New TimeMgt 2-0 Twibe Formed

I took the liberty of forming a new twibe — TimeMgt2-0.

If you think that’s some kind of typo or a Loony Tunes imitation of Elmer Fudd, rest assured it’s not — as I learned only fifteen minutes ago.

Twibes are collections of people who want to twitter together on a single subject.  Or in other words, tweet.

Now, I only have a vague idea what I’m talking about here, but if you have a clue, you might want to join me in spreading the word that there is a time management twibe out there, and all who are interested are welcome to join.

Here is the twibe’s address:

I’ll have to admit that twittering, tweeting and belong to a twibe is taking a little getting used to, and I am wondering if this is some kind of cute fad that will disappear.

Hopefully, it’s not all a waste of time.  Perhaps I should be concerned about doing that here in a time management blog!  LOL

P.S. My Twitter address is

MyTimeDesign Offer Ends Tomorrow

mtd0008.jpgI originally planned to offer the US$1 – 30 day trial of MyTimeDesign until April 30th, but I have changed my mind and will yield to my better instincts.

I am going to close MyTimeDesign to new registrations as of May 1st.

There are so many enhancements that I’d like to make, that the best thing to do is to re-think how the program is offered to the public, and to implement many of the suggestions I have received since the product was launched.

There are also a variety of “flavors” I have wanted to offer for some time, and some new tools I have wanted to add to the program.  I also am contemplating the creation of a 6-week offering that will give users a quicker introduction to the essential fundamentals.

To help me make the right changes, in a week or two, I’ll be inviting all subscribers to complete a simple survey.  I am eager to hear how I can help you create and implement your own custom time management systems.

Becoming More Disciplined

habit-tracker-piece.jpgOn a teleconference today, the attendees and I talked about the need to be more disciplined in order to change one’s time management practices.

I thought about it for a moment and then I had a different thought.

A year ago, I  created a worksheet for each to help me implement a number of new habits.

Essentially, I focused on creating a single new habit, which was to sit down and work through my list of new habits each work-day, before doing anything else.

If I performed the habit in the last 24 hours I would earn a check (or tick) on  the list, and if not, I would  place an “x.”  I had no idea how it would work, but I was shocked to realize that I have been doing the practice for over a year, coming up with a new sheet each month.  I have implemented all the new habits that I have committed myself to, and created a new raft of brand new habits during the year to put in place.

Recently, I switched over to a small spreadsheet on my PDA, and am no longer using paper, but underlying idea remains exactly the same.

As a result of doing this practice, I now have several new practices that have become habits.  When a practice on the sheet has become a habit, I simply remove it.

Question is — Am I more disciplined?

I’m not sure, as “more disciplined” sounds to me like one of those judgements that people make without really understanding what they mean, or how to accomplish them. For example, it’s not helpful to tell someone to “become more disciplined.”

It’s much more helpful to tell them to:

a.  create a tracking sheet for the new habits  they want to implement

b. each morning, before doing anything else, go down the list and track whether or not the habit was implemented in the last 24 hours

c. at the end of each month, create a new sheet

In other words, forget about being disciplined and instead, focus on your sheet each morning and on doing as many items each day.  By the end of the month aim to do almost all of the items each day.  People may believe that you are being more disciplined, but you know that it’s simply been a matter of focusing on one sheet of paper each day.


The Best Time Management System in the World

oscar-1.jpgI have been a bit shy in thinking that I can help people develop the best time management systems in the world.

But the truth is, I actually believe it.

No that I am interested in becoming some kind of weird Pied Piper of Time Mangement… far from it.  Instead, the creator of “the best system” is not me, but it’s a user who understand the Fundamental of Time Management and creates practices that fulfills them.

What makes the time management system “the best” is the fact that someone who creates a system of their own and starts the process of optimizing it for his/her use has started the process of developing a system that is the best… for them.

And what could be better than systems that users develop for themselves?


Time Zones and Outlook Problems with Scheduling

tzmap.jpgIn an earlier post entitled: Outlook’s Shortcomings 5 -Scheduling, I described one of the problems with Outlook — it’s not designed to help a user to use it’s calendar function to manage their daily activities.

Instead,  it was only added on to the email program as a nifty way to keep track of appointments.

Users who have moved up a belt level and want to use an electronic schedule to plan and execute their day, quickly come across the program’s limitations.

One of them involves changes in time zone, a problem that I happen to be having.

The program changes entries in the calendar in an unpredictable, seemingly random way when timezones are crossed, leading to chaos.

The advice given below by in their article “Outlook Time Zone Problem” clearly shows the thinking that Microsoft has used — the calendar is for appointments with other people.


Outlook Time Zone Problem


discuss  Total posts: 22

I recently moved from New York to Washington. If I change the time zone in Windows from Eastern to Pacific, Outlook shifts all my appointments 3 hours. Is there a way to disable this feature? I always enter my appointments in local time and I never make calculations based on time zones when scheduling.

