Archive for April, 2007

Some Great Tips

April 27, 2007

The thing about productivity tips is that many of them are interesting, but they don’t have the basic importance of the 11 Components. The Components are recognized in the 2Time Management system as “inescapable” realities of managing time demands in a busy world.

Having said that, tips are interesting insights that work for some people, but not others. There are several sites that describe some incredibly insightful tips, and these particular tips from the zenhabits author are good enough for me to want to try it. (more…)

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The Chaos of a Novice

April 24, 2007

If there is a friend you have who can be relied upon to ignore your emails, voice-mails and text messages, and to forget important commitments, then the chances are good that that person is a novice in the art and science of time management.

They may be quite well-intentioned, intelligent, willing to learn and sincerely apologetic, but the fact that they are a Novice has nothing to do with their mental frame of mind.

Instead, it has everything to do with how time demands flow, or do not flow through whatever system they are using. Their processes and habits are what make them a Novice, and nothing else. (more…)

Being Comfortable with Your Own System

April 20, 2007

It is a mistake for a user of a time management system at any level to be envious of other users.

The fact is, the design of a time management system is a personal matter, and the choice of how to operate each component is one that only the individual can make.

Unfortunately, many users will allow themselves to feel guilty that they are not operating as Black Belts – but this is not a useful way to use the 2Time Management system. This leads to resistance and self-blame, the very opposite of the goal they are trying to accomplish.

Success in 2Time starts with accepting and embracing the level at which a user finds himself, regardless of what that might be. Once they have fully embraced it, they can then implement the plan to move up one habit at a time, one belt at a time, taking care to practice the skills at the level they are at, while practicing the new skills they need to learn.

The Reliability of a Green Belt

April 20, 2007

A Green Belt is masterful in the use of their time management systems.

It truly seems to others as if nothing falls through the cracks when dealing with a Green Belt. Requests big and large are never forgotten. Email never languishes unreturned. They hit deadlines without seeming to break a sweat. They don’t have moods that prevent them from doing what they said they would do.

Users at lower levels imagine that the Green Belt must be stressed out managing the volume of things that they are able to handle. The truth is that the Green Belt is better organized, and therefore more at peace than others could ever imagine. (more…)

On Being a Black Belt pt 1

April 18, 2007

The very best users of a time management system are what the 2Time Management system recognizes as Black Belts.

Black Belts have already been practicing as Green Belts in many of the components of the 2Time Management System, from Capturing to Reviewing.

They might not be perfect, but they are constantly improving the way they manage their time management system.

However, at the Black Belt level they are no longer just concerned with their own system. Instead, they are concerned with the systems of others. (more…)

Putting it All Together

April 17, 2007

Once a professional has committed to a lifelong process of mastering the way they manage their time, the 2Time system can become their very best guide.

Self-Assessment

Starting with each of the elements, a user can decide what level they find themselves at. Going through each of the eleven components, they can assemble a composite description of their current level of mastery. Our advice here is to be conservative, and to resist the temptation to overrate.

Here is a sample Self-Evaluation for a fictitious user who has gained some understanding of the different elements that make up the 2Time system. (more…)

Component #11 – Reviewing v2

April 11, 2007

A critical skill used in any well-functioning time management system is that of reviewing and improving.

Definition

Reviewing is the skill of looking over both the contents of the time management system AND its functioning, with a view to preventing problems and improving the user’s personal productivity. There are two kinds of reviews, Content Reviews and System Reviews.

  1. Reviewing Content
    In order to prevent a time management system from exploding at any time, a user needs to investigate the content in each of the components at regular intervals to ensure that the pipeline of time demands is not about be filled, or clogged. The best users are always referring back to the contents of their time management system in order to:

    • update items in lists and schedule
    • adjust the timing of tasks in a schedule
    • place new items in their capture points
    • dispense email from their in-box to different folders and lists

    They set certain standards for themselves with respect to how often to review critical lists such as their “Waiting For” lists and “Thinking About” lists. (more…)

Component #10 – Warning v2

April 10, 2007

No user’s system is perfect, and all systems are liable to fall apart at the seams when pressure hits and certain practices (like Reviewing) fall by the wayside.

Definition

What a smart user at a high level will do is to create a series of warnings that indicate whether or not the system is operating adequately. Ideally, these warnings should be designed to come early – long before there is any danger of the system failing.

Warning involves putting in place automated signals that tell the user that the system is about to fail. (more…)

Component #9 – Switching v2

April 9, 2007

One of the most important tasks that a user of any time management system must perform is to switch from one task to another. While this may seem like a simple action, the more capable users include practices that are unique.

Definition

Switching is defined as stopping one task, looking at all the time demands, and deciding what to do next.

Principles

Advanced users take great care about switching, knowing that there is always a temptation to switch too quickly. To do so is to court disaster.

  1. Firstly, the most advanced users cherish the moments when they are in the flow of any activity – in fact, a major goal of their system is to stay in the flow as long as possible without interruption. (more…)

Component #8 – Interrupting v2

April 9, 2007

Definition

In the book titled “Flow” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the author talks about the optimal psychological state – one in which a person gets lost in the activity at hand. They get lost in time, and experience a kind of empty silence as they focus all their attention on the task at hand. Their creativity and productivity are as high as they can get.

Then the phone rings, someone answers it and someone wants to sell them stocks. They brush off the call, but not quickly enough. Their state of flow is gone.

They buckle down again, and 30 minutes later they are back in the flow state. They are once again focused, and time whizzes by.

That is, until they get a note from their spouse via their secretary that screams at them because they forgot to pick up their child, who is now languishing at the day care facility, and all of a sudden they are over two hours late.

While the state of flow is the best possible one to be in, it is potentially a dangerous one, because one’s full range of awareness is intentionally limited to complete the task at hand.

To effectively manage time, a user needs methods for both entering and interrupting the flow state. (more…)