A Warning for Each Fundamental

In the last week I have been immersed in leading 2 NewHabits-NewGoals programmes here in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

These courses are the fastest way for me to learn what works and what doesn’t work in the entire 2Time approach, and especially in the programmes offered to  the public.

One insightful question that was put to me was whether or not there I would recommend a Warning system for each of the 11 fundamentals.

I thought about it for a while and thought that the idea would be a fantastic one, except that for a proper Warning system to exist, it must be automated and based on more than a gut feeling.

In each of the fundamentals, I got this far in my thinking in what would constitute a complete warning system:

Warning Signs

1. Capturing — too many items or pages remain in the capture point.  Another warning could be that the oldest item in the capture point is more than a certain number of days old.

2. Emptying —  this might be similar to the warning for Capturing.  One specific warning could be the number of days that have elapsed between bouts of “Emptying”

3. Tossing —  I would set my warning signal for tossing be related to the number of items that exist in my time management system in some way.  If the total number of items became too large, I would relate that to a possible lack of Tossing.

4. Acting Now — if my schedule became too packed with too many items, that might relate to a lack of “Acting Now.”   This would be easy to measure in Outlook if it measured the number of items that were disposed of, but this would mean that an incoming email would have to be tracked and tagged in some way.  This would be useful, but might add extra “bloat” to Outlook in addition to the fat that already exists.

5.  Storing — when I have too many items waiting to be filed or scanned, that is an instant warning that I need to  be doing more Storing.

6.  Scheduling —  I wish that Outlook could do some quick analysis of my schedule to tell me whether or not my schedule was unrealistic, using some criteria that  I could give.  If too many items are scheduled at the same time, or too close together, it should be able to tell me.

7.  Listing — I wish I could tell when lists are getting stale and need to be pruned

8.  Interrupting — this one leaves me a bit lost.  To have a good warning, Outlook would need to measure what happens when I dismiss a reminder.  Perhaps reminders would have to be re-thought completely, and the user should be given a choice of different ways of dismissing them.  One choice could be to “dismiss as complete,” and another could be to “dismiss as irrelevant.”  Then, perhaps the time it is dismissed could tell something about whether or not the reminder is actually working the way it should.

(I appreciate that if you are not a heavy Outlook user that this won’t make much sense to you.)

9.  Switching — this is getting more difficult with these advanced fundamentals… Maybe a valid warning in Switching might be  the number of ignored reminders, as a sort of rough guide as to whether or not the schedule is being consulted before action is taken

10.   Warning — the number of automated warnings that are consulted (or not ignored) can be used as a possible warning for Warning!

11.  Reviewing — If Outlook had something like a formal review that showed statistics telling me how my time management system is working, that would be a start.

These Warnings would be a good start, and if I were to rethink the programme I would do it along these lines.