Archive for January, 2008

Time Management Planner

January 30, 2008

introphotovf5.gifI was surfing around and found this Squidoo page that I think describes a very handy method for scheduling that uses only paper and pencil. Or, more accurately, it uses a diary system to manage time.

The creator, Carmen a.k.a. Clutterbugs, rightly makes the point that much of what we do is repetitive from week to week, day to day and month to month.

Her system offers three overlapping paper calendars that work together to show these different views – it’s a cool innovation.

While it won’t replace the electronic calendar, it can help a user to make the transition to the higher belt levels in 2Time, especially in the component of Scheduling.

Email:Putting It All Together

January 28, 2008

jordan-arton45917-150x150.jpgOne of the easiest ways to check whether or not someone is at a higher belt level is to observe carefully how they handle email.

What do they have in their in-box? Is the number of emails always kept small? Does email get sent to them that they never reply to? Does email routinely get lost amid hundreds, or even thousands of items? Do their friends and colleagues prefer to call them knowing that they are “bad with email”? At the end of each year, do they simply delete everything in their in-box, and start all over with a fresh one?

Email failure is a sure sign they they have not mastered one or more of the fundamentals. This is because email management at the higher belt levels is a function of executing a group of fundamentals, rather than any single one.

To handle email well, a 2Time user must be Capturing, Emptying, Tossing, Scheduling and/or Listing, Acting Now, Warning and Reviewing in a smooth, coordinated way.

Why is this so? (more…)

Post-Pilot Analysis (2) – New Equipment

January 26, 2008

visa-hand-and-card.jpgDuring the recent pilot of NewHabits-NewGoals (the course built on the concepts of 2Time), it struck me that every professional has their own home-grown time management system. They developed it in a trial-and-error fashion, mostly starting when they were in their early teens, and picking up bits and pieces from people they admired along the way. These included people they know in person, as well as those who may have written books outlining one person’s particular approach.

However, they didn’t develop it in a systematic way. They didn’t know the fundamentals. Without the fundamentals, they could not develop a complete system or innovate within the boundaries of the discipline in way that made their life easier, rather than harder.

Technology has only made their homegrown systems more susceptible to failure. Email is a great idea. Sending email from a Blackberry in the middle of a meeting is a bad idea. (more…)

Post-Pilot Analysis (1) – Overcoming My Worst Fears

January 23, 2008

bow.jpgThe first pilot program using the ideas in the 2Time Mgt Blog was completed last week with a hardy, challenging group of 13 professionals.

It was a great learning experience all around, and I learned a lot from exposing people to the ideas from this blog for the very first time. My wife has been the one who has born the brunt of the ideas I have come up with, and I have pretty much worn her out with all my ideas on this topic.

The biggest fears I had were not realized:

  1. Two days seemed to be enough to get the ideas across.
  2. The participants liked the blend of lecture, questions and practical hands-on work.
  3. The idea of developing your own system made logical sense (Thank God!). (more…)

No Such Thing As a Prodigy

January 21, 2008

practice-bp-7-ward-batting.jpgThis article, entitled “The Myth of Prodigy and Why It Matters“, is such an inspiration.

It essentially makes the case that what we think of as genius, merely comes down to persistent practice, even in the cases when we think that the age of a prodigy “means” that they must have been born with their gift.

The article, taken from the Association of Psychological Science, is based on research done by Malcolm Gladwell that shows that diligence and discipline are much better predictors of future success than early talent.

This is good news for professionals who are committed to improving their productivity skills. It is never too late to learn and increasingly master the fundamentals of 2Time, or any other hard-to-learn discipline. All it takes is practice.

Interview in the Press

January 18, 2008

Last Sunday, the Jamaica Gleaner carried an interview I conducted with one of their feature editors.

Interestingly, the interview was conducted via Skype.


2Time for People in Transition

January 17, 2008

age_8.jpgI just finished leading the pilot course based on the 2Time principles. The two day session conducted here in Kingston, Jamaica seemed to go well, and I learned a lot from the participants and how they worked with these ideas.

One lesson that came home clearly is that professionals look for a new time management system when they are in transition.

For example, when a college student gets their first job, or an employee is promoted or receives a new area of responsibility or gets married or has a baby, life changes. All of a sudden, the volume of time demands that they are committed to completing increases, and overwhelms the system they had before. (more…)

Making Habit Change Easy

January 14, 2008

ist2_2628164_smoking_and_drinking_men.jpgThis is quite a good article entitled Installing a new habit and breaking an old one by Stephanie Burns on the practice of changing habits.

In 2Time, all progress hinges on a keen self-knowledge of how to change one’s habits. We are all different, and respond to different sets of stimuli. What we all need to do is to know ourselves so well that whenever we want to change a habit, we can. This is where her article is quite useful.

Here is an excerpt that focuses on making it easy to do the new habit, and hard to repeat the old one.

Strategies in action – here is how it works

You want to start carrying a bit of cash and not using your credit card.

Make it hard to do. Freeze your credit card in a block of ice.

You want to walk or jog each morning to start your day, but by the time you get up and move around you don’t feel like it. (more…)

ChangeThis.com Manifesto Accepted

January 11, 2008

manifesto.jpgI got some good news this week from the folks at ChangeThis.com, which was that my proposal to write my manifesto had been accepted.

In prior posts, including this one, I mentioned that I had written a proposal to write a manifesto for the website.

My proposal, which is described here, did quite well, receiving some 460 votes, more than twice the second-place proposal, and more than any other proposal since.

That was back in October, and I have been waiting and wondering… what next? A few emails weren’t returned, until finally the word came back that the invitation was being extended, and that a typical manifesto could expect to be downloaded some 20,000 to 50,000 times.

Well.

That got my attention!

The Four Hour Work Week: Forget About Time Management

January 9, 2008

4-hour-work_week.jpgI have just finished listening to the audio book “The 4-Hour Work Week” which I enjoyed immensely, even as I disagreed with some of the points made by the author, Time Ferriss.

One chapter is entitled “The End of Time Management”.

He argues that one should forget all about time management!

Of course, this is more of a fancy title for a chapter than anything else, as he is mostly focused on doing the right things, rather than merely trying to maximize output or efficiency. He pooh-poohs the idea of trying to be more efficient, and looks back at his days when he was focused on working harder and harder, on God-knows-what.

But the truth is, he must have the same problem that the rest of us have, in the 11 fundamental elements. Even though he may only work 4 hours per week, he must still Capture, Empty, Schedule, Toss, etc. because he is subject to the same physical rules that we are, and has the same memory constraints that we do (or soon will, given a few more years of age). (more…)