Blaze Cook

Microsoft Knowledge Base article number 290835 explains that if you have an appointment at 9 A.M. and then change the time zone from Eastern to Pacific, the appointment will automatically change to 6 A.M. Microsoft states that this feature is useful if you travel with your computer, but those of us who do travel with our computers know that the opposite is true. If you’ve set up three dozen appointments with clients at a trade show in another time zone, you’re in a bind. You can set your laptop to the local time zone, which changes your appointment times, or you can leave it set to your home time zone, in which case you won’t get timely reminders.

According to Microsoft, the solution is to export your appointments, change the time zone, delete the now-incorrect appointments in Outlook, and re-import the exported appointments. In your case, where you’ve moved permanently to the new time zone, you can process all of your appointments that haven’t yet occurred. If you need to change appointments during a business trip to another time zone, you can filter the exported appointments so the list includes only those meetings scheduled to take place during the trip.

Click here to be taken to the original article.


Time Management Statistics

gm-050424_ec_gm_profit_margins.gifI found this interesting page on time management statistics at the website for Key Organization Systems.

It describes some empirical research results that are interesting such as the following:

43% of Americans categorize themselves as disorganized, and 21% have missed vital work deadlines. Nearly half say disorganization causes them to work late at least 2 or times each week.

Click here to be taken to the link for time management statistics.


Multitasking Peaks During the Teen Years

This is a great article that makes the point that our ability to multi-task increases during our teen years before it starts a steady decline in our mid-30’s.

Interesting, because as far as I can tell, most professionals develop their first time management systems during that time.

This might explain why White Belts proliferate in most companies, and get into real trouble when they either get older, or have to deal with a rapid increase in the number of time demands that they must manage.

There are some other cool links at the site, including a reference to a series on Multitasking recently broadcast on NPR.

Here is a link to the post:  This is Your Brain on Multitasking.

Why Outlook Needs Industrial Engineering

crack-s_crevice.jpgIt just struck me that the basis for almost all the thinking I have done on this blog lies in the fact that I was trained as  an operations researcher / industrial engineer (OR&IE).

As OR&IE’s know, there is no training in time management at the  majority of schools of higher learning, perhaps due to the fact  that most of what’s taught is academia is about learning to think,  rather than do.

In fact, the field of time management belongs to no discipline that I can readily discern.  It falls neatly into a huge crack  between engineering schools, business schools and now schools for  IT.

I suspect that the reason this is the case is because anyone who claims to be an expert in time management would have to demonstrate  superior time management skills.  In the real world, this is  obvious, but in academia, it’s deemed to be irrelevant.

The few studies I have seen might be useful to someone who is  seeking to complete a PhD, but they are useless in helping  someone who is actually interested in improving their skills.   Part of this comes from the distance that academics try to  maintain between themselves and the subjects they are  studying.

In the real world, however, every single human being has a time  management system of their own, including the researcher. The one  who stands out and claims a breakthrough in this area should be  prepared to demonstrate that their research results are being  applied in their own life to good effect.  Otherwise, their  findings are likely to be ignored.

Frankly, it’s a lot easier to study a factory or distribution system, where it’s simply a lot less risky.

The fact that this is one field that blurs the neat distance that scientists like to keep from their subjects keeps it from being studied, in my opinion.

Also, the academics I have met and worked with seem fond of idiosyncratic and unproductive habits.  One professor I had at Cornell who taught optimization liked to pretend he was not in his office during office hours, for example.  I’m not sure what was being optimized…

I imagine that he would also complain that he didn’t have enough  time just like the rest of us!

Unfortunately,the lack of proper research has left us with some  gaping holes in our current understanding of time management, and  a lack of common definitions and basis of measurement.

Having said that, I had a lucky insight helped me to come up with  the 11 fundamentals.   So far, I haven’t seen it repeated in  too many other place, but from an OR&IE point of view, I now  see it as a foundation unit of understanding.

From the outset, industrial engineers and operations researchers  are taught to think in terms of factories and widgets.  In time  management, and here in 2Time, I   discovered that it was useful for me to think in terms of  “time demands.”

An Analogy In a manufacturing process, raw materials are provided as input  to a process of some kind, and they are acted on by machines,  transport mechanisms and other physical objects so that they are  transformed into some kind of output.

In time management, time demands are created by a user’s commitments.  Once created, they are then transformed by  the fundamentals to produce a very different kind of result —  peace of mind.

Microsoft and other software companies interested in creating time management systems would do we to place industrial engineers   and operations researchers alongside software developers, business- people and psychologists to work on the next generation of time management tools. They’d just need  to be careful to arm them with the right distinctions, so that they could be effective.