Just Seven Things

Exploring why and how we do what we do, and how we can do it better

Archive for the tag “Time Management”

Time Management Progress in Action

I was prompted by a comment on one of my posts from June (J7T was just 19 days old) about how hard time management was. It made me stand back and evaluate how far I’ve come in just over three months (and particularly after a 7/10 level day in terms of stress and task bittiness as I travelled between appointments):

  1. I feel more relaxed control (and a clearly ring-fenced idea of where there is a diminishing pile of ‘stuff’ to clear through the GTD system
  2. I am significantly better at locking down my focus to a task in hand. To switch and give it my full thinking attention. Ironically, writing this blog (with the aim of posting at least 5/7 days a week) has improved this ability
  3. I have a more flexible approach to prioritisation based on trust of my systems and reaction to a gut response. This opposed to the constant prioritising and re-prioritising trap that it is sometimes easy to get into
  4. My sense of ‘someday/maybe’ or just ‘ruthless task deletion’ has improved. I feel like I know myself better and cull those things that will just sit for years on front-of-mind task lists and create noise.
  5. I (as posted on recently) am a lot better at just doing the action. Just getting on and starting without messing around.
And the main area for improvement? 
As WorkLoadMaster states in his comment to my post on the ‘Stress of Time Management’ above: it’s all about keeping on top of the system. I feel like my report card would say:
‘Si has shown much improvement over the term. With continuing effort and focus he should continue to improve……’

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The Holy Grail of Deliberate Practice

Following a particularly busy productive week, I am hugely struck by something that is probably screamingly obvious to a large section of the population. Those who:

1.    Do not consider that they have any need for time management, personal effectiveness or personal ‘action system’ (e.g. GTD etc.) training

2.    Just get on with stuff

3.    Don’t worry about the stuff they’re not doing when they’re doing the stuff they’re doing

They may be effectively prioritising on the fly based on importance/ time/ energy etc. But I’m not sure whether they may gravitate to ‘noise’ or most apparent urgent/importance

Maybe it is some form of evolutionary curve, but striving for increased personal effectiveness has led me to: Read more…

How Does ‘Just Doing It’ Help with Prioritisation and Make You Happier?

I wrote a couple of days ago about how the only way you’ll get better at managing your time and productivity is to ‘just do it’.  Just take the time and do the task. Don’t prevaricate or procrastinate. Just start and do what you can in the time.

I am noticing other things about this approach:

1. It focuses you on what you have to do ‘aid’ the removal of prevarication. There are the obvious things which I have written about before: making a shallow on-ramp to the task by thinking about the required very next steps when you accept the task/ project (a key element from David Allen’s GTD system – see Blogroll). Using game play to lighten the weight/ onerousness of the task etc. etc.

2. At a more general level it requires you to assess the types of things that you’re interested/ passionate about doing. Because you get into your momentum of ‘just doing it’; be they back to back 5 minute, or 30 minute slots, you start to focus on the things that slide through the easiest.

When I was taking notes today, I ended up using phrases like ‘lubricating’ the tasks. Reducing the resistance. It’s all about achieving a flow of activity tied bound by the way in which it makes you feel. It’s the opposite of feeling resistance to task after task. Obviously, you then have the practical challenge of clearing as efficiently as possible the things that you don’t enjoy (of which we know there are lots in your average day). However, taking this approach you get a bit into the mode that you do before going on holiday. Suddenly you crank through things because you are positively drawn to getting them out of the way so that you can get stuck into your back to back low resistant, well-lubricated enjoyables…

3. It significantly aids your prioritisation. I think a number of things are at work here:

– in an obvious sense, the more you do the more you are able to see what’s important. When you sit there with a list you’ve not got into anything to see where a lot of common actions may be bound (e.g. the thing that’s going wrong in the process/ the major project that hasn’t been done)

– It cuts through the crap. The achievement of outputting and actioning and starting different activity going shifts the weighting on a flat/ static to do list. You want more of the big impact things to increase this feeling of achievement

– Your decision-making is improved. You know what is giving you relief/ payback and start to find the red herrings. The things which until you get into them seem important, but aren’t.

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