Recent Guest-Posts

I have done a bit of writing recently for other websites that I admire, and find interesting.  Here are the most recent publications:

5 Things to Consider Before Investing in a Time Management System

Why Time Management is So Tough

Why We All Need to Upgrade Our Time Management Systems

There are some other articles coming out in the next few weeks so please stay tuned.

I’ve been focusing on trying to say a few things that no-one else is saying. The truth is, I hate reading stuff that’s just rehashed from other places.

Harvard Business Review Letter

harvard-biz-rvw.jpgI just got word from the editors of Harvard Business Review that a letter I wrote in response to an article on information overload was included in the January-February 2010 edition.

Unfortunately, they don’t carry letters online and it takes ages for my copy to reach Jamaica, so if anyone can confirm its inclusion would you let me know?

Here is  an excerpt of the letter I sent, which I am fairly sure has been edited down to size.

“Death by Information Overload” (September 2009) by Paul Hemp was a well-written and provocative piece that I’m sure had many heads nodding. But I fear that the author did more to inflate a popular complaint than he did to guide readers toward a proper answer.

By the time I finished reading the article, I had the distinct feeling that we were all victims of the proliferation of information, and that we had no choice except to suffer from the “floodgates” of content that were “rush(ing) towards us in countless formats.” Hemp suggested some weak remedies, such as putting in place filtering software or getting others to send fewer messages — actions that hardly seem designed to stem the tide.

I went on to argue that the real problem is one of time management.

An Experiment with Scheduling

I just stumbled across a post over at Matt Cornell’s blog in which he shares an experiment he performed around the discipline of Scheduling.

For those readers who are familiar with GTD®,  you will notice that he clearly crosses a boundary that that particular system enforces.  The schedule should only be used for items that have “hard edges,” or in other words, cannot be changed easily (e.g. a meeting with your boss at 4pm.)

From a 2Time point of view, this boundary is what separates White Belts from Yellow Belts in time management.  Yellow Belts don’t need elaborate lists that must be checked once a task is complete — they simply set up their calendars to handle most all tasks (while using lists to manage items on a shopping list that don’t require individual time-slots.)

My own opinion is that when David Allen, the author of GTD, wrote his book back in 2000-1, the tools for scheduling were simply too crude to contemplate the kind of schedule that a Yellow Belt maintains.  Today, we have iPods, Blackberries and Palm Pre’s, and they make scheduling a much simpler task, and the job of carrying around a schedule at all times as easy as carrying around a smartphone.

(While I do have issues with the fact that smartphones don’t easily allow users to create scheduled items from individual emails,  I have to think that that capability is coming… the sooner the better!)

Until that happens, visit Matt’s blog to read: Testing the Classics:  A Time Management Experiment: Time Blocking


A Typo, a Move and Some Lost Habits

istock_000005291546xsmall.jpgI was hardly prepared for so many things to fall apart when I recently moved my home, and by extension, my home-office.

Things came to a head a few minutes ago when I noticed the topic of a post I wrote: “Procrasination Teleseminar.”

At least I didn’t put off fixing the typo until later…

But I did  ask myself why it is that a move is so disruptive, and why so many of my habits developed over the past few years simply dropped out of sight once we started packing

That’s not all that happened to my .

Gargling each morning with peroxide has been shown to reduce incidences of the common cold by almost 30%.

After moving almost two weeks ago, the practice disappeared.  I didn’t even remember that it had now become a habit that I was doing each morning without missing a beat.

It re-appeared only when I discovered the peroxide bottle nestled in one of the boxes marked “bathroom.”

What bothered me in particular was that I had nurtured this habit from the point where it was just an idea, until it grew into a daily ritual.  I used my habit tracker to keep it in front of me each morning, and I rarely forgot to gargle right after bathing in the morning.

That is, until I moved and the whole practice completely dropped out of sight.

Why is this important to time management?

As I have established in prior posts, time management systems are made up of habits.  These repetitive actions are  the atoms of each and every system that humans use to get their lives done each day.

They are tough to learn, yet when they are practiced enough they become second nature and in turn become difficult to change.  I do know that my habits gain a certain neuro-muscular back-bone as they take their place in the group of actions that I take each day without really thinking about them consciously.

What I learned is how that many habits of mine are actually hard-wired into their physical surrounding.  Change the surroundings dramatically, and many habits will simply cease to exist.


When the physical environment changes, many of the cues that we use to spur us into action are removed.  No prompts, no action.

For example, I had the peroxide for my daily gargle beside my toothbrush, making it easy to remember to use each day.

I had  a desk supporting my habit list for the day written into my Palm Tungsten, and each morning I’d check off the items on the list.

Now, take away the peroxide bottle and the desk and you have a problem.

At the moment I don’t have a clear solution.  All I can do is to give a warning that a physical move can  signal the demise of any time management system.

Procrastination Article – A Point I Missed

istock_000001479642xsmall.jpgI wrote an article for the StepCase LifeHack website on the topic of procrastination after getting a bit pissed that the word was getting a bad name!

(If you read the article by clicking at the link below you’ll get the lame joke that I just made.)

It’s a serious article, however, on a problem that I think afflicts professionals from White to Green belt levels alike — being hobbled by what they call procrastination.

After writing it, however,  it struck me that I missed one tiny point.

What I didn’t mention are those people who make indefinite commitments without due dates, and instead make vague promises to themselves to do something in the future.  The thing never gets done as a result, or only after they think it “should” have been done.

This is also called “procrastination” but is it really?

I believe it’s also the same kind of mistake that I mention in the article… a real problem with the wrong label.  A better label for this particular problem would be “habits that need to be changed.”  In 2Time language,  it might mean upgrading one’s skills in 3 fundamental disciplines: Capturing, Emptying and Scheduling.

This would solve the problem of putting off vague promises indefinitely.

But how do we get over the problem that has so many saying:  “I procrastinate too much!” ?

The answer is over at the Stepcase Lifehack website in my new article — Click here to  read “Procrastination — NOT a Problem.”

P.S. Sorry for the gap in posts — I have been working hard on MyTimeDesign 2.0 for its January release, and I also moved homes here in Kingston.  Doing both made me procrastinate… in the good way!