Time Management Hype Against the Facts Webinar

This week, I’m conducting a free webinar on  the topic of “Time Management Hype Against the Facts.”  It starts at 8pm EST.

Registration is free, but space is limited: http://mytimedesign.com/wordpress/webinar1-signup

During the  webinar I plan to look at 5 ways in which the hype around time management systems has produced a backlash that has prevented users from getting what they want.  I’ll also show how I have tried to build MyTimeDesign around the facts, and how anyone can do the same as they upgrade or craft their time management system.

Once again, you can register here: http://mytimedesign.com/wordpress/webinar1-signup


Why MyTimeDesign 2.0?

As you may know, I have been working on the new version of MyTimeDesign (2.0 Professional) and I have opened up a blog to help make it easier to answer the questions I have been receiving.

You can access it at  http://mytimedesign.com/wordpress

The most recent post addresses the question I often ask myself… why I am bothering to creating a new approach to time management?

LifeHack: Measuring Your Time Management System

01_01085-ruler-d_-20x-zoom.jpgToday I posted up a new article at the LifeHack website entitled: Are You a Productive Person? Look at the Number of People Who are Waiting on You to Get Back to Them.

The article makes the point that if you look at how many people are waiting for you to get back to them, it can give you an idea of the overall health of your time management system.

But in addition to the total number of people, you can go even deeper and determine the quality of that list and learn even more.

For example how many are actually overdue?  What is the longest wait time?  What is the average time it takes for you to respond when there is no explicit promise made?

My hope is that one day, Outlook makes it easy to capture metrics like these, because there is an ugly secret I am continually confronting as I launch MyTimeDesign:  there is no standard, measurable way to measure individual productivity, or the quality of one’s time management system.

This is part of the reason why there’s so much hype around time management programs — one promises even to “triple your productivity.” Of course, they make no mention of  how it is to be measured in the first place, let alone “post-improvement!”

Over at the MyTimeDesign blog, I have been putting together the descriptions of the features and benefits of the MyTimeDesign programs, which will be launched next week.  One thing I am trying to be careful about is not to over-hype the program, and make promises that can’t be fulfilled.

Stay tuned for more on this, as I am coming up with a more realistic way to describe ways in which participants can tell whether the program is for them or not.

Time Flies When You’re Buried…

The last couple of weeks have been a blur.

I have been putting the final touches on MyTimeDesign 2.0, trying to answer questions about its content… while attempting to make it as perfect as I want it to be.  So, I have been buried in the world of program design — putting words and learning structures around ideas I have been working on for the past 3-4 years here at 2Time.

But before I get into too many details about what I’ve been doing, I’d like you to see my new post over at the MyTimeDesign 2.0 blog that I set up: The post is entitled “Why?”

Why in the world would I work my a** off to develop a time management training given how many there are in the world, and how popular a few of them are?  I sense that this question is lurking out there in many people’s minds, and some have hinted at my motivation in posts they have sent to me.

From a 2Time perspective, I started writing this blog some 400 posts, articles, blogs and videos ago out of sheer frustration.  I honestly thought that someone would read what I had written, and put it into a workable training program.

It hasn’t happened, although I keep hearing that I’m reflecting what’s actually happening “on the street” with people who want to improve their time management skills but can’t, no matter how much they loved the book, the speaker, the trainer or the website.  It’s made me believe that “if it’s going to be, then it’s up to me.”

But that might be getting too much into my post over at MyTimeDesign.com — here’s “Why:” Check out the post: Why? by clicking here to find out why I’m bothering with a new approach to time management.

P.S. Here is an opportunity to join my early notification list to be able to follow the events of the next few days… and also hear about the early-bird offers.  Either visit


The New Skill of Re-Scheduling

I realized recently that I need to add a critical sub-skill within the overall Discipline of Scheduling — it’s the ability to change a schedule as often as necessary.

Back in the days of paper schedules this was a very difficult task, involving pencils, erasers, white-out and the like.  It was easy to create a mess, and hard to move things around without getting frustrated.  Many writers and authors of time management books and classes remember those days well, and decided that it was impossible to manage a schedule  in this way. They recommend strongly that users not try to use a schedule of tasks, and to assign tasks to lists, while reserving calendars for appointments.

Things started to shift a bit when Outlook expanded to include a calendar function, around the time that the Palm Pilot hit the market in the mid 1990’s.

Unfortunately, many users who gave up on scheduling back then, still haven’t developed the skill, even though we are a long way from paper calendars, and it’s not hard to see a time when everyone will have a smartphone synced with a calendar that’s probably also stored in their wrist-watch.

Now, it’s relatively easy to rejigger a calendar many times in a single day, and it’s a skill that’s becoming easier as the technology improves.  However, just because it can be done does not mean that the skill is an easy one to master. Here are the steps to be followed, in the form of a simple example.

You are at your desk in the morning having crafted your calendar for the day when your boss calls.  She needs the Walker report done by 4pm in order to attend an important meeting, and she’s asking if you can get it done.

Your first response is, “Let me check.”

You look over your electronic calendar and notice that you were meant to complete working on the Simpson file that afternoon, and you tell your boss: “I had planned to work on the Simpson file this afternoon.”

She gets quiet for a long moment, and then replies: “I need that Simpson file — I’ll do the report instead.”

Five minutes later she calls back: “I just remembered… Simpson is away on vacation… let’s delay working on the file until he comes back.”

You agree, and open up your calendar.  You slide the 3 hours scheduled for the Simpson file to the following week to an empty time-slot, and block out the afternoon to work on the Walker report.

