Who is studying time management?

I have been looking but can’t find anyone in academia who is studying time management. I have a theory as to why that is, in two parts.

Firstly, I think that time management, as a personal practice, does not neatly fit into any single discipline. Is it Industrial Engineering? Operations Research? Management Science? Psychology? Sociology? Business?

Because it does belong to any single area of study, it therefore belongs to none. Continue reading “Who is studying time management?”

The Rudeness of Being Late

The following article on being late appeared a few months ago in the Jamaica Gleaner:

The rudeness of being late
published: Thursday | June 21, 2007

Ian McDonald

A few experiences lately, of public figures who should know better arriving late on occasions when they have agreed to assist in the proceedings, prompts me to repeat a column I wrote a while back. Why will such personages not learn that being late, sometimes very late, is a waste of people’s time and upsettingly rude to keep others waiting? Continue reading “The Rudeness of Being Late”

An Interesting Article on GTD

marathon-10k.jpgWired magazine just published a new edition that included a story on the founder of GTD® (Getting Things Done), David Allen.

Much was made of his spiritual background and beliefs, and some have proclaimed the story a “Slam Job“, with the intention being to make him and his work look bad.

I do think it went overboard in trying to make GTD sound like a path to spiritual enlightenment. The author just seems to have intentionally looked for a juicy angle, and then tried to bend everything about David and his work to fit the angle. It sounds a bit forced. Continue reading “An Interesting Article on GTD”

Outlook 2007 Comments

I repeat my opinion that Microsoft Outlook is designed by “feature addition”, rather than driven by a useful philosophy of time management. Programmers with weak time management skills themselves will look for tips that they can hard-wire into the code, thus making it easier to do trivial things, but perhaps harder to do some of the essentials.I did some research into Outlook 2007, hoping that it would have some of the capabilities I wanted, but instead I ran into the following “new” features: Continue reading “Outlook 2007 Comments”

2Time and Other Time Management Systems

equalizer_web.jpgThankfully, 2Time conflicts with none of the other time management systems that I am aware of, and actually should enhance the way in which they are presented to users at all levels.

The best system that I am aware of is Getting Things Done (GTD®) by David Allen.

The limitation of GTD and other systems is not that the ideas are not good, which they are. Instead, the problem is that they each represent a single set of strategies.

I liken it to a particular kind of music that you can get from using an equalizer (a device used to balance the different frequencies of sound to produce a particular quality of music). One can set the knobs to enhance reggae music (with lots of bass), rock music (with a lot more treble) or to clearly hear an audio recording, which involves enhancing the frequency for spoken sound and dampening the others. Continue reading “2Time and Other Time Management Systems”

In Response to a Book of 100 Tips

warninglabel.gifI was kind of interested in the following post by Ben Yoskovitz, in which he asked for tips from over 100 people on “The Secret to Being Productive”.

He got over 100 responses, all of them quite interesting, but it struck me that a book of 100 tips might require a warning label….

Ben, I have a contrary view… and a reason why the book should be carefully considered before it is written. I think productivity tips are similar to pieces of bright coloured candy. They taste nice, but they aren’t a good substitute for meat and potatoes (or, here in Jamaica, for jerk chicken and hard-do bread!).They are hardly the building blocks that one needs for a healthy lifestyle, and too much of a focus on them is, well, unhealthy.

Not to pour too much cold water on the idea… I WILL read it once it’s completed, but you may do well to have a “Warning” sign at the beginning saying that someone should not expect to implement these 100+ tips and, by itself, become more productive.

So I submitted my own tip (long after the closing date) that essentially said: “Big Tip: Throw Away the Tips“. I don’t think it’s going to make it into the book… 😉

“How Did You Get Interested in Time Management?”

The above question came in from a reader, and I answered it in this way:

letter2.jpg“Dear reader”,

Thanks for the kind words… they are much appreciated.

I can tell by your domain name that we are already of like mind!

I am an industrial engineer by training, although I don’t do much of it anymore. Industrial engineers are geeks who love efficiency, optimization, and cutting waste… so I have been thinking about this kind of thing since then.

I read all the books I could find on the subject, until they stopped saying anything new. Then I was trained to teach a course called Mission Control, before stumbling into GTD®, which I loved and which seemed to be the source of many of the ideas of Mission Control.

Sometime last year, when I was blogging about mastery on my main business blog, Chronicles from a Caribbean Cubicle, it struck me that people here in the Caribbean could use neither system, for various reasons.

I figured that there must be a better way and I realized that I could find no “basic structure” for people to learn, and that each of the gurus were only selling a milepost, rather than a path.

And mastery is about the path after all… not any one guru’s destination.

Hence, the belt system, the 11 fundamental components, the idea of personal practice and the notion of designing one’s own way, and one’s own rate of evolution over time.

Phew — maybe I gave you more of an answer than you wanted!

How did you come across my site? I’ll be visiting yours in a few minutes.


Starting the Day with a Scaffold

I really admire Steve Pavlina’s blog for the quality and range of ideas that he is able to create and articulate. His post on creating a personal productivity scaffold is no exception:

He is essentially creating a way of Reviewing and Scheduling that includes a slot in the morning to plan, and a slot in the evening to reflect. I have been using it and enjoying it, after making some changes to the items he uses.

I have also scheduled the morning slot in my calendar, and I am waiting to see if it makes sense to do the same for the evening slot.

I am using it with a homegrown version of this tracking tool from Productivity 501 to good effect.

Outlook Community

Just curious, but does anyone know of a place online where people discuss how Microsoft Outlook can be used, and improved?

Let me know!