

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Goof-Off Time and Other Techniques

March 26, 2007

One of the efforts that we at Framework are undertaking this year is that of defining a method of time management that fits the Caribbean tempo and lifestyle.

The reasons why none of the popular approaches used worldwide has become popular in our region are varied and many: too much rigidity, too much technology, not enough humanity etc.

While the best approach I have found is the one described in the book Getting Things Done by David Allen, even this approach does not provide a complete time management solution for our way of living.

I know this from personal experience, having lived in both North America, with its daily predictability, and here in the Caribbean, where life is filled with unpredictability. At the moment of writing, for example, I have been waiting for 7 weeks to receive DSL service…

In my reading this morning, I realized that my own time management tricks have evolved a great deal over the years. In particular, my calendar has evolved to the point where I discovered that I actually have three calendars in one:

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Component #6 – Scheduling

March 26, 2007

Scheduling is one of the major activities that take place in any time management system.

This entry, therefore, should be read after the entries in the post Ways to Use a Calendar have been read and throughly digested, for the ideas here to make sense.

Definition

Scheduling is taking a time demand and converting it into a time-slot in the calendar that has a defined start-time and end-time, on a specific date.

When the need arises, appointments are swapped around to different time-slots, depending on the circumstances at hand.

Principles

  • A single calendar should be used to schedule all time demands.
  • When time demands are scheduled into time-slots, there should be sufficient time between them to account for interruptions, recovery time and overruns. (more…)

Ways to Use a Calendar v2

March 26, 2007

In a prior post, I talked about how the most powerful time management system is one that a user designs for themselves. When users know the principles behind a good system they are much better equipped to design a unique approach that works for them.

One area that is often misunderstood is the use of a calendar in an overall time management system.

I have observed that people use calendars in ways that are unproductive, because they are stuck in an old paradigm of the Appointment Calendar. The Appointment Calendar probably originated with the kind of calendar used in a doctor’s office. It was a tool the receptionist used to ensure that different patients were not being scheduled at the same time. (more…)

Component # 5 -Storing (and Retrieving) v2

March 25, 2007

Often, critical information enters a capture point that needs to be stored for later use. It may come as part of a time demand, such as a note placed on our desk that says “Call Suzie tomorrow at 555-1616.” This particular note has both a time demand plus a critical piece of information.

Definition

When critical information is entered into a capture point, and is likely to be needed at some future time, it needs to be stored in an effective way.

Principles

Nothing should ever be stored in one’s personal memory , unless it is first stored elsewhere. (more…)

Component #4 — Acting Now v2

March 24, 2007

During the act of Emptying, the user often discovers that a number of time demands can be completed with only a 2-5 minute burst of immediate activity.

Definition

Acting Now means taking immediate action on items that have been emptied from a capture point. For example, a friend’s new phone number can be entered immediately into a contact database of phone numbers within 60 seconds.

The easiest course of action for some time demands is to deal with them immediately, rather than to go through a longer process of entering them into a list, or into a schedule.

Also, there are occasions, in which taking immediate action leads to other actions, and care must be taken to deal with these follow-up items by either capturing them, or placing them in the time management system.

Principles

Act on as many items that can be acted on now as time will allow. (more…)

Component #3 — Tossing v2

March 24, 2007

Tossing is one of the components that can directly follow Emptying.

Definition

Once a time demand enters or is entered into one of the capture points, a decision is made during the component of Emptying about what to do with it.

Certainly, one of the options is simply to take the time demand out of existence without further regard, or in other word to “Toss” it away or to delete it.

An example might be:

  • a piece of junk mail or spam that is either thrown away or deleted
  • a voice-mail that is erased
  • (more…)

Component #2 – Emptying v2

March 21, 2007

Emptying is the activity that logically follows Capturing.

Definition

Emptying involves removing items one at a time from the points of capture and placing them within one of the other components of the time management system. This action frees up the point of capture to receive new items.

Whereas Capturing involves a split-second activity and is truly a habit that can be practiced until it becomes automatic, Emptying is an action that takes careful consideration as it acts as the primary gateway into the rest of the time management system. Emptying is a transfer step, the connection between the items in the points of capture (e.g. an in-box of paper items, a voice-mail system, a paper notepad, etc.) and subsequent components in a time management system (e.g. Tossing, Scheduling, Acting Now, etc.). (more…)

Component #1 — Capturing v2

March 20, 2007

In an earlier post, I talked about the fact that there are certain key components that need to be included in an effective time management system.

Component #1 is that of “Capturing”.

Definition

To understand Capturing, it’s best to slow down a single process that occurs hundreds of times in the day of an average profession.

The process starts with the thought “I need to do something” that could be prompted by a conversation, a book being read, a request — anything that triggers a thought that something needs to be done at some point in the future.

In the 2Time Management System we call this a “time demand”.

Once the original thought appears,- we do something to store the time demand, so that it can be accessed later. (more…)

Time Management: The Martial Art for Working Professionals

March 19, 2007

In a prior post, I made the point that within every time management system there lies a structure that is always present.

I compare it the bone structure that makes up the human hand. Although individual hands might be different, a fully functional hand must have all the component parts. They each serve a distinct purpose. While it is possible to function without all the parts, there are a few essential bones that must be either present, or replaced, in order for the appendage to work.

In the same way, a time management system must have certain basic components, without which it does not function. These basics are Capturing, Emptying, Tossing, Storing, Scheduling, Acting Now, Listing, Switching, Warning, Interrupting and Reviewing.

In fact, an effective time management system in 2007 must be able to do things that a time management system in 1970 just was not designed to do. (more…)