This is a fairly typical transaction that takes place every day in the life of an Orange Belt, but there’s a difference between the way a White Belt conducts the same conversation.   They first check their memory to see what they planned to do in that time-slot.  Then, they might check their list of tasks to see what’s on it – and that could take some time.

Their use of memory is unreliable and imperfect, and a source of errors.  Their lists might be too long to remember when they planned to do most of the items.

Notice that if the conversation was focused on a day 7 days in the future, or 77 days in the future, the Orange Belt would undertake the same actions.  They’d check their schedule of tasks, and follow the same process.

The White Belt would have a problem, because their memory is not likely to stretch that far in the future, even if they are quite bright.  At some point, they won’t remember what they planned to do, and they’ll struggle.  They could easily make a mistake, because they are carrying so much in personal memory.

Re-scheduling is much easier if there is a standard, reliable process that’s followed that doesn’t change,and uses data that’s not based in memory.

It’s also made easier when one remembers that an electronic schedule is just a plan that is quite likely to change.  In my schedule for example, I have set aside time for lunch each day of at least an hour, which includes a short nap.  (I find that I need that kind of time to return to my work completely recharged, and have since found lots of research that supports the practice.)

However, there are some days when it’s just not possible or practical to take an hour, and I easily change my schedule to accommodate the shift.  I rarely change the actual electronic schedule, but I often take a look to see what I had planned to complete after lunch.

Having my schedule in front of me help me to decide how much flexibility I have, and also what to do about major and minor schedule changes.  When I can see not only today but other days laid out in front of me, I experience a peace of mind knowing that I am looking at a feasible plan.

That’s very different than keeping a schedule in my memory.

When the boss calls to make the change with a White Belt, he’s likely to do a quick mental scan, and under pressure he’s likely to say yes, without remembering to account for items like the Walker report.  Or lunch.  Or choir practice after work.  Or his kid’s science project.

This is not to say that everyone needs to develop the skill of rejiggering a schedule, as there are many people whose overall number of time demands is low enough to plan each day as it comes, the way a White Belt does.  There are also some who are unable to develop the skill of manipulating an electronic schedule, and must stick to paper.

However, for most people, that’s not good enough to handle the number of time demands that must master each day.  They are always rejiggering their schedule depending on what’s happening in front of them, but the most skillful are keeping themselves unstressed by managing their schedules using a portable electronic tool, rather than just their memory.

This is especially true for those who must manage complex projects with multiple deliverables stretching out for a year or more.  They schedule time in their calendars to complete activities that require anywhere from 5-10 distinct steps, and these must be scheduled in order to avoid trying to remember them all and ultimately failing.

The obvious fact is that better planning allows for better decision-making, and when interruptions and disruptions inevitably arise, it’s easier to work with a schedule laid out in front of you rather than a mental construct whose details are easily forgotten.

Some resist the idea of keeping a schedule of tasks because they believe that they’ll feel bad if they have to change it.  Others don’t want the feeling of guilt that they think is inevitable from seeing a daily schedule get blown to bits by an unplanned activity.

The truth is, these things will happen whether or not a user has an electronic calendar or not, and it’s easier to deal with these feelings if the schedule is in front of the user, displayed on a screen, than if it is kept in their memory.


My 20 Free Videos Available Now

istock_000000185287small.jpgI have been working my buns off during the Christmas “break” to put together 20 videos on some of the my best ideas on time management that I could fit into 3 minutes each.

All this while on “vacation” in Ocho Rios, Jamaica at a place called Oracabessa.  My grandfather built it when was alive, and it turned out to be a good place to work from given his strong entrepreneurial tendencies that apparently got passed on to me!

Anyways, the whole thing started off as an easy-seeming fun assignment that looked as if it might take a couple of hours.

A week later and I was still working at it — I couldn’t believe how long it was taking and I started to think that I must be doing something wrong.

The Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) About Time Management


The Top 10 Questions that People Should Be Asking (SAQ’s) About Time Management

To access the free videos, (and the transcript,) registration is required.

Click here to access the page to register to receive the videos immediately http://mytimedesign.com/20vidsnow

It’s a big piece of work and I tried to say something that’s new, or hardly being said, outside the 2Time blog.  I’d love to get your feedback either here or on YouTube or Vimeo.

P.S. Big thanks to Mike Koenigs for providing the inspiration to do this series.

An Insight from Doing 20 Videos


I am just putting the finishing touches on 20 videos that I put together to answer many of the questions that I get on time management here on the blog, or in my live programs.

I realized that when someone takes a time management program, they might already be working on implementing some new habits.

These habits might have come from a prior program, a book, a website or just their own discovery but it’s probably a mistake for anyone trying to teach them a new system to convince them to “fuhgetaboudit” (forget about it.)

The first big mistake is to assume that the system they are currently using doesn’t exist.  This is one that I have mentioned more than a few times on this blog.

The second mistake is to think that they have not already been engaged in upgrading their current system.  The chances are that if they are smart, they are not thinking about time management for the first time in their lives, and already have some habits that are half-formed.

The key is to figure out which ones are being learned, and to determine whether or not they should be turned into full fledged habits as part of a Master Habit Plan.

What’s a Master Habit Plan?

Well, I just made the term up a few minutes ago, but it’s something that I have been writing about here on the blog.  It’s simply a list of the habits that are:

  • being implemented
  • under consideration for the future
  • planned for future implementation with set practice dates

As these habits are put in place, they steadily upgrade a time management system in a way that makes sense and increases the chances for